Howden’s new office design defines hospitality and why their focus on people was the key inspiration.

When leading independent international insurance broking group, Howden Broking Group (“Howden”) was seeking to unite three businesses on a single floorplate, they took the opportunity to change the way they work to support future business growth.

Having selected the space at 79 Robinson Road, Howden appointed DB&B to design and build the 24,000 square feet space. Poised to house Howden, Howden Specialty and IPG Howden, this move will offer greater convenience for these business units to work seamlessly in a more flexible, employee-focused working environment.

Goh Chye Huat, CEO of Howden Asia, agrees, “By putting our people at the heart of the design process, DB&B has helped us to achieve a very high-quality workspace perfectly suited to our objectives of creating a more agile, collaborative and sustainable working environment.”

Strong Together

This project required DB&B to deep dive into how the Howden businesses work together to offer their services. To fully understand the needs of the users from the various businesses, the design team conducted a series of workshops to fully understand user requirements. By bringing the three
businesses together under one roof, and by embedding a more agile, collaborative approach to working, Howden’s businesses were able to upgrade to Grade A real estate whilst remaining in the prime CBD location.

“We’re really excited to move into 79 Robinson Road. It’s a fantastic building and DB&B has done a great job of catering to the varying needs of three different businesses whilst creating a space that brings us all together as one family.” exclaims Paul O’Neill, CEO of Howden Specialty APAC.

To offer seamless sharing of spaces, DB&B had to ensure the space adjacencies were carefully considered and planned to support Howden’s day-to-day operations. As a result, the new Howden office now boasts a suite of shared areas that includes a grand reception, high tech meeting suites, quiet rooms, café and training facilities.

The Warm Welcome

The grand reception greets everyone with an envelope of subtle sophistication, one that was greatly inspired by the notion of hospitality. Clad in wood-patterned materials on the walls and ceiling, visitors are treated to a majestic visual display. Laid in an angled manner, this allows visitors unblocked vision of the magnificent panoramic views that surround this building. The reception desk spots an elegant quartz counter top with a backdrop that cradles all three of the business’ logos. Angled lines, inspired by the Howden logo, are applied as an added design element to tie-in the overall look and feel.

The ceiling and floor pattern, acting as a wayfinding tool, leads one seamlessly into a suite of meeting facilities. The different meeting rooms are dressed in subtle themes that are simply visually-pleasing.  The main boardroom highlights the Howden corporate blue with an impactful patterned acoustic ceiling as a key design feature. The smaller meeting rooms take on a different approach. Cushioned wall panelling, nature-inspired wallpaper, the sophisticated curation of lounge furniture and ambient lighting all but sum up the fine touches of hospitality.

By applying elements of various textures and materiality, DB&B aimed to evoke personality and impose a lasting impression.

As one moves into the main café, this expansive space offers a venue for Howden to host their employees and business partners in a variety of seating options with full-length window views of the cityscape.

Anchored by a majestic central bar counter that offers hints of European influences, the café is clad in largely blue furniture with gold trimmings.

Transparent Work

At the workspaces, DB&B opted to promote visibility and maximise the use of natural lighting. By opting for clear glazing over solid walls, visibility is maintained across the various spaces. The different neighbourhoods are equipped with amenities to support the operations of the respective businesses. Work benches are opted with collaboration areas peppered carefully or used as subtle space dividers. Quiet pods are also fitted for those who prefer more focused work. Smaller pantries are made available for the businesses should employees opt for a quick refill or to store their personal belongings in the lockers.

Project: Howden
Location: Singapore
Size: 24,000 square feet
Design Studio: DB&B
Photo Credit: DB&B
Website: dbb.com