State-of-the-Art Office Case Studies:

Offices Supporting Management

BANDAI SPIRITS

Interview conducted in March 2019

*This article is based on research conducted at an earlier date; some details may differ at the present time.

An Entrance Design Inspired by the Nature of the New Company’s Business

Next, we will present some distinctive features of the new office.

“The 6th floor is designed for use by group companies, with two event rooms, a sample room, and a processing room equipped with 3D printers. The two event rooms are separated by movable walls, which can be slid aside to turn them into a single large event room accommodating over 300 people. Departmental gatherings are part of our company’s culture, so these rooms are used quite frequently,” explains Kawase.

Event room

Event room interior

The seventh floor serves as the entrance and a meeting area.

“In terms of the concept and image, we were able to take quite a creative approach to designing this floor,” recalls Kawase. “Since the new company provides products aimed at adult consumers, we thought the color scheme should be sophisticated, instead of the bright pop art colors that the Bandai Namco Group has used to date. The underlying color is therefore black.”

The design company was asked to create an entrance image inspired by the idea of a “base,” in keeping with the name of the building where the office is located.

“In the entrance, there’s a show window where various products can be seen. Originally, there was a proposal to put a large globe there, in recognition of our company’s increasingly global nature, but we wanted to have an element that reflected a more modern perspective. After further consideration, we decided to present neo-futuristic images using projection mapping.”

Ultimately, the aim is to inspire customers visiting the office, with the idea of communicating the group’s new overall corporate vision, “Break out of the box—wow the world!”

“The new entrance has steadily taken on a life of its own and information about it has spread to the general public. It has also been extremely well received by people visiting the company,” Kawase adds.

As an example, when Hidetaka Tenjin, an artist whose work includes box art for plastic models based on the popular Japanese robot anime franchise Gundam, was impressed by the entrance and tweeted a video of it, it was viewed 4.2 million times (as of March 2018). This led to increased media coverage from journalists at various companies who viewed it, generating significant promotional benefits.

Once visitors pass through the doorway with its distinctive projection mapping, they find themselves in an open area.

“In the original plan, we considered using this as a multi-purpose area for employees, but eventually, it was decided to make it an open space that could be freely used for holding meetings with either colleagues or visitors. Of course, sometimes information to be discussed is confidential, so there are also 15 closed meeting rooms available. These may all be reserved in advance and feature designs inspired by the interior of a spaceship. Large, medium, and small rooms may be used, based on the number of attendees,” explains Kawase.

During the design phase, he says, a rule was almost implemented stipulating that meetings would be conducted using screens only. However, at some point, the company realized that this would be impossible given its current work methods, and whiteboards were hastily purchased. Initially, the idea was that visitors would be given complimentary plastic bottles of water, but a water dispenser and tea machine have now been added as well. This is an example of the company responding promptly to employees’ requests. Changes will be made quickly if they are felt to be necessary. While it depends on the scope of the improvement, there is generally no need to fill out a form or obtain executive approval. This kind of flexible corporate culture will have major advantages for future office development.

“Among the 15 meeting rooms, there are two concept rooms designed to facilitate different perspectives and new ideas. Their color scheme is based on orange, the corporate color of the Bandai Namco Group, and blue, the color of Bandai Spirits. The rooms are equipped with round tables, which allow seating arrangements that are not based on people’s status within the company hierarchy. These rooms have received positive feedback from employees, who’ve told us they make it easier to share their opinions freely. In keeping with the image of these rooms, we’ve also used projection clocks to display the time,” explains Kawase.

“All of the meeting rooms on the 7th floor are equipped with teleconferencing systems,” he adds. “This enables meetings with overseas offices to be held at any time. Our interaction with Bandai Hong Kong and Bandai Namco Asia has already increased, because, in the end, it’s easier to communicate ideas when talking face to face. Just having more rooms with teleconferencing capabilities has enabled us to work more efficiently. I think this will be an indispensable feature for our business going forward.”

Stretch area

Event room floor entrance

Meeting floor entranceway

Open space

Meeting area

Orange room

Blue room

The 8th to 12th floors, meanwhile, are office areas. On each floor, the desks are arranged side by side, with low partitions that give the environment an open feel. There are diner-style booths and meeting tables set up by the windows, but given the frequency of use, there are not yet enough of them. At present, the 6th and 7th floors are often used for departmental meetings.

“Originally, we thought we would create communication areas on each floor. We also envisioned using an entire floor as a rest area, but that was not possible due to space limitations. It’s now well known that giving your mind and body regular breaks leads to improved productivity. Going forward, we want to develop more useful features for the purpose of generating new ideas and culture.”

Office area

Seeking to Reform the Company’s Work Methods through Office Design

Future office improvements will be managed primarily by the general affairs department.

“I believe that improving motivation by making the company appealing to employees is another way of reforming work methods,” says Kawase. “To achieve that, we intend to pursue office development featuring a playful spirit and superior design. Since it’s quite difficult to modify things like working hours or benefits packages, I think it would be good if we could make changes to the office facilities. Ultimately, that should lead to improved client hospitality as well. When it comes to office improvements, there’s no end to what you can do, so we are always on the alert for more information. Moving forward, we are going to be more active in recruitment, so we’re developing an office that will help at least a little to encourage interest from talented candidates while also inspiring pride in our employees.”

 
 
 
 
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