Balancing calmness and stimulation

Striking a balance between calmness and stimulation was how leading Hong Kong design studio Bean Buro delivered on a challenging brief to create a retail academy in bustling Tsim Sha Tsui for one of the world’s leading luxury goods brands.

Studio co-founder Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui explained this stemmed from a conviction that users would be much more encouraged to interact in the training environment if they felt relaxed.

“A key factor of the mood and feel for this project was to elegantly strike a delicate balance of a soothing natural architectural setting, while at the same time injecting just the right amount of colour to create an encouraging learning environment, ” he says.

As a global operator of franchises and boutiques focusing on jewellery, watches, leather and accessories, the client sought to “nuture and mould” raw talent interested in developing a career in the luxury retail sector.

Upon entering the hospitality-inspired academy, visitors are greeted with a homey reception with sofas facing each other with bookshelf and a screen displaying works by the group’s brands. Inside, the spaces are generous and open to encourage casual collaborations and discussions.

The types of training spaces vary within the retail academy. Larger training rooms can be partitioned into smaller interconnected training rooms through the operable walls or further opened to create an event space to fit up to 150 users.

“We also created two typical training rooms and a theatre space with stepped platforms and comfortable cushions facing a smart board for a casual and stimulating learning environment. Additionally, we have included small offices for managers and staff of the academy,” says Kinugasa-Tsui.

A muted red was used throughout the space, from the stained timber in the reception to the acoustic wall panels in the theatre. A bespoke rug with pops of colour in the reception also helps invigorate guests on arrival. “Luxurious accents are also included in the bespoke joinery, such as the metallic gold finish of the entrance, bookshelf, and pantry, to respond to the context of our client’s businesses.”

Natural daylight floods the space, including small offices surrounded by glass. To keep the project environmentally friendly, Bean Buro minimised built-in elements, preferring a lot of flexible, loose furniture that the client could reuse for a different space and setting. For example, a bespoke bar table in the event space can be moved around to create other arrangements. Additionally, the carpet in the theatre is made of recycled fishnets.