PTT LITTLE BIG CHANGE OLD PLACE MADE NEW
Office building renovation is nothing new to many companies, but not to PTT Public Company Limited. For 20 years, the company’s headquarters has never been under any major renovation due to limitations of the office area, numbers of staff and cost conscious reasons. Since the government is its major share holder, the entire budget has to be reasonable and wise-spending.
Once the budget was approved, it’s time for PTT’s big change. Mr. Pitipan Tepartimargorn, Senior Executive Vice President Human Resources & Organization Excellence, PTT Public Company Limited Rolled the story.
“This project was initiated when all of the staff at PTT, including PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited moved to a newly built office building called Enco (Energy Complex) Now there would be more space for us. The 20-year-old building where they used to work, located behind the Enco, was too old and too small for 2,000 staff. With these reasons, we decided to renovate the building in order to create better working atmosphere as well as happier working hours,” he said.
Originally, there are two buildings in the PTT’s head office; the 24-storey building which is home to PTT’s headquarters and the 8-storey building, belongs to PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited, which can be doubled to 16-storey. When the renovation is complete, it is expected to be about 40-storey workspace available. Thus, interior designing companies are being called to pitch their ideas and concepts for the proper PTT building renovation.
“Our question is how we can get the maximum use of the space and make it more flexible, so that our staff can have more space to feel at ease. Plus, we want to divide all of our departments systematically and give them a particular space, for example, business and marketing division can be sited at the back building while the front building can be a workspace for corporate division. All the pitching interior companies need to present us with their concept and perspective plans for the building’s halls, meeting rooms and office studios. After all the pitching process, we finally chose Humanist group, as they didn’t force us to change too much to become someone else. Some companies presented us something that is too modern and sometimes it requires too much of inventing new characters which we see we are going to lose our own identity. Reasonable cost is another concern.”
Mr. Pitipan continues that this renovation does help solving many problems, especially meeting room shortage. There are a total of 70 meeting rooms with one on each floor. On the 12nd and the 13rd floors are meeting hub where a large and a small meeting room together with a training room located. The hub is decorated in modern style using glasses and composite wood which allow staff to spot outside scenery. He also points out that the selection of the light color paint and modern furniture will surely create a better working environment.
“We’ve got a very positive feedback from our fellow staff. Now we have more space and new office furniture which give us more comfort. The small partitions also give us privacy at the same time we don’t feel too cramped. This truly serves our need. It obviously shows that the renovation does affect working performance. When people feel good just like they are working at home, then they would be more enthusiastic about their work. This is the result we wish to get from our staffs as we brought them to involve in this renovation. For example, we let them vote for the best furniture. We’re lucky because our staff like the furniture, and most of all, they are ergonomically designed and function very well.”
THE FIFTH ELEMENT
Besides having a reputation on their good work and responsibility, Humanist is the interior design company that is very concerned for environment. Their strong identity includes applying this philosophy into the renovation work at the PTT.
“PTT is the organisation that focuses on the potential of human resource as well as developing good works, so we came to them with the idea of renovating for promoting good and quality works,” Runglawan Ittharat, Managing Director of Humanist recalled.
“From limited space, we need to well manage it as well as do it wisely in order to create better atmosphere for working. There should be spaces or corners for staff to sit, chat and brainstorm. Let say, we are trying to create more public and green spaces. We connect the 2 buildings together, linking it with a grand concept called “the 5th Element”. Since PTT is the company that works on natural energies which are related to 4 elements: Earth, Water, Wind and Fire, the company then represents wisdom. That means the company knows how to use and make use of the 4 elements wisely to make a great contribution to the humanity. So, we represent PTT’s valuable staff as the 5th element which is Gold.”
In terms of interior design, Mr. Sethachart Suekwattana and Mr. Pongsit Teerarat, two forefront interior designers of Humanist explain interestedly that the building itself is originally eco-friendly constructed. There is only system design that needs to be working on. So, they started to work on lighting infrastructure, light bulb selection, and air conditioning system which are changed from assembled air conditioner to separated air conditioners in order to save energy.
The interior decoration focuses mainly on applying natural texture, for example, the main entrance is designed with flows of the 4 elements that meet each other in the middle of the circle where the gold element lies, while the working space on each floor is designed to represent 4 elements by using 4 colours around screens and partitions. This would make the staffs who sit in the area the gold element. “We decided to use gold colour on all signage and logos to represent the whole concept. We believe that when the 5th element is combined with the other 4 elements, they will create good things and good works.
We picture PTT as a kind executive, as a leading company that represents the country, so PTT corporate image must be highly respectable. The design should not be too fashionable which comes and goes, but it should be something permanent. Some private spaces or areas such as reception area, staff’s relaxing corner, library and medical centre can be colourful while the main hall or office studios are painted in darker colours to represent natural texture of wood and stones.” Mr. Sethachart adds that PTT emphasises a lot on each staff’s individual working space so the layout should be well-planned. “We use their old model as a reference, And carefully design for each working station. For example, we decide to hang the monitor instead of placing it on working desk so that it can be freely moved while the CPU is placed under the desk. With this design, it allows staff to have more space on their table. This is also the outstanding character of Rockworth furniture that answers what we need as well as their good selection of quality materials.” Little Big Change seems to be a big challenge for the designer team. However, judging from the better atmosphere under the same old dignified feeling of PTT, it is worth for the better working environment.