Spiral terrace gardens clad the new Vivo headquarters by NBBJ in Shenzhen, China

Vivo headquarters will be a next-gen workspace with green hubs on every level of the 32-storey tower promoting health, well-being and sustainability in the built environment.

by Shristi Nangalia Published on : Jun 22, 2020

Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ has been selected to design the new headquarters for Vivo in China. The design envisions the building as a ‘nature-infused’ workspace with emphasis on well-being of employees and community, in Bao’an district of Shenzhen.

The headquarters of the Chinese smartphone technology firm will see the striking 150-metre-high tower housing an array of employee and public amenity spaces spread across 32 floors. “Reflecting Vivo’s values, the new headquarters is designed to integrate with the urban fabric of the neighbourhood: to be friendly, not overbearing; and to share, not block, the coastal views,” mentions NBBJ. The horizontal glass panels of the high-rise building provide an uninterrupted view of the coast while the design blends effortlessly with the urban fabric of the district.

The tower’s exterior with spiralling gardens | Vivo headquarters in Shenzhen by NBBJ | STIRworld
The tower’s exterior with spiralling gardens Image Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ

The new structure reflects NBBJ’s and Vivo’s commitment to providing access to nature, promoting health, well-being as well as reinforcing the sustainability goals of the company. Taking this idea further, the NBBJ team administered a bold and innovative approach towards the architectural design to create a setup for employees where they can walk out of the workspace and experience nature at multiple intervals, through necessary pauses. “Vivo is constantly looking toward the future not just for its products, but for its workforce,” explains Robert Mankin, Partner in Charge of Workplace Design at NBBJ.

The sprawling entrance showing the lobby and retail areas | Vivo headquarters in Shenzhen by NBBJ | STIRworld
The sprawling entrance showing the lobby and retail areas Image Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ

The focal point of the design is the spiraling garden that moves up through the entire building. The diverse flora found in southeast China - from coastal wetlands and lowland forests to subtropical and alpine forests - forms the basis of the landscaping that gradually transitions through the structure. The lower terraces of the tower have the sparser understory trees, the middle atrium features denser and dramatic subtropical mountain forest plants and the upper level terraces are home to a rugged alpine forest. This celebrates the diverse ecosystem of Shenzhen in a very interesting concept of replicating the forest floor to the mountaintop.

Inspired from the woods in the mountainous forests, the materials used in the interiors annex the ‘capturing life’ concept of the building.

We know that today’s workers thrive in ‘whole life’ environments that integrate nature, health and work. Our design for the Vivo headquarters is the physical embodiment of that ethos – fluid, sustainable and centred around the wellbeing of those who use the space. – NBBJ
A representation of the various design drivers of the project | Vivo Headquarters in Shenzhen by NBBJ | STIRworld
A representation of the various design drivers of the project Image Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ

At the ground floor, an arrival podium welcomes the employees, visitors as well as the shoppers. The building engages with the city’s adjacent green belt right at the street level, which in turn further enhances the pedestrian experience. As NBBJ has prioritised the well-being of the users in its design, one can witness eco-landscaping at every level.

The essence of life and nature translated into clever design | Vivo headquarters in Shenzhen by NBBJ| STIRworld
The essence of life and nature translated into clever design Image Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ

The entire building embodies an open and dynamic attitude. Each floor is designed for flexibility and collaboration that leads to creativity, productivity and overall well-being. The open floor plan offers adaptability for future proofing and changing work modes. Equal emphasis is placed on providing work spaces and community areas to instill a sense of transparency and connection.

Apart from Vivo’s flagship store, the building houses retail spaces, eating outlets, conference levels, an employee cafeteria, terraces and gardens at multiple levels, and penthouse area that offers event spaces and conference rooms along with the panoramic views of Qianhai Bay.

Being a next-gen technology company, Vivo’s new headquarters introduces a shared vision of next generation workplace design. We worked closely with the company to fully understand its vision and work culture, and to express those ideals through the design. – NBBJ
Outdoor and indoor spaces blend seamlessly at the Vivo headquarters in Shenzhen | Vivo headquarters in Shenzhen by NBBJ| STIRworld
Outdoor and indoor spaces blend seamlessly at the Vivo headquarters in Shenzhen Image Credit: Courtesy of NBBJ

The cleverly-intended geometry of the high-rise induces self-shading in summer and invites daylight in winter. Aspiring WELL and LEED Gold certification, the tower features an expansive glass exterior with horizontal panels that fuel the energy efficiency and sustainability aspects at large.

In favour of the ‘Sponge City’ concept adapted in Shenzhen to save water, the designers have also proposed bonus sustainability features by suggesting the utilisation of permeable surfaces and landscaping to direct drainage and surface runoff back into the ground. The captured rainwater is proposed to be stored in underground tanks to be used when in need.

The construction of the Vivo headquarters began in May 2020 and is expected to be completed by 2025.

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