“Biophilic working in Bahrenfeld” – this is how the company Euler Hermes describes the new working environment concept it implemented in a Hamburg district in 2020. The credit insurer took care of its 1,100 employees, whose workspaces it sought to enhance with creative and project workspaces on 1,200 square metres. The management had also previously said goodbye to the typical executive offices and opted for an advanced open-space scenario. Now everyone sits at one big table – without fixed seats.
Even within the departments, the managers are now placed in the middle of the teams. The six-storey new building complex, which was designed with the environment in mind, has a light architecture with its all-round window front and two large inner courtyards, thus avoiding zones inside the floors that are distant from the daylight. The interior designers positioned “emotional spaces for new ideas” at appropriate points.
Determined by an open, bright and communicative atmosphere – as well as on the basis of flat hierarchies and modern digitalisation – a multi-space structure was created that supports networked work processes and cross-departmental project teams compared to traditional office departments – mobile work made possible by a wireless infrastructure.
The employees were able to participate in the design process: Each team developed ideas for their own home base, for work areas as well as the design and furnishing of the glass meeting rooms, called “bubbles”. The supporting planners also set up identity-creating and varied special areas as well as additional work possibilities.
To counteract stress and lack of concentration, biophilic colours, shapes, structures and large-scale graphics are used in a balanced way, as well as lush green plants. The all-day stay, typical of a living space, is supported by offers that not only cater to the employees during breaks, at lunchtime or in the evening, but also accommodate them.
Lounges assigned to the project areas with free refreshment and refreshment through coffee, tea or water, a cafeteria with its own barista, a restaurant and terrace areas provide for relaxation or gastronomy on the one hand, but also for internal communication and spontaneous creative impulses on the other.
What do you consider to be the essential qualities of a good workplace?
