Paperwork: A first look at a designer’s co-creation space
Problem solving, sharing challenges and celebrating successes — those are the things that Paperwork and Paperspace co-founder and director Narita Cheah wants to foster between designers at Paperwork, a new co-creation space housed in the heart of the National Design Centre. During her time as a designer herself, Cheah realised that many of her design contacts started to work individually, and brought in their different expertise when working on projects together. Motivated by the fact that being put into those situations could potentially be benecifial, she founded Paperspace with Sombat Ngamchlermsak and Karen Calalec in 2016.
"My co-founders and I decided to build a networked community of design professionals in the region, as well as a physical space for us to reside and co-create,” said the designer in an email interview. “I've always felt that the design world is an unnecessarily competitive industry, and brilliant ideas or valuable knowledge often languish in desk drawers or go to waste because they are not shared amongst the industry." The idea of Paperwork, a bi-product of Paperspace, then came when the founders were looking for a co-working place, and shared a design studio with three other design firms. "We started hosting bi-weekly sessions with broader collective members and outgrew the space within 12 months as teams started to expand," Cheah shared. "This prompted us to find a space that was tailored to our industry and gave us flexibility to work in a non-traditional environment and create a community to call our own."
Fast-forward two years later, we took a media tour around Paperwork with Cheah during its launch to get a taste of a co-creation environment. Here are five ways Paperwork stands out.
1. Share and work together
Working alone can be great, but when you hit the inevitable creative block sometimes, it helps to have someone else guide you out of it. "Paperwork is a place that brings together various design studios, independent designers and freelancers to bounce ideas off each other, and simply share knowledge and experiences," said Cheah. "It is a much-needed platform for the creative community here."
2. Work in style. Literally.
Forget about those typical office chairs, tables and fluorescent lights. Housed on the third floor of the National Design Centre, Paperwork's tenants can get to work with their projects among furniture from world-renowned brands such as Herman Miller, Steelcase Navi and Kvadrat, which will be rotated from time to time. Paperwork's walls are also decorated with artworks managed by FOST Gallery, which will be changed on a quarterly basis. The first artist to be featured is local painter Wyn-Lyn Tan, whose work has been showcased recently at Art Basel Hong Kong.
3. Up-and-coming equipment
Other than allowing designers to utilise new software and resources from its Bangkok and Manila offices, probably one of Paperwork's most interesting tools will be its usage of Virtual Reality (VR), VArch. The brainchild behind it is SmartVizX, a VR tech company from India. Cheah said: "Currently, designers work with very static, two-dimensional floor plans to communicate their ideas to clients, and in turn, it is challenging for clients to have spatial awareness or be able to envision the proposed turnout." She added that VArch would provide designers and clients "with a 360-degree immersive experience of how a new project would look like at any stage of completion", and any design changes or feedback can be provided "on the spot, instead of having to go back and forth for months with the designer to make changes via drawings".
4. Open-space concept
Housing design companies such as Graphite Studios and Just Sketch, Paperwork spans across 3,500 square feet and a seating capacity of 60, and was designed by members of Paperspace. But, what differentiates this co-working office from the rest in Singapore? The space given to "encourage collaborative working", as stated by Cheah, as other spaces "didn't cater to an intimate 'studio' environment with different work settings". With big surfaces to write on and a fully-stocked digital and materials library, there are areas catered for privacy, such as glass partitions from JEB Partitions and phone booths from Dauphin HumanDesign Group.
5. Transforming from work to play
"We have very little furniture that is fixed in the space — this is because we want to be able to repurpose each area as and when needed," said Cheah about Paperwork not only being a place for work, but for events as well, such as holding art classes by the movable partitions.
Check out Paperspace's website here.
Paperwork is located at National Design Centre.