This year's ongoing Singapore Architecture Festival, otherwise known as Archifest, has brought incisive debate into The Working Capitol (via our breakfast panel The Workspace of Tomorrow) as well as a reminder to look around and recognise the role of the buildings that surround and house us - which is why we're taking this edition of Capitol Times to explore the relationship between architecture and community.
As Marc Kushner, American architect, HWKN co-founder and owner of Architizer.com, wrote in this piece: "We're entering a new age in architecture - one where we expect our buildings to deliver far more than just shelter." In his March 2014 TED talk "Why the Buildings of the Future Will Be Shaped by... You," he talks about the visceral, emotional connectivity humans feel to the places that we occupy. Whether we mean to or not, we envelop these buildings into our personal narrative, and Kushner puts forward that our expectations of architecture have changed because technology has changed. It has progressed; the Internet and digital media have compressed distances between architects and the public and a reliable feedback loop now exists.
The panelists at The Workspace of Tomorrow had something of this nature to say, too, emphasising human action and the social culture of the community in shaping the design of the workspace - that it's a two-way street and that this complexity should not be watered down.
To bring this all back to The Working Capitol, which occupies a former 1920's biscuit factory across five amalgamated heritage shophouses - with the help of some of our consultants
FARM, Takenouchi Webb and Foreign Policy Design Group, we'd taken into consideration the nuances of both hard and soft infrastructure while conceiving of our hybrid-concept workspace.
"We thought about the spectrum of moods one might feel and the various activities people would do while working, organising or attending an event; like the need for natural light and how uplifting that can be, the ability to easily get some fresh air or grab a quick bite, the need for privacy or moments to brainstorm and come together, " says Saranta Gattie, our co-founder, in this interview.
Ben Gattie, another of our co-founders, echoed the importance of tapping into the software of the space during the Archifest panel; it's not only about empowering the entrepreneurs who come through, but harnessing their energy and their ideas as well.
As Kushner concludes, "we're not on opposite sides anymore," architects and members of the public. "We can actually move forward and find relevant solutions to the problems that our society faces[...] and it means the buildings of tomorrow are going to look a lot different than the buildings of today."
Workspots still available!
Sign up for a tour and receive a complimentary day pass (worth $50) to work out of our space. Tours run twice a day, every weekday (with the exception of Public Holidays), at 10 AM and 5 PM.
If you like what you see (and experience), you can extend your trial for the week for the cost of a day.
MON, 5 & 12 OCT, 7 - 8 PM,
Bring your mat for some Baptiste Power Vinyasa action this October with our Mindful Mondays instructor Trish Corley, who, in addition to being a certified yoga teacher, has a degree in behavioural neuroscience, is a doctor of physical therapy, and a professor of functional anatomy. Trish uses this knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to create an environment for all her students to feel safe, grounded, free and open.
In addition, Mission Juice will be on site to hand out refreshing tasters to either cool you down after your workout or get you going before.
Classes are open to the public and costs $20 for non-members. Shower facilities available.
A big thanks to the people at Potato Head Folk and Palm Ave Float Club for another Members' Mixer that was lots of fun - Potato Head Folk for the great drinks (featuring Monkey 47 gin), and Palm Ave Float Club for gifting one TWC member with a grand prize of some well-earned floatation sessions.
The benefits of floatation include reduction in stress, heightened focus and decision-making abilities, re-energisation (it's said an hour of floatation is equivalent to four hours of sleep), and a greater flow of ideas, as floating fast tracks your brain into theta state - the "sweet spot for creative thinking and vivid visualisation." You can read more about the various ways floatation can make you better at work here.
Next month, Halloween! Stay tuned.
Sassy Magazine caught up with one of our founders, Saranta Gattie, to talk about the process of collaboration, cultivating community, and crafting unforgettable experiences here at The Working Capitol.
Here's a sneak peek: "You can't force interaction - people are busy, focused and on a mission! It's about understanding what they want and need, from the beginning. From that, you can create the experiences and interactions that will benefit them - whether it's a yoga or meditation session to calm their mind, a networking session for their industry, or a simple introduction, it's about listening, putting it out there and being open."
Check out the full feature here.
It's been a big week, with our members celebrating some anniversaries. Just yesterday, Hootsuite APAC turned two, while this September 27 marked the fifth year since CloudFlare was launched.
Cause for more celebration? Earlier last month, CloudFlare completed a $110 million funding round with major investors Google Capital, Microsoft, Baidu and Qualcomm, in a strategic move that has most certainly raised the stakes in an already skyhigh-stakes battle for control of the Internet.
For as Fast Company points out, it's not really about the money. Matthew Prince, CloudFlare co-founder and CEO prefers to focus on implications - in this case, the remaking of how companies use the Internet, because, in his own words, "I hate fundraising stories."
