Blog : sustainability

Office for Trees: Beautiful All-Glass Workspace amid Lush Green Gardens

Office for Trees: Beautiful All-Glass Workspace amid Lush Green Gardens

/ Khanh Hoa, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

The name “Office for Trees” may sound unfamiliar, but that’s precisely what it’s meant to be. Here’s a modern workplace adorned with shade trees, shrubbery and hanging vines strategically placed to keep the heat out and embrace the beauty of every corner of interior design.

Seen from the street, the “Office for Trees” boasts the beauty of a see-through façade overlooking a well-maintained, inviting front yard.

Located in an urban district in Khanh Hoa Province, south central Vietnam, the building bears some resemblance to a solarium from a distance. It boasts a see-through façade made up entirely of glass to admit sunlight. Inside, beautiful workspaces enclosed by glass walls are disposed around a lush interior courtyard filled with trees and a pathway giving access to all the rooms.

Taken as a whole, it’s design that speaks volumes for the concept of the sustainable use of natural resources. While the country’s economy is picking up speed, the hidden danger of rapid urban growth is real. Lack of green spaces in the city and the realities of today’s climatic conditions are permeating all facets of people’s lives, affecting their health and well-being to put it mildly.

Conscious of changes in the environment, Pham Huu Son Architects, a group of young and dynamic architects based in Khanh Hoa, set out to create a different kind of business premises by incorporating the basic elements of nature into building spaces. The result is an ultramodern office providing 650 square meters of work area that’s calm and more conducive to creativity. Plus, it’s capable of carrying out the complete functionality for a variety of business operations.

A drawing of the first floor shows the main entry area (left) in relation to a stepping-stone garden pathway lined with green plants running the entire length of the building. / Courtesy of Pham Huu Son Architects
Nature at work, a drawing of the office’s upper covering illustrates rows of skylights alternating with planter boxes filled with green plants. / Courtesy of Pham Huu Son Architects
Nature at work, a drawing of the office’s upper covering illustrates rows of skylights alternating with planter boxes filled with green plants. / Courtesy of Pham Huu Son Architects

The “Office for Trees” consists of two buildings separated by an inner courtyard. Walk in the door, and you come to an impressive office reception/waiting room connected to the main office space at the rear.

Named the “Model House”, it contains an interior mockup complete with a bedroom, dining room, kitchen and bathroom designed to give customers a feel of how the design works. Between the buildings, a lush courtyard creates a focal point in the outdoors, improves natural ventilation and opens to admit daylight.

But what makes it stand out in a crowd is the glass façade that rises from the floor to the ceiling, resulting in a bright and airy office overlooking a koi pond and a well-kept, inviting front yard.

To reconnect with nature, the reception/waiting area is hemmed in by lush vegetation with a stepping-stone garden pathway connecting the front to the back of the building. Overall the interior is simple, clean and uncluttered with only a few pieces of furniture characteristic of minimalist ideas.

The office reception room up front is glazed using clear glass that stands tall from the floor to the ceiling. The interior is light, airy and uncluttered with a few pieces of furniture characteristic of minimalist design.
Glass walls separate the ”Office for Trees” waiting room from a koi pond in the front yard adorned with lush vegetation.

A design based on mutually beneficial relationships, the “Office for Trees” is able to provide a comfortable work environment. On the outside, green plants thriving vigorously under the big hardwood canopy trees act as engine that drives natural air circulation, keeping the interior workspaces nice and cool throughout the day.

At the same time, an underground water tank keeps the gardens well supplied all year round, resulting in well-maintained landscapes. On the rooftop, solar panels provide clean and green energy, keeping the “Model House” cool and saving electricity costs.

Reconnecting with nature, a stepping-stone garden pathway lined with lush vegetation creates a sense of space in the workplace made light and airy by design.
A park table and benches provide perfect outdoor room to chill out. They sit on the top of an underground water tank, a clever hack to save floor space in the inner courtyard.

A drone’s eye view shows the “Office for Trees” rooftop covered in planter boxes filled with lush foliage alternating with skylights providing ventilation and natural daylight.

Lastly, it’s clear that green spaces, adequate lighting and good ventilation play a vital role in improving health and productivity in the workplace. Together they create an atmosphere conducive to creativity, increased energy and enthusiasm for life. Thanks to well-thought-out design, there are amazing qualities aplenty here at the Office for Trees in Khanh Hoa, Vietnam.


Architects: Pham Huu Son Architects

Lead Architect: Pham Huu Son


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sacit Craft Power: A Push for International Renown Gains Momentum

sacit Craft Power: A Push for International Renown Gains Momentum

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Lily J., Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Kranchanok Boonbamrung /

A brainstorming session took place on May 8, 2024 in what was described as a determined effort to take Thailand’s art and craft industry to the next level, ultimately accessing new markets and expanding their reach globally.

Organized by the Sustainable Arts and Crafts Institute of Thailand, SACIT, led by Ms. Naruedee Phurattanarak, director of research and development for artistic products at SACIT, the conference brought together nine experts from a wide range of disciplines to discuss three hot topics; “Unseen Craft”, “Thainess” or the key attributes of being Thai, and “Craft Power”. The panel speakers included luminaries in the art and craft world, namely Mr. Viboon Leesuwan, Mr. Meechai Taesujariya, Mr. Pairoj Pittayamatee, Mr. Asa Piwkhum, Mr. Phitirat Wongsutinwattana, Dr. Sirikorn Maneerin, Ms. Pawinee Santisiri, Ms. Supavee Sirinkraporn and Ms. Cholada  Siddhivarn.

