Two rectangles shifted to the side – this is the floor plan of the Mainz office branch of AEB SE, a software developer for the logistics and foreign trade industry. It was redesigned in 2020 and now offers 40 stationary workstations on a 785 square metre floor space.
The clichéd view that the employees of a software company only need a computer, table and chair anyway and otherwise live in their virtual dimension is contradicted by the care with which the client and architects went about designing an employee-oriented and individualised working environment in Mainz.
Above all, the task of the location as a development centre to provide creative impulses and innovative processes obliged the planners to create a physically relaxing as well as intellectually stimulating space. The entrance, staircase, lift, toilets and office logistics are located in the core zone, the connecting area of the two shifted wings.
The staff kitchen, which also has access to a balcony, was connected. The two, albeit narrow, outdoor areas create valuable recreational opportunities through fresh air and a change of ambience and are therefore also assigned to the communal areas.
The zoning into differentiated functions is subject to a three-way division: An open space for teamwork was set up, in which 40 people can choose between sitting and standing workstations. Shelving elements and acoustically effective partition walls create an internal structure. Calm blue tones are used, which also correspond to the corporate colour of the company. Elsewhere, there are other, stronger colours – on the wall, curtains, ceiling and carpeting – which serve to individualise the individual rooms for meetings or conferences as a second function.
The desired flexibility of digital development work is to be reflected in the interior design diversity, which finds its expression in screened-off retreats for individual immersion or web meetings. The lively principle of the marketplace, on the other hand, is taken up by a third zone in which analogue meetings, customer contacts, interaction and communication are promoted. Lounge furniture, counter and bistro table as well as a deliberately used colour palette help to achieve this.
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
stereoraum architects: Office work is above all communication. A good workplace enables all forms of communication, from open exchange within the team to all variants of digital communication to the classic telephone conversation. The demands have become more diverse and require a harmony of openness and retreat. Of course, ergonomics, acoustics, lighting and atmosphere are part of what makes a good workplace and are the basis of any planning.
Do you see any comparability in room design for living and for working?
Living expresses the individuality of the user like no other spatial design. The workplace cannot do this, but in both cases it is about atmosphere and intimacy. Rooms also fulfil different functions, and with furnishing and equipment, work areas can be zoned in a similar way to a living space. Particularly in terms of materiality and feel, a convergence in design is currently discernible and is transforming many an office into a place of well-being.
Which material-related aspects do you consider to be the most important for the future development of workspaces?
As in all areas of construction, sustainable aspects will come more into focus. The Declaration of Sustainability in Interior Design by the DGNB, the BAK and the BDIA is a useful tool for placing this important point beyond certification with the client. A new perspective and a high degree of transparency are required here, especially in the selection of materials. Reduced use of materials, cradle to cradle, CO2-neutral production and the use of renewable raw materials present planners and industry with new challenges that we must tackle head-on.
|Client||AEB SE, Entwicklungszentrum Mainz|
|Project type||Reconstruction/ Modernisation|
|Gross floor area m2||785|
|Number of employees||25|