Reading in a building description: “The kitchen countertops were each made from three rolled sheet steel elements in the company’s own metal workshop” gives an impressive insight into the attitude of the planners. The client is the Nuremberg-based energy supply company N-ERGIE, which has a large number of existing buildings on its extensive site, including a 40-year-old switch house.
Katja Reiter Interiør undertook the redesign of the top floor of this building and was now faced with a 4.82-meter-high industrial floor, accessed via a staircase centered on the south side and divided into two construction sections of different depths. Offices for the plant engineering staff were to be accommodated.
The client and the interior designer worked together in planning and implementation to achieve what could be described as an almost energetic symbiosis. The result is a working environment that corresponds to both the location and the company’s field of activity: industrial, businesslike, powerful. At the same time, however, the company felt it had a responsibility to meet the contemporary demands of the workspace culture. For this reason, the internal differentiation of the floor space was designed to ensure spatial continuity and flexibility, as well as vitalizing light and recreational areas that bring variety.
Consequently, the industrial architecture was exposed and stylistically thematized in order to incorporate the character of the site, which is also understood to be of historical value. The circulation and common areas received a sanded industrial screed, the offices an oiled oak parquet. The building services were visibly warped at the ceiling, visually combined with the soundproof ceiling above.
The working environment is divided by floor-to-ceiling glass partitions with a view and maximum brightness, which was accompanied by the lighting concept with atmospheric, soft and warm light, supported by light coves on beams and walls. The new furniture was produced together with the company’s own workshops – for example, the object lights were developed from power plant steel pipes and the furniture legs of the tables from ventilation pipes, the worktops of the two kitchen islands are made of rolled sheet steel.
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
Katja Reiter: Many factors are necessary: an optimal space program that optimally implements workflows and responsibilities; an ergonomic, functional and flexible working environment that enables work in different zones (sitting at the workstation, standing or in one of the communal places); varied lighting with zones of varying brightness as well as pleasant acoustics and the thoughtful use of colors. Communicative places such as tea kitchens or social rooms become the heart of the office in the corridors. All spaces are functional and designed at the same time.
Do you see any comparability in room design for living and for working?
In our office concept, the corridors with the kitchens are the heart – just as the kitchen is the heart of a living space. The fireplace has always been the place where the community has gathered.
What material-related aspects do you see as the most significant in the future development of the Workspaces?
Sustainability in the environment is critical to all of our futures. We try to work with existing resources by upcycling and reusing furniture and drawing from what we have available. It goes without saying that we focus on naturalness. We use only real wood (even in the form of industrial parquet, which is made from wood scraps). The future materials of tomorrow are those we already have – not new ones.
|Client||N-ERGIE Kraftwerke GmbH|
|Architects||Katja Reiter Interiør|
|Project type||Modification / Reconstruction|
|Gross floor area m2||788 m²|
|Number of employees||22|