The project is a close collaboration between AirAsia and the project designer Chanwut Sukhamongkolswart, a freelance designer who left a strong impression with the AirAsia’s head office at Suvarnabhumi Airport. When the company relocated to Don Muang Airport, the veteran designer was the first name that sprung to mind. Because of his understanding of the AirAsia’s style and requirements, the end result was hailed another success.
The main objective was to design a space that can accommodate 500 employees. And because the previous office at Suvarnabhumi had 3 floors, the allocation of the area for each department was clearly defined, while the new office is a single floor building covering 3,200 square metres of space. This was a challenge for Chanwut on how to allocate different areas for each team within one spacious floor. A perfect place to work — creating relationship among staff members.
He started from collecting information from the actual site at Don Muang. However, at the time (early 2012,) the airport was just recovering from the great flood damages and only started to provide commercial services again. Lots of work needed to be done to renovate the site, including the area’s landscape so that it would benefit the headquarters of Asia’s no. 1 budget airline.
The design concept also differed significantly from the previous project. Because of the airline’s brand positioning of at a friendly price and the well-known slogan, Everyone Can Fly, the design had to base on the concept of “corporate relations.” There’s no door separating each section or department or even the managements’ rooms. This is to create a welcoming and opening atmosphere that encourages the interaction between managers and their people. The only exception is the meeting rooms that have closing doors but they still adhere to the same concept by choosing glass as the main material. Environment design is used for adding a touch of style and reflecting the corporate image with vibrant graphic murals.
Functionality is another key concern; the designer admitted that he found it a real challenge to achieve this given space allocation requirement. He began with breaking down the space into sections and designing the entrance to be near the airport terminal as much as possible to facilitate the cabin crews.
His next step was to arrange the departments based of their level of collaboration with external customers. To emphasise on the “corporate relations” concept, the office and operational staff would be seated together with the meeting rooms being separated away. Floor plan had to be carefully laid out to provide easy access of captains and cabin crews who would came in big groups at a time with their travelling luggage. There are always regular flows of the ins and outs plus a higher level of noise. As a result, the entrance has to be easy to pass through and away from other sections enough not to disturb anyone.
AirAsia’s identity colours are red and white but for the interior decoration, other colours were added to create more depth and dimensions to the design work. Neutral tone like dark gray and oak were chosen to meet the purpose. There’s also a touch of sleekness and dynamic movements such as the design of reception area that resembled the shape of the airplane’s tail. The customers would be able to experience the organisation as soon as they stepped inside. The effect was a modern office design that is simple, yet friendly.
The modern interior design leaded onto the choice of furniture that meets the requirements in terms of design and usage. AirAsia and Chanwut were familiar with Rockworth brand and found it a perfect match for their need because this is not only an office space but it could convert into a multi-purpose area such as press conferences or banquets if needed — the meeting tables and chairs can be folded and stacked to free up more space or chairs that have iPad holder for the crew’s trainings. Rockworth’s products not only portray AirAsia’s character but also provide both practical and multi-purpose usage.
In addition to the look and feel of the design, AirAsia were also keen on small details that help enhancing their brand image. For example, the names of the meeting rooms came from the aviation codes such as HOTEL = H, NOVEMBER = N, PAPA = P, which are familiar to the staffs, at the same time creating intriguing approach to external customers.
The AirAsia’s office is not only just a working office but it also embodies the corporate’s life and soul — allowing everyone to experience and relate with the company as soon as they walk in. To rate the satisfaction of this master-piece, nothing is more accurate than the satisfaction of its users. If this is anything to go by, their smiles are an invaluable indicator of its success.