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Migo Office Design: Bringing the Barrio to Fort Bonifacio

We were approached by Migo, a start-up foreign firm last year, to design a space for their first office in the Philippines.  We wanted to give them a workspace that not only reflected the company’s young, energetic and creative office culture, but would also give them a Filipino flavor to inspire them as they worked towards conquering the Filipino market.  

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Inspired by the traditional home and neighborhoods in the barrio, our playful interpretation incorporated familiar and traditional materials, elements and furniture into the modern workspace design.  

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Bangkal Street turned out to be the one stop shop for almost everything we needed.  We repurposed what might have initially seemed like scrap into beautiful capiz sliding doors for a wall of storage, nostalgic mismatching wooden chairs for meeting and breakout areas, and a giant nara door and old glass windows for partitions.

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If you haven’t been yet, Bangkal street is a neighborhood in Makati made up of a few small streets lined with flea market type shops selling garage sale items.  Although you have to dig through a lot of trash to get to anything decent, there are sometimes treasures to be found for the lucky ones at bargain prices.  

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We had to rummage our way through the piles of dusty and grimy capiz windows to select the sizes that were most similar to our 4 panel module design for the storage sliding doors.  A good wash and scrub, which I eagerly waited for, brought out the sheen of the capiz shells once again and the color of paint underneath. Joined together to form sliding doors, they create a patchwork of Filipino nostalgia that is modern and unexpected.

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Old wood planks sourced from stockpiles in Bulacan from old houses, add warmth and texture to the space.   Repeated use of GI sheets are both functional, as they become magnetic and white board surfaces, and a playful reminder of a common sight seen all over the Philippines - the inexpensive GI sheet construction site fence, abandoned lot fence, makeshift homes, roofs, etc.

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The open plan was designed to encourage interaction and teamwork amongst the Migo employees.  Various breakout areas all over the space and GI sheet cladded walls and columns allow for meetings and brainstorming to be held just about anywhere.  

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Here we used old wood planks to clad all pantry cabinet doors in this open kitchen. By using salvaged materials and second hand furniture we were able to keep the project cost low while reducing our carbon footprint.  

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Through the doors cladded with old wood planks, banderita-inspired tile pattern on the floors inject some Filipino festivity into the bathrooms.