Congratulations, Hootsuite and CloudFlare, on your inexorable march forward in building a better Internet.
American architect, HWKN co-founder, and owner of Architizer.com Marc Kushner has compiled an "architectural cabinet of wonders to celebrate the most innovative buildings of today and tomorrow."
Take a look at ten of them, "including a reindeer viewing station, an inflatable concert hall and a very clever housing complex," all showing the future of architecture.
It's possible that information technology and robots eliminate traditional jobs and make possible a new artisanal economy... The demise of the formal economy could free many would-be artists, writers, and craftspeople to dedicate their time to creative interests - to live as cultural producers. Such activities offer virtues that many organisational psychologists consider central to satisfaction at work: independence, the chance to develop mastery, and a sense of purpose.
This is one of a few "futures" The Atlantic's senior editor Derek Thompson lays out in A World Without Work, or a post-work world "where the expectation that work will be a central figure of adult life dissipates for a significant portion of society."
Another interesting possibility: to "preserve the social benefits of work," the government might "pay people to do something, rather than nothing." This could channel resources towards national projects like caring for a rising population of the elderly or cleaning up after a natural disaster in an online marketplace of work, where individuals can browse for even shorter-term projects such as "an hour of tuition, an evening of entertainment, an art commission."
L'APERITIF - ITALIAN DESIGN IN ASIA BY AIDA
TUES, 6 OCT, 7.00 PM - 9.30 PM, THE COMMONS
Focusing on the unpredictable dimension of the design practice in Asia, the Association of Italian Designers & Architects, aka AIDA, aims to create professional opportunities and cultural exchanges between the Italian design legacy and the ever evolving Asian methods.
Join in on an open dialogue, aperitif and networking night between Italian and Singaporean architects and designers, who will shed light on both past and future dimensions of current practices and how different design cultures can learn from each other.
SIMPLIFY BABY WORKSHOP WITH LITTLE GREEN DOT
TUES, 6 OCT, 11.00 AM - 12.30 PM, ANNEXE LEVEL 2
In this workshop, Militza from Little Green Dot will teach you to make the four best baby-care recipes that you need to know from ingredients that you can find in your own kitchen: a baby bath tea, Mommy & Me massage oil, Baby Bum Butter (for nappy rash), and Cloud Nine Baby Powder (to keep babies dry).
Being able to create natural solutions that will nourish your family is extremely fulfilling, and you'll be amazed at how simple it really is.
Learn more and book your spot here.
SASSY MAMA CAREER CAMP
WED, 7 - 21 OCT, 9.30 AM - 12.00 PM
Looking to get back into the workforce or for a career reboot? You're in luck, because Sassy Mama Career Camp returns this October, partnering up with The Change School to bring you exclusive, interactive sessions focused on developing your personal brand and social media to help you brush up on those skills or pivot.
Running this time round are Personal Branding 101, Personal Branding 102, and Social Media Basics, and you can sign up for individual sessions, or for more than one at a discount.
Learn more and register here.
FINTECH SOCIAL: A SEA OF FINTECH INNOVATION
THURS, 8 OCT, 6.30 PM - 9.30 PM, THE COMMONS
FinTech growth is going from strength to strength and Asia is the place to be for these rising opportunities.
While Singapore is in the midst of the action, join moderator _ and General Assembly's panel of experts, including Rob Findlay (Founder, Next Bank) and Aaron Siwoku (Founder & CEO, TOAST) as they tackle how neighbouring hubs like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Manila are faring. How can these ecosystems work together to strengthen FinTech in Southeast Asia?
RSVP here to find out.
DOING MORE AT WORK + LIFE
TUES, 13 OCT, 6.30 PM - 8.30 PM, THE COMMONS
As technology accelerates the pace of change, many of us find ourselves caught up in making meaning of what constitutes work, life, and everything in between. Is work-life balance possible? If not, how do we deal with the permeability of the work-life boundary?
General Assembly has assembled a panel of entrepreneurs and productivity gurus to try and tackle these questions and ultimately help you work smarter and live more.
These panelists are: Tiang Lim Foo (Market Development, APAC, Evernote), Gwendolyn Regina Tan (Director of Strategy & Business Development, APAC, Mashable), Adrian Koh (Chief Djenee, APAC, The Djenee Corporation), and Ruth Song (Business Communication lecturer and blogger).
USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN: PART-TIME UX COURSE
TUES & THURS, 13 OCT - 19 JAN, 7.00 PM - 9.00 PM, ANNEXE LEVEL 3
In this 10-week course, you'll learn to use industry standard tools such as InVision and Adobe Illustrator to prototype and wireframe design solutions. You'll put together a full suite of UX documentation for a digital product, from user personas and wireframes to interactive prototypes. Ultimately, you'll be able to connect and convey how insights into customer behaviour - from problems to solutions - can optimise any product or service.
