At the corporate headquarters of the housing company Vivawest in Gelsenkirchen, the term “Freiraum” (open space) stands for the creative spaces of the employees – set up on the 16th and 17th floors of the Nordsternturm on the company’s premises.
In this sector of the building, a wide variety of functions have been brought together for this purpose, which are intended to serve collaboration, knowledge transfer and also rapid exchange: Modularly designed team workstations, space for stand-up meetings, areas for the analogue and multimedia visualisation of work content, retreat rooms for small groups and individual employees. It is hoped that this sensitively designed extension of the working environment by means of workshops, meetings, coaching or simply informal meetings will result in a significant activation and new innovative spirit. This is to be supported by the flexible furnishings and the versatile offer of a wide variety of placement methods and forms of work.
There is a lot of storage space on the generously dimensioned open area, and everything was to be movable and changeable from the start: rollable and foldable, plug-in and stackable, even the tables – there are mobile containers for office utensils. A guidance system applied to the floor helps the temporary users and guests find their way around. The diversity of the technical equipment flanks the vividness of the communication idea: it starts with plasticine and ends with whiteboards and touch screens.
Several zones strive for free thinking and togetherness: the “Digi-Lab” with multimedia equipment and a workbench as a conference table, the “Library” for learning, reading or research, pinboards and paper in paper roll holders for spontaneous discussions are spread over the area.
A well-equipped “project kitchen” supplies, but also initiates meetings and communal cooking. The playroom virtually demands that people get out and about together – competition is fun here. “Home cinema” is the name of a small tribune that can be used not only to show films but also for presentations or discussions. The “garden room” gives you peace and quiet to recharge your batteries and supports the room climate. Finally, the “Fireplace Room” offers a cosy retreat.
Do you see any comparability in interior design for living and for working?
Bettina Kratz / kplus konzept: Definitely. We consider it a central point in the development of an office concept to emphasise the homely aspect there. Our clients work hard and a lot, and an inspiring feel-good ambience supports them. That’s why the boundaries between living and working are increasingly dissolving.
Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
Light and acoustics are important and still often underestimated functional building blocks for a successful workspace: Human Centric Lighting, for example, is a lighting concept in which artificial light reflects the natural course of daylight. The effect of light on people, their biorhythms, health and performance is taken into account. Another functionality is the flexibility of rooms for diverse, changeable use. Working no longer means sitting behind a PC for eight hours. New skills demand flexible furniture, diverse work equipment, rooms that promote communication and quiet “thinking rooms” on the other hand.
Which material-related aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
The use of materials varies from client to client. What is consistently important is to always achieve a comfortable aura despite all the functionality. In addition to materials that are acoustically effective, it is above all the colours that can positively characterise the workspaces. No one wants to work in a grey spherical yarn floor ambience any more!
|Client||Vivawest Wohnen GmbH|
|Architects||kplus konzept GmbH|
|Project type||Reconstruction/ Modernisation|
|Gross floor area m2||400|
|Number of employees||90|