The frontier of activity based working.

CBRE set a big vision for their new office design: ‘The new Singapore HQ should be the best workplace in Asia, if not global.  The office should be a world class office, showcasing CBRE’s latest thought leadership. The office should also be future ready, accommodating growth and evolving trends whilst addressing current issues.’

CBRE were determined to take their workplace to the frontier of Activity Based Working (ABW), and they engaged Siren Design to realise the vision. As a commercial real estate services company, a thorough understanding of workplace drivers and strategies is critical for business. CBRE’s brief was to shape a progressive space for their own new office at Tower 3, Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) – making it a novel testing ground for activity-based working, whilst also placing a focus on wellness and creativity.

“Often you see activity-based working spoken about but not really delivered. Instead you see rows of identical desks, some ability to come and go from a collaborative area, and possibly some support for focused work. It’s actually hot desking.”


Peter Andrew, Executive Director, Workplace Strategies Asia Pacific, CBRE

The objective was to create one CBRE community, where team members were drawn to, whilst also using the concept of the office as both a lab and a showcase. In a truly collaborative approach, CBRE and Siren worked closely together, scrutinising every aspect of the design, to envision the ultimate ABW workplace.

“The project was dynamic in every sense of the word. It was highly collaborative, and CBRE gave us permission to fail – with the philosophy of ‘office as lab’ – which was both scary and liberating at the same time. There was an openness and honesty from CBRE, which shone through the project.”


Penny Sloane, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Siren Singapore

The most striking aspect of the floorplan is the non-orthogonal geometry – an element that appears to be random, but that is a pivotal strategy of the design. This strategy enables each team to grow or shrink without the need to change the footprint of the floor plate. You get a sharing economy within the ripple. The irregular geometry also breaks up any rigid sense of hierarchy, integrating a strategy called ‘next-to space’, which brings support spaces closer to people – which has a huge impact on their ability to quickly flip from doing one thing to another, and to take noise away from the work point. The interspersed placement of enclosed rooms also creates the feeling of working in a more intimate setting.