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CJ Blossom Park

Suwon, South-Korea
, 16 Mar 2020 - 12:32

SYNERGY, CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION 

CJ Corporation’s Blossom Park in Suwon, South Korea brings together diverse R&D units in a single dynamic, boundary-free, stimulating environment, maximising innovation and inspiring creative potential.

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©CHRISTOPHER BARRETT PHOTOGRAPHY


''CJ Corporation’s Blossom Park R&D Headquarters in Suwon, designed by CannonDesign, is South Korea’s largest research and development centre. The almost 1.115.00 m2 building won R&D Magazine's prestigious Lab of the Year Award in 2018. In stark contrast to nearby rectangular buildings, with sweeping curved contours and a truly organic feel, its three towers consolidate CJ’s previously separate pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food products businesses into a single world-class scientific discovery centre. ''

THE “ONLY ONE” CONCEPT
CJ Corporation’s vision for “The Only One” was a richly creative, collaborative research atmosphere, and from the outset, this directed the architecture and design. The brand’s logo of a three petalled blossom represents CJ’s core value of a “better life” of happiness, enjoyment and convenience. Employees performing focused, demanding work need to maintain creativity for as long as it takes when developing new concepts, with as few boundaries to emerging ideas as possible. The new building was not just about economies of scale and consolidating resources, but also providing balance to people, giving them CJ’s “better life” while at the same time enhancing creativity,productivity,
efficiency and innovation.

Architects of CannonDesign found synergy with the project immediately, developing a “New Scientific Workplace”, concept they describe as “a radical design approach to integrate innovation in dynamic, boundary-less environments to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity.” The resulting partnership  produced an organic interdisciplinary structure, integrating innovation and creativity whilst delivering efficiency and speed-to-market. 


A LIVING DISCOVERY CENTRE 
The three towers representing the brand’s three petals are sited around an interconnecting five-storey central atrium. Each is a different height and houses a specific science, colour­coordinated to retain brand identity – orange (food science), red (pharmaceutical science) and blue (biotechnology). 

The towers are not only connected via the central atrium, but also by flowing open passages, externally visible as sweeping, fluid curves. Floor to ceiling glazing with sunshades provides even natural light distribution throughout the building, adding to the cohesive feel, and giving all laboratories panoramic views. This three-dimensional connectivity is further emphasised by double-height interaction spaces linking labs, offices, and amenity spaces throughout. 

According to CannonDesign, “CJ really wanted this to be a living discovery center, and the environment reflects that with organic forms and natural light that carves and complements spaces. The building’s central atrium reinforces the circulation, and amenities are integrated around it, which encourages interdisciplinary engagement between the different groups of scientists.” 
 

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©CHRISTOPHER BARRETT PHOTOGRAPHY



MORE THAN A WORKPLACE 
The site includes more than 50 different space types, ranging from offices, laboratories, seminar rooms and breakout areas to a restaurant, coffee shops, a library, spa, fitness areas and even sleeping pods. With an interior “living forest” and water garden, it is the perfect environment for innovation, where just under 900 researchers turn emerging ideas into new products. 

CJ believes that staying with ideas and problems without interrupting the creative process is key to innovation and design, so Blossom Park encompasses spaces and amenities for staff to work, nap, discuss, take breaks, socialize, exercise, chill out and rejuvenate. There are no physical or time boundaries to interrupt creative flow. 

THE OPEN LAB 
Of the 30 floors, 23 are laboratory spaces, so laboratory design was critical to the project’s success. Germany-based system manufacturer Waldner Laboratory Systems worked closely with CannonDesign to develop an ‘Open Lab concept,’ maintaining the cohesive environment. This is a far cry from traditional laboratories, where researchers and scientists work separately in static workspaces designated by physical boundaries, fixed shelving and equipment. Throughout the building, Trespa® TopLab®PLUS work surfaces are a uniform and unifying Silver Grey with Crystal Matt finish, to fit the building’s neutral colour scheme with occasional bright splashes of colour. 

The 160 collaborative spaces use power and data service columns, with mobile desks and tables fitted with a “tail” of cables. The universal bench design is 5’ by 2.5’ (approx. 1,5 by 0,75 metres) - non-directional and easy to reconfigure. The same dimensions and Trespa® TopLab®PLUS work surfaces are used for all desks and instrumentation, giving huge flexibility and encouraging fluid, open team spaces. None are fixed to the floor, so all furniture can be moved between columns and reconnected according to needs, forming solo, small or large islands. 

“The universal bench has a ‘Tetris layout,’ which means that active collaboration is much easier”, Maximilian Englisch, General Manager Asia/Pacific for Waldner Laboratory Systems explains. “People can mingle, discuss and show each other ideas, moving their workspace around the lab according to the work they are doing and who they need to work alongside.” 
The South Korean agglomeration had a future-oriented vision for its Blossom Park. “CJ knew that different units or tasks might grow or shrink, and in the future some units might take over space from others as functions evolve”, says Englisch. “They sought a uniform look but with the option to use all the different chemicals and materials on the worktops regardless of their current location and purpose, not knowing who might move where in future. Trespa® TopLab®PLUS was ideal for a multifunctional project like this, to provide ultimately flexible work surfaces for the laboratories.” 

ORGANIC UNIFYING DESIGN 
Almost every aspect of the building, from the flow of natural light, the uniform lab surfaces and use of space to the external profile of the building’s rich organic outlines embodies cohesiveness and synergy. This organic design symbolises growth potential and evolution, and will undoubtedly provide a rich environment for CJ’s research and development.