Naruedee Phurattanarak, director of research and development for artistic products at the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand (SACIT).

The discussion on the theme of “SACIT Craft Power – The Future of Crafts: Guru Panel” represented a massive drive to assist and inspire craft makers, retailers and brands to go global and unlock the next level of growth for their business. Very briefly, it’s about challenging many popular perceptions that “craft products cannot be used in everyday life”. That being said, it makes perfect sense to try and change the way people think about arts and crafts on the global market by presenting quality craft goods that can be used every day and in so many different ways. Here’s a summary of the spontaneous discussion, one topic at a time.

Unseen Craft:

The first topic of discussion, named “Unseen Craft”, is mainly concerned with the moments of inspiration that go into creating art and craft products. Panel speaker Viboon Leesuwan, a member of the Royal Society of Thailand specialized in visual arts, talked about the enduring allure of Thailand’s traditional crafts. Viboon is an avid art collector with authoritative knowledge of crafts made from locally sourced materials. For many people, these are products that give great aesthetic pleasure and are valued for their usefulness.

Viboon said that for heritage craft skills to continue for a long time to come, it’s imperative that we foster good practice and general knowledge of art and craft among young people. As he put it, the key to success lies in the dissemination of ideas, values and learning to a wide audience.

He said that mentoring and educating young adults in art and craft must go hand in hand with developing awareness about local wisdom, or customs and practices recognized and followed by local communities for many generations. According to Viboon, each craft product bears a geographic indication, or essential qualities and ingredients that tell the story of its origin and the process that goes into making it. Take for example “Pha Gab Bua”, which is a kind of handwoven fabrics made by Meechai Taesujariya, national artist for visual arts (handwoven fabrics category) and winner of a 2016 Master Artisans of Thailand Award.

Pha Gab Bua fabric is made using weaving patterns indigenous to Ubon Ratchathani Province that’s widely acclaimed for its unique design, original material, and the power of storytelling about the weaving technique and area or neighborhood from which it is made. More than anything else, it’s a heritage craft skill that people rely on as a means of securing a livelihood and, at the same time, stimulating the local economy.

Thainess:

The second topic deals with promoting “Thainess”, or qualities that are the key attributes of Thailand’s cultural traditions. From a different perspective, there’s a feeling of accomplishment in the product, something that gives a sense of history and heritage that makes people purchase Thai-made goods. With this knowledge, a craft maker can maximize his business potential, creating products that are trendy, tailoring them to meet the specific needs of young people and, at the same time, incorporating storytelling techniques in craft goods.

Panel speaker Pawinee Santisiri said that art and craft itself is a language that expresses creativity and imagination. And the power of storytelling comes handy as an important tool to communicate the values and usefulness of a product to potential buyers on the global market. To take it to the next level, the craft maker relies on a universal language to present designs and ideas that are easy to understand. The universal language is one of many strategies used to connect buyers and sellers, eventually giving a product the renown of a famous trademark, not to mention enhancing sales and expanding into new markets.

Essentially, art and craft is about conveying an idea, impression and feeling through a physical concrete form. For a product to be successful, it must answer the specific needs of a target group, for example by placing great emphasis on the pride and joy of being Thai and, at the same time, promoting a good understanding about cultural heritage and the craft skills that go into making the product. It’s a series of actions that starts at the early stage of education.

At the risk of stating the obvious, art and craft instructors as well as master artisans, students and designers all have an important role to play in furthering the progress of handicraft skills, ultimately continuing to strengthen and take pride of place in modern society.

Craft Power:

The third and most important topic of discussion has to do with “Craft Power”, which refers to the ability of art and craft to influence public opinion and the behavior of target audiences on the global market. About this subject, the experts concur that for the art and craft industry to prosper, the only way forward is to advocate for sustainability every step of the way.

Interestingly, the tourism industry helps a great deal in raising awareness about art and craft products, resulting in good customer experiences. This eventually translates into higher incomes from craft making, thereby allowing communities to improve conditions of life. Plus, by making design in an integral part of the art and craft industry, the possibilities are endless. Well-thought-out design gives rise to an exciting array of new products. And they can be anything from a variegated color ice-cream to building supplies needed to create beautiful works of architecture.

Technically speaking, the power of craft can come in many different shapes or forms, even starting from scratch. It’s a good place to start where nothing has ever been done before. Take for example creating a work of handicraft using raw materials from agriculture. Done right, it’s a way to help protect the environment by promoting good practices at both the upstream and downstream stretches of the manufacturing process. In the end, the economy, culture and society stand to benefit from it, thanks in part to enduring efforts at making knowledge available to a wide audience. Online platforms are one way of reaching out and connecting with consumers.

The three topics illustrated above lay the groundwork for the development of a generation direction in which Thailand’s art and craft industry is developing in the near future. The ideas generated from this discussion provide the framework for the preparation of a new book titled, “SACIT the Future of Craft, Trend Forecast 2025.” Taken as a whole, they symbolize a vigorous effort for the advancement of all facets of Thailand’s art and craft industry and, at the same time, advocate for sustainability every step of the way.


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