The view from the new offices of the Hamburg regional office of Microsoft Germany benefits from the best city location on the 6th floor: the Elbphilharmonie, Speicherstadt and Hamburg’s Michel are architecturally in tune with the company’s location, and the maritime flair is atmospheric.
This was also reflected in the interior design of the elongated, approx. 1,000 square metre floor space. In order to locate the 200 employees stylistically in Hamburg, direct and subliminal accents play a role: blue tones quote water in the public office area, matt-grey aluminium stools in the shape of heavy bollards are at the reception, brick-like grids in red characterise wall surfaces, and scattered large and small humorous text elements are reminiscent of ship lettering.
These two tactics – the thematic charging of the overall aesthetics and the semantics of the design concept – support the effort to create a quality of stay that transcends everyday office life. They are also combined with the system of the three-flush floor plan design, in the middle of which the circulation and central supply are arranged.
The reception area, 34 workstations in open-space format, larger and smaller conversation rooms or individual cubicles are positioned along the glazed window walls. The open-plan visitor’s kitchen, with its bright and structurally light furnishings, takes on a special communication task for daily get-togethers at lunchtime and in the evening. The large multi-purpose room on the narrow side of the floor can be divided into two conference or lecture rooms and used for events.
Since a refreshing break is not to be missed in a contemporary working world, small, scattered armchair zones allow for a short relaxation retreat or a spontaneous two-way conversation. Particularly attractive, because it is located in a glazed corner of the floor, is the green lounge, where you can also play on a piece of playground equipment.
The flexibility of the work processes aimed at by the company as well as the reduction of the space required are accommodated by the fact that attractive workpoints are now replacing the fixed workplaces in the sense of desk sharing. This follows the “Smart Workspace” concept, which was developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO).
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
LEPEL & LEPEL: The design of a good workplace is actually always the same. The goal is to design spaces in such a way that they invite collegial and social interaction. To do this, we first have to take care of the rituals and adopt the user’s perspective. Because work processes are characterised by recurring actions. An ideal workplace is both a workshop and a home. Workshop stands for the will to be creative and to achieve results. Home appeals to the feeling of “we” and connectedness. It is a place that inspires, brings people together and makes the company’s attitude tangible. Likewise, employees should feel valued.
Do you see any comparability in interior design for living and for working?
Definitely. Being able to work well means encountering the familiar. Even when we design workshop concepts, they should convey a sense of home, reliability and identity to the nomadic employees. We deliberately speak of a workshop here. Because although the areas of living and working are increasingly merging, the latter should be clearly demarcated. On the other hand, meeting places of all kinds are more welcome than ever. This is also our central playing field. We call it “building relationships”: creating chance meeting places that bring employees closer together and promote social interaction.
Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of the Workspaces?
When you build, you shape the future. From our point of view, it is crucial to be able to react quickly and sustainably to changing ways of working. The answer is flexibility and an architecture of freedom. Our aspiration is to meet new needs again and again. Flexibly designable spaces that exist in a dynamic and agile working world. In addition, we create an environment that also works well emotionally.
|Client||Microsoft Germany GmbH|
|Architects||Lepel & Lepel ArchitektInnenPartG mbB|
|Project type||Reconstruction/ Modernisation|
|Gross floor area m2||1.100|
|Number of employees||200|