This course is taught by TWC alumnus Melissa Ng, Founder of Melewi.
Register and learn more here.
LIFE BY DESIGN: BE THE ARCHITECT OF YOUR HAPPINESS
WED, 14 OCT, 7.00 PM - 9.00 PM, THE COMMONS
Join The Working Capitol and The WEDGE Asia for a networking night for the conscious individual with the following powerful speakers: psychologist Anoushka Beh who will talk about rewiring your brain for happiness; Grand Master of Memory Nishant Kasibhatla with tips on maximising your memory for peak performance; and Novus Asia's Andrew Edwards who will address the topi authenticity in a professional social presence.
Tickets include access to a snack bar, smoothie shots, raw chocolate truffles, and a chance to win a 2-night stay at Alila Villas Soori in Bali.
More details and RSVP here.
TECH IN ASIA: ROAD TO JAKARTA SHOWCASE
THURS, 15 OCT, 7.00 PM - 9.30 PM, THE COMMONS
Tech in Asia Tour: Road to Jakarta is a 10-city search in Asia for the best startups to showcase at the Tech in Asia Conference in Jakarta this year.
Up for the challenge? Local submissions to enter are open until October 5. Then, on the 15th, the Singaporean finalists will make their pitch here at The Working Capitol, before the audience gets a peek into the judges' backstage discussion.
UNTIL 10 OCT, VARIOUS TIMES & LOCATIONS
It's not too late to catch Archifest! This annual festival is for the city to celebrate architecture and the built environment and a platform for all walks of life to discuss, debate and deliberate architectural issues.
In its 9th iteration, this year's festival is themed "What Future?" and features interactive installations, tours, design incubators, and a whole list of fringe events.
Check out the full programme here.
SMALL CHANGE FESTIVAL
THURS, 1 OCT - FRI, 23 OCT, 6.00 PM ONWARDS, NGEE ANN KONGSI AUDITORIUM, NUS UTOWN
This October, get together with a community of changemakers and social entrepreneurs to celebrate the power of small ideas to create social change through four weeks of film screenings and panel discussions focused on some of Singapore's most pressing social issues.
This festival will explore stories of mental health, ex-offenders, and those with physical and intellectual disabilities and how we can bring people from the margins to the centre; ask how Singapore can empower families and individuals to break cycles of poverty; challenge us to think how we can make the journey of growing old here a little better for others; pay attention to lower-wage migrants in Singapore; and finally feature the people behind Geylang Adventures, Humans of Singapore, Saltsteps, SDI Academy and Society Staples and their own stories of hope and action.
Find out more and register here.
FIRESIDE CHAT WITH STEPHEN MESSER,
CO-FOUNDER, FORMER CEO & CHAIRMAN, LINKSHARE
FRI, 18 SEPT, 6.30 - 8.30 PM, THE COMMONS
This conversation with LinkShare, World Evolved and Collective[i] co-founder Stephen Messer, hosted by General Assembly and led by Michael Lints of Golden Gate Ventures, was an unfiltered and candid look into the nature of entrepreneurship.
"We were lazy," Stephen begins - his explanation for his and Heidi's (his sister and 3-time co-founder) reason for choosing to embark upon a disruptive innovations business instead of performance improvement, the latter of which usually takes decades to refine. LinkShare's disruptive pay-per-action model has since made it a forerunner in affiliate online marketing.
As one might guess, Stephen Messer is a lot of things, but lazy is not one of them. He spent a portion of the night recounting the startling lengths he would go to during the company's early days to comply with his own policy of never losing a deal - including showing up at the doorstep of clients he'd lost with a contract and bagels, or calling them regularly for extended periods of time.
Stephen describes this period of building the business as "brutal." "We never stopped. It just never ended... It sucks," he adds. "Do you really want me to tell you how good it was? Because it wasn't." In response to a question about the challenges the company faced, Stephen said, "I could spend a lot less time talking about the moments that were good" - and he did.
Two and only two "great moments" stand out - the day the company IPO-ed and the day he sold LinkShare, to Rakuten for $425 million in 2005 ("selling your business isn't easy; it's your baby"). Stephen was quick to acknowledge the vicissitudes of entrepreneurship, semi-joking that he has learned to get out of the office the second he's received fantastic news, and his staff, not to contact him.
Through the passion in his voice and of his words Stephen's pride in the business he's painstakingly set up and his respect for entrepreneurs shine through. "There's going to be pain after pain after pain," he said - an experience not unfamiliar to the audience in attendance. "Within the first year you find out if you're an entrepreneur or not."
Stephen defines the entrepreneur by an extraordinarily high tolerance for risk - in other words, "a rare breed."
