Creative Exchange

Cosy atmosphere and plenty of space for getting together – new working environments combine concentration with communication.

When the imm cologne with LivingKitchen opens its doors on 19 January 2015, numerous exhibitors will again display the latest trends and developments in the furnishings industry. Interior design for all areas of life will be presented at the leading international trade show. Transitions between these areas have meanwhile become fluid. While the residence has turned into the home office, offices are taking on an increasingly homelike character. They are becoming a meeting place for exchange and communication with fixtures such as easy chairs, sofas or chandeliers that formerly were reserved for a living area. Textiles in warm colours, wallpapers or carpets underscore the cosy atmosphere. But how do you strike a balance between comfortable ambience and concentrated work, between relaxed get-togethers and focussed teamwork? Exceptional office projects will display current solutions with the participation of exhibitors of the imm cologne.

Meeting Places – SoundCloud in Berlin
The architecture firm KINZO has created a working environment for creative and productive exchange for SoundCloud in Berlin. Employees in the new headquarters of the online music provider can dedicate themselves to their tasks in an inspiring atmosphere, network with each other and time and again discover new ways to stimulate their imagination. Analogue and digital working environments have been skilfully interwoven to develop surroundings that forge a sense of identity. The entire look of SoundCloud's headquarters is characterised by industrial charm, spontaneity, improvisation and openness. Inviting seating arrangements offer options for spontaneous or planned meetings. Glass meeting rooms subdivide the open floors with group workstations on long tables.

The drinking water supply with the GROHE Blue® system also fits the concept of communicative exchange, flexibility and sustainability in SoundCloud's new headquarters. The system, which provides filtered and chilled tap water with the options of still, medium and sparkling, has been creatively integrated into a locker wall with an incorporated seating berth. The CO2 footprint of this solution by GROHE is significantly smaller than that of bottled water, and the greenhouse gas emissions are even lower than those of conventional water dispensers.

Sustainable Workflow – Powerhouse Kjørbo
The Powerhouse Kjørbo near the Norwegian capital of Oslo came into being with a creative and energy-wise particularly sustainable claim. The office building designed by Snøhetta generates more energy than it actually needs. The Norwegian architects together with six additional partner companies initiated the Powerhouse project. The goal of the ambitious undertaking is to develop buildings that produce more energy than they consume during their operating life. The Powerhouse Kjørbo could be opened in mid-2014 as the first building of the project. By optimising and combining available technologies, two existing buildings from the 1980s have been transformed into an energy-positive building.

In addition to the energy measures, the attractive and comfortable interior of the Powerhouse Kjørbo contributes particularly to its success. During the redesign great emphasis was placed on the materials used. These were supposed to meet the highest environmental standards and at the same time be produced while saving as much energy as possible. Based on this, the existing spaces were transformed into state of the art workspaces with an especially inspiring ambience. Warm colours, designer furniture and areas for withdrawal or joint exchange support concentration and ensure a creative atmosphere. With the furnishings, high-quality design has been combined with a standard of sustainability. Woven carpeting from the Eco collections of Carpet Concept was chosen for the layout of the floor areas. The flat-woven and particularly durable carpeting was used on around 3,500 square metres. The traditional weaving process via tightly interwoven threads as well as the use of high quality fibres makes the Eco collections extremely tough.

Mobiles Konzept – SAP Innovation Center Potsdam
The SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam, designed by SCOPE office for architecture, also offers a creative environment that supports open thinking. The unconventional design consciously picks up on the start-up nature of new software companies. This design is intended to support innovative and efficient collaboration between clients, researchers and students. Both upper levels of the new three-storey building have been subdivided into four areas. In each area 30 employees have direct access to all functions of their everyday needs in an openly designed floor plan.

The requirement to be able to change the composition of the team quickly and easily was taken into account with a mobile workspace concept. Track-guided whiteboards divide the areas into zones and enable the widest variety of workspace configurations in addition to optimising the acoustics in the room. Various communication areas serve as meeting places and break areas but also enable work in a casual setting. A variety of conference rooms as well as a project area for design thinking complete the arrangement of space. Friendly colours and a cosy design by Vitra and other manufacturers contribute to the stimulating overall impression. Like the two other projects described here, the Innovation Center Potsdam with its unconventional and yet inspiring design meets the modern requirements for a creative and communicative work environment that leaves room both for concentration and relaxed exchanges between employees.

Source: Koelnmesse, reprint free of charge.