Natural daylight, plush furniture, designer lights and a swanky bar — one would be excused for mistaking The Great Room offices for a posh hotel lobby. True enough, the handsomely furnished co-working space is a modern take on the stately but often empty spaces that lavish the grand mansions of the golden age. Except its formal rooms, including the reception, study and dining hall, are filled with good company and great vibes, regales co-founder and CEO Jaelle Ang.

In the two years since its launch, The Great Room has already ventured outside Singapore, establishing partnerships that will see it open outposts in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

This real estate developer, who is involved in the development of luxury hotels such as Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok through her work at Country Group Development, was dissatisfied with the contrast between world-class hotel environs and those of traditional office spaces. “I saw how work environments were bland and uninspiring even though many spend most of their waking hours in the office. I felt compelled to change how we work and play.”

Ang likens herself to Jonathan Hill’s  “Illegal Architect” in the exploratory critique, especially in relation to The Great Room. It is user experience before designer aesthetic, she says. “Every day I learn how other businesses function and how elevated environments help win the war for great talents.” 

Despite her achievements, Ang’s fire burns bright: “As an eternal optimist, I’d say I’ve had many memorable moments in my meandering career but the most hasn’t arrived. I look forward to opening and challenging the status quo about work and play in more cities in Asia-Pacific.”