CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza Bridge+ in Shanghai  is a coworking place conceptualised by Space Matrix

Standing out in a crowded marketplace: 3 takeaways from CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza Bridge+

Standing out in a crowded marketplace: 3 takeaways from CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza Bridge+

This sentiment is especially true when one is operating in a crowded marketplace. For instance, the coworking culture in Shanghai has burgeoned over the last few years and developers have rushed in to capitalise on this workplace shift. In 2018, the city hit a record of having 500 coworking spaces for people to choose from.1

Only someone wishing to disappear would ever strive to ‘fit in’.

— Shaun Hickn

When CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza sought to start a new Bridge+ coworking space, they approached us to conceptualise the design. Here at SpaceMatrix, we saw a fantastic opportunity of creating something novel. We knew that this coworking space couldn’t be just like all the others in the market — it had to be designed in a way that would make it truly memorable.

Together with the project team, we ensured that this Bridge+ space would stand out in 3 important ways.

1. A uniquely designed workspace

One way to help an office space stand out, is to have a design concept that is very different from what one usually sees. For CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza Bridge+, we had a unique opportunity before us — to convert an existing retail mall infrastructure into a coworking space. There was an open ‘void’ area in the centre, which is a typical feature of most malls. Rather than trying to downplay it, we decided to make this the focal point of our design concept. We incorporated floating staircases to connect both sides of the void — so rather than walking around it like people do in malls, they can simply cut across. The void is topped by a glass skylight that floods all the floors with natural sunlight. The result? A novel layout that is both surprising and delightful in the coworking context.

The function of this design concept goes much beyond pure aesthetics. Fluidity and transparency are both important values to Bridge+. The void area helped us maintain a clear sight line across the office, which gave the space a degree of openness that is difficult to achieve with a traditional layout. We complemented this with adequate open spaces for collaborative work — we have booths, café areas and lounges where people can have long meetings and discussions. There are large public spaces where seminars and events can be held.

2. A thriving lifestyle-led ecosystem

In a city like Shanghai, long hours and hectic schedules have led to an intense work culture that leaves time for little else. In such a busy environment, a coworking ecosystem sets itself apart when it caters to employees’ needs that go beyond just work. And that’s exactly what CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza Bridge+ does.

Its central location gives it the advantage of being well-connected by different modes of transport, making it easy for people to manage their daily commute. The first two floors of the hybrid space are dedicated to providing extended services. It has a gym and several food and beverage outlets that are not only open to Bridge+ members, but also to the other tenants of Ascendas Plaza and the local community.

Moreover, Bridge+ has another unique advantage — it is set in a retail mall ecosystem. This means there are ample sports and entertainment outlets, retail stores, healthcare facilities like yoga centres, and innumerable F&B outlets surrounding it. Bridge+ members actually enjoy concessions and special discounted rates at some of these outlets. This enables them to enjoy a more balanced work week — they can work on their fitness goals, get their shopping done or enjoy a family dinner at a nice restaurant, even on hectic days.

3. Fostering a sense of community

Apart from these practical offerings, CapitaLand Ascendas Plaza Bridge+ also stands out by catering to another aspect of business growth — that of community. The shared coworking areas, pantries and lounges see people from various diverse industries and verticals coming together. These multifunctional open spaces and venues help Bridge+ members widen their peer circles and form new connections with people they may not have met otherwise.

Business and marketing seminars are frequently hosted in the open cafes and sprawling lounges, where members can network and support other businesses. There are ample learning opportunities too — Bridge+ hosts weekly and monthly events where global leaders and innovators come to offer Ted Talks and knowledge sharing workshops. So, right from building connections to improving soft skills, Bridge+ helps members thrive and grow in a well-rounded manner.

Workplace design can indeed, help your firm stand out among a crowd of competitors. Interested to know how this can be done for your company? Let us have a chat!