The Upcyled Office

Km0Studio Architects as Interior Architects

It is valuable at every step. The insect is not lowly compared to the human. It’s just all part of the web of life. So there is no such thing as a waste. No human who’s a waste. No tree that’s a waste. No piece of toilet paper. Upcycling eliminates the concept of waste. (McDonough, 2013)

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Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which is the other half of the recycling process. So what is the difference between upcycling and recycling? Recycling is when you convert (waste) into reusable material. While sounding similar, there are differences. Upcycling is reusing waste without destroying it in order to form something new. Upcycling is more energy efficient as recycling takes waste products, breaks them down, then forms them into something new.

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Umawar will always be our very first client, when we get our first commission to design the house of one of their director. Those mutual relationships develop into next commission to design one of Umawar affordable residential housing series. So when Umawar contacted us to help them moved into Cibis 9 Office Tower – one of Umawar CBD Project close by the toll road, we are honored to accept it.

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The brief for the 230 sqm area is as simple as “to move”. The client wants to use all of their furniture from the old office. That’s when the term “upcycle” comes into our concept. The idea is to push the brief into the next level, by using their discarded material from their old office and also from their project as the main material for the office. As a developer, Umawar has a lot of discarded material such as bricks, aluminum, and wood.

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This notion forced us to do an intense discussion between the client, the contractor and us to decide the feasibility of using the upcycled material. The result is we decided to cut the aluminum and wood to form the glass wall in the new office. The glass wall will divide the meeting room and board room, while the largest space will be the employee workspace. The client wants all of the room to be transparent yet private enough for meeting or work. This concept of “see and be seen” will be provided by the wooden lattice made out of old material.

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As the last piece, we made a brick wall out of their ready-stock-material to form the wall of fame. The wall of fame will be their background to hang photos of their residential masterpiece – from the very first to the latest residential project. This is to remind them that their business is made from brick to brick, from zero up until now. Although the upcycling process won’t make the material perfect because of their inconsistencies, as our first built project, this upcycled office is to remind us that we need to build our world responsibly, to “reuse” any material in more creative way.

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