Google Umbono - Boardroom, Designed by Haldane Martin, Photo Micky Hoyle
Haldane Martin was invited by Google to design and furnish the working areas for the Umbono tech incubator in Woodstock, Cape Town.
The aim was to create a co-working environment that would enhance entrepreneurial creativity by being more flexible and colourful than your usual corporate office. The overall layout of the space made the most of the Castle Breweries heritage architecture by grouping communal desks around the existing I beam columns and also in front of the beautifully proportioned window bays.
The Umbono brand colours were worked into the space in a subtle way through simple, inexpensive devices like the multi coloured electrical cable suspending the oversized low energy light bulbs. Weightless chairs on castors were chosen as the primary office chair, as it is simpler and less bulky than the usual office chair, and is still comfortable. A unique desking system was custom designed for the project. The yellow tubular steel legs are literally clipped to the tops, so that the desks can easily be disassembled without the use of tools so they can be moved aside for launch parties. Individual metal storage boxes were also custom designed for each workstation so that users can secure their files, laptops and personal belongings when they are out of the office.
All the furniture was manufactured in Cape Town on a very small budget.