Design

Sharpening the Workspace with Architect Dan Troim

by Yuval Saar | 13.01.16

British Website WIN (World Interiors News) is a leading major resource for the latest international interior design projects and design products for the architecture community. But the website’s real draw is its annual design competition and subsequent award ceremony, which showcases the very best international designs.

This year, the winner of the WIN Awards 2016 in the category of Workspace Interior is none other than Israeli branding firm Open. “The workspace interior exudes something fun as well as a mature sophistication, and its design has this immediate, raw and exposed quality to it,” were the words of the jurors who wrote about the work of local architect Dan Troim.

Open by Dan Trim. All images by Boaz Lavi

Open by Dan Trim. All images by Boaz Lavi

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Troim is one of Tel Aviv’s busiest architects, and under his belt are the design and planning of a variety of Telavivian cuisine hotspots such as Greco, Shulchan and Thai at Har Sinai. In this project, Troim has turned a 600-square-metre garage into a place that truly encourages creativity.

“I was requested to plan a workspace that would house 50 people, some of whom are designers and some are the tech team. I had to leave open spaces for the designers and enclosed, private spaces for the technical and managerial teams,” he explains.

“It was obviously important to convey the office’s spirit. They base themselves on a lot fun, creative, collaborative quality work. We took that and it’s from there that we developed the initial planning and the idea of how we wanted the space to be divided- the open space for creative work and the technical aspects all around it.

“After we decided on that, it became possible to tackle every area and design it in a way that would suit the character and profession of the people who are eventually going to work there.

“Of course everything has to be part of a discourse, meaning that every area corresponds with the one right next to it. For example: the entrance gives visitors a couple hints as to what goes on in the back by giving a partial glance through the crowded library.”

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I’ve paid a couple visits and I also saw all the photos, so I can tell that it’s a genuinely cool space. But I want to know where you draw the line between cool as a value and something that really screams: I’m trying so hard!

“It’s cool to me because it’s real. There are no gimmicks there, even if it may seem like there sometimes are. For instance, around the space of the designers and executors we erected tin walls so that they could use magnets to hang up the images and references that influence their work. It’s graphic and cool but also useful. It’s not made that way just to seem cool. Everything is very practical. There are no gimmicks here like the slides at the Google offices or something that’s there just for design purposes.

“The library at the entrance, the adjustable lamps that are hanging over the the work stations. The display window of the main conference hall that reads in big, bold letters- meeting room (directing clients right as they walk in). There are lots of other, smaller examples. Everything was planned and designed to answer specific needs, much like the initial division of the space into areas.

“Every area in this space has to give off a certain feel, and here too we designed every item in order to enhance and accentuate that feel we wanted to create. For example, the staff’s tables were planned and designed in a very raw and and simple manner, to give them the sense that they’re in an atmosphere in which they can get down to work, that they’ve really just entered their workshop.

“To counter that, we lended the entrance a more elegant and representative feel- more streamlined with materials and furniture of better quality. That’s how we planned the library, the secretary’s desk, the chairs and the waiting area.”

open front-entrance elevation

Can you tell the difference between the projects that reached the finals in the competition? Is there a universal language, or is it easy to tell which country every project originated from?
“It’s easy to recognize Asian projects because of the language and the flat, human proportions. All the rest is really a mystery.”

Speaking of Asians, let’s talk about the design of Thai at Har Sinai (new Thai restaurant). There’s this very balanced combination there between the foreign elements and the super Telavivian location. So, I tip my hat off to you for that but also wonder- how did that happen?
“It was a relatively simple project. A very clear concept and an even clearer target audience. And when everything is so crystal clear then you end up getting a good balance. By the way, this is the least ‘designed’ (if I can call it that) project that we had ever planned. Everything there had to be very random, effortless and spontaneous, to attract the hipster crowd.”

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Thai at Har Sinai. Images by Boaz Lavi

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“For example, the walls are covered by Sandwich wood and Carrara marble, two materials that are entirely different in how they can be perceived and in what they feel like: the former is very simple and accessible, while the latter is classic and expensive. There’s no connection between them. When there’s no connection it can be interpreted as an odd design, even as something that doesn’t really come together.
Skoda, the automobile manufacturer brand, really endorses this type of design: lines in strange levels running down the length of the vehicle, huge car lamps.

“And for an obvious last touch, to compliment the Asian cuisine, we threw in lots of Asian colors and textures.”

Translation from Hebrew: Joy Bernard

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