Happy Elements’ HQ – Beijing

Architecture

Happy Elements Beijing Office

The Happy Elements office combines the Chinese concept of a fluid, endless space, with the Western idea of ‘forced collision of people’, to create a sustainable, garden-like open working environment that promotes creative team thinking. The CEO had the vision of having a “floor with no doors”, to foster a culture of openness and collaboration.

Informal & flexible meeting spaces

Beijing site locality

Location

The Happy Elements office is located in the north-east of Beijing in the Zhongguancun area. They are neighbors to some of the worlds largest tech and internet companies, with Zhongguancun as the capital of tech and innovation in Beijing.

Site locality and surrounds

‘Ping pong valley’ meeting area

“Make the World Happy!”

Haining Wang, Founder & CEO

“Happy Elements creates games that brings people happiness, we strive towards creating happiness for people we work with, users we provide service to and society as a whole. All of this starts with having a well designed work environment for its staff.” – founder and CEO, Haining Wang.

Martijn & Haining, CEO & founder of Happy Elements

Informal seating area with sliding whiteboard screens

Analyzing behavior to inform design

Nature & Behaviour

We worked with gorillas for six years before working in architecture. First and foremost, learning how to observe behaviour and create natural environments.

‘Ping pong valley’ meeting area

Make the world happy!

Site Appraisal

Traditional office layout separates the workforce into different closed rooms, with people working within various enclosed corners. Bad arrangement of desk resulted in unusable work space, uncomfortable meeting venues and lifeless public facilities.

Notes during initial office usage site appraisal

Note during initial office usage site appraisal

A multi-purpose ping pong/meeting table

Collaborative Design Process

We explored our design strategy through sketches and physical models while working closely with our clients, users, and different consultants to create a place that belonged to all.

Garden of Creativity

We started out by first designing a sequence of spaces, instead of a collection of rooms. A continuous environment, that unfolds like a scroll painting or a playful game, without corporate dead ends.

 

Initial concept sketches of intended spaces

Meeting at the ‘tree table’

‘Tree table’ meeting area

Phase 1 perspective plan

Green walls inside the new offices, offering natural breakout spaces

Natural Environment

The materials, details, and spatial design were all carefully considered to create a natural and comfortable work environment.

Green walls inside the new offices, offering natural breakout spaces

Phase 3 perspective plan

Make the world happy!

Sustainability

We used the ‘human nature garden’ as a conceptual starting point for creating a sustainable work environment. Such as, in the choice of materials, which are largely natural and organic and include wood, plants, and climate neutrally produced carpet that even looks like stones and grass.

Meeting amphitheater and breakout spaces

Phase 2 perspective plan

Construction Coordination

We worked closely on site with contractors and builders in order to make sure that the design came together accurately, on-time, and true to our design intention for the client.

Long table meeting area under construction

On-site discussions with the contractors

Framing views around the breakout space

Design for Behaviour

Through understanding the way the creative people work at Happy Elements, we were able to shape the spaces to suit and accommodate their working patterns, to make it more friendly and comfortable.

The ‘Mommy room’ for expectant and new mothers

Framing views through the informal meeting areas

Collaborative Places

We created places that encourage collaboration, ‘forced collisions’, and spontaneous exhange of ideas throughout the office.

The long table meeting area with sliding tables

Informal meeting area around the kitchen

Phase 4 perspective plan

Meeting about Phase 3, in the completed phase 1

Perspective section through the long table meeting room

Entrance and informal team meeting area

Informal seating areas and kitchen bar

Happy People

We love to see our spaces being used to make people happy, in ways we hadn’t imagined.

The maison h team in the newly completed space

Informal team meeting area at the entrance

Handing over to the clients at Happy Elements

Team: Martijn de Geus, Simon Henstra, Lingyun Peng, Victor Tee, Hao Wang, Han Zhang

Client: Happy Elements

Project Year: 2017

Location: Beijing, China