He ended the night by speaking directly to this rare breed of entrepreneurs in the crowd and expressing his gratitude towards them for a largely thankless role. To paraphrase Stephen, entrepreneurs take people's version of their world and change it, and this tends to make society uncomfortable and upset. Ultimately, Stephen encouraged his audience to have conviction and to pay it forward, to help newer entrepreneurs once they can because few others will.
"What you are doing is amazing," he concluded. "Don't stop doing it."
ARCHIFEST 2015: THE WORKSPACE OF TOMORROW
TUES, 29 SEPT, 8.00 AM - 10.00 AM, THE COMMONS
The Working Capitol got in on the Archifest action by hosting this breakfast panel discussion, fittingly about the future of workspaces and featuring a diverse line-up of space strategists and experts: IDA's Next Generation Services Deputy Director Lee Chein Inn, Assistant Professor and Deputy Programme Director at Singapore Institute of Technology Dr. Jawn Lim, Sales Engineering Lead at Google for Work SEA Jay Jenkins, and our very own co-founder and director, Ben Gattie.
The panelists - one a landlord, one from the government, another from academia and the last from a company whose Internet-famous offices have launched a thousand design briefs - came from different perspectives, and it was interesting to observe how their points organically converged.
Perhaps inevitably, this discussion addressed head-on the reality that lines around work are blurring. As technology now allows our work to come to us (according to a dataset brought up by Jay, work happens 27% of the time while travelling, 39% at home, 23% at a public site and 31% at a client site), work is increasingly being defined as "what you do, not where you go." In one way or another, each speaker touched upon this trend towards decentralisation - whether this is work happening on a global scale (enabled, for example, by Skype) or with the "Corner Office's" fade from relevance and thus, the dissipation of power.
But a move towards cloud-based work begs the questions: why physically go to work? Why need an office? Jay's answer, shared emphatically by his co-panelists: "The people." His colleagues make him better and more productive, Jay said, and there is something about that incidental collaboration that happens in person, at the pantry, for example, that can neither be replaced nor found elsewhere.
(This brings to mind Derek Thompson's article from above and his point that even though "the unemployed theoretically have most time to socialize, [...] studies have shown that they feel the most social isolation; it is surprisingly hard to replace the camaraderie of the water cooler.")
This human element surfaced as arguably the key takeaway in this panel discussion about office space. The workspace is only one part of an overall environment you are trying to create; it needs culture to support it. To borrow from an adage, you can bring an employee to a billiard table in the office, but you can't make him play billiards during office hours unless work-time recreation has been normalised within the company.
The panel suggested that such a cultural shift may require a top-down approach - that management that trusts in its staff is vital to cultivating more fluid work environments, that a boss who gives up his office for a communal pantry has symbolically taken a giant step towards decentralising his workspace, and that ultimately, a productive and genuine ecosystem of coworking can only be enabled by more education and more diverse experience.
AN INTERVIEW WITH SARAH CHAN, BIZ DEVELOPMENT / CREATIVE,
PALM AVE FLOAT CLUB:
Tell us a bit about Palm Ave Float Club. How did it begin?
PAFC started in Derrick's (the founder) home in Palm Avenue, in his spare room. He wasn't sure if running a float business from home was legal but he put the word out on the Internet anyway, on a single landing page. Somehow people found it and started coming.
We called it a Float Club initially to avoid queries from the authorities. But at the same time, we were meeting the coolest and most eccentric (in a good way) folks who were willing to float in a stranger’s home – it felt like a club for the outliers/rebels. Their enthusiasm and feedback motivated us to move to our current shophouse with three tanks in total.
What's the best floatation story you've heard?
Floating isn't a one-time fix, but it can give people the clarity they need to make important decisions. One of our clients was working in finance and he was at a turning point in his life. He did a five-hour float, and in the weeks after, decided to quit his job and move to Nepal to start a kids charity focused on providing education and housing. He's become a good friend of ours and we donated proceeds from our float sales when the earthquake struck.
The best stories don't necessarily happen in the tank, it's what happens after people step out of the tank. We see our clients making positive change in various ways, like getting in shape, ending a bad relationship, taking on a new challenge, etc.
What are some individuals or organisations PAFC collaborates with?
We like to work with forward-thinking and open-minded individuals or organisations. In the last few months, we started a barter art project which trades floats for artworks inspired by floatation. We've collaborated with five local artists on that so far, and from there we hope to branch out into bigger things.
Another recent collab was with Innervate Crossfit for a charity event called Operation Broken Wing. Athletes were tasked to do as many crossfit station reps as possible to raise funds. We sponsored floats for the athletes who raised the highest funds – they deserve quality rest after all that hard work.
Learn more about Palm Ave Float Club and floatation here.
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