48 Niven / Whale and Cloud

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The shophouse at 48 Niven Road is home to the technology start-up, LifeOpp. With the need for the space to accommodate a fluctuating number of staff and also to foster collaboration between the staff, an open office with a U-shape table layout is proposed allowing for easy communication and movement. The office is complemented by a series of auxiliary meeting and informal works spaces. Daylight is maximized through replacing solid partitions with glass where possible, and much care was taken to to keep the original elements of the building and also to reveal those that have been hidden

The kitchen at the back of the shophouse serves as the office pantry on weekdays, and on Saturdays, it becomes the café and coffee purveyor, Whale and Cloud. The café functions independently from the rest of the shophouse and a strikingly different mood is intentionally created through the opening up of the roof to daylight and by exposing the red brick wall originally hidden behind an old kitchen cabinet. Entrance to the café is through the back door with a flip-down bench that serves both as a waiting area and also as an open and close sign for the café.