Coolest Offices in Manila: Etude House
This executive office is both feminine and fun.
(SPOT.ph) Every girly-girl who walks into Korean beauty super shop Etude House gets the royal treatment, and rightfully so. The brightly lit palace of pink is essentially all things sugar and spice, just like the prettily packaged makeup and beauty products they offer. It only follows that the Etude House office is wrapped up in everything feminine-from pretty wall murals to the daintiest knickknacks.
Etude House, headed by Andrea Amado, occupies the sixth floor of AGC-an umbrella corporation that operates other Korean brands such as cake shop Tous Les Jours. Andrea's office sits at the corner of the space, which she also shares with HR, Marketing, Graphics and Merchandising. "The sixth floor is basically for women," she says. "When we renovated, we didn't hire an interior designer so I initially didn't have a clue as to what I wanted."
It was on a trip to Korea when Andrea chanced upon some wallpaper that gave her the look she knew she wanted for the entire office. The print had some black stencils of neo-baroque furniture, which eventually ended up as the main accent for the sixth floor's lobby. "It captured the playfulness of the brand and all the ideas just followed that one piece."
Andrea's office epitomizes the fun, pretty aesthetic that Etude House espouses. "Decorating is a process and I don't particularly agree with the idea that you need to buy everything all at the same time, and all together," she says. "What's important is you maintain your point of view-for as long as you have that, you can take your time in finding the pieces that work well."
The center of the office is a minimalist desk with rounded corners set on rounded chrome legs, matched by floating lamps overhead. Everything from pencil holders to the calendar is light, airy and feminine, and grounded by the starkness and modernity of the desk itself. A butter-yellow chair sits behind the desk, providing Andrea some comfort during long workdays. "I initially wanted a violet accent chair to be my desk chair, but I found it really didn't work because I couldn't shift it up and down."
A matching white console sits alongside the floor-to-ceiling windows, containing a vignette. Again, feminine items such as decorative owls, birdcage tea light holders, and room fragrance dominate the space, but are balanced out by streamlined Bose speakers that serve to update the décor to something more modern and contemporary.
A tall shelf serves as a space divider and decorative element right by the desk. Many Korean brands have an affinity for anything French, and each cubbyhole is rife with Parisian details such as tea canisters, macaron boxes and Eiffel Tower ornaments. Andrea sourced many items locally-a letter A from Invitation House, an elegant purple vase she hand-carried home from IKEA, and a picture frame from Dimensione.
A sitting area fronts Andrea's desk. "The couch, which I got from IDEA, dictated the color scheme of the entire room," she says. The hot pink couch, which serves as a visual anchor, made it an easy to decision to choose white for most of the other pieces in the room. Sitting in front is a coffee table which is decorated by three vintage buckets. "A friend came in and thought they were garbage cans because they were empty and didn't hold anything," Andrea laughs. She quickly thought of filling them in with topiaries to at least give them an ornamental feel.
The office also houses a complete bathroom, which gives Andrea the comfort of a shower during a busy day. The office building houses a gym on the top floor and employees have the luxury of using treadmills and machines to get them off their desks from time to time. Andrea's bathroom is streamlined and modern. A rotating shelf offers a full-length mirror on one side, and more storage space for cosmetics and toiletries on the other side.
Pretty and playful without being overwhelmingly feminine, the Etude House office is a fun take on the same look that has made the beauty brand popular today. It's also a wonderful example of how all things pretty in the vanity or bedroom can translate into a professional, fresh and light workplace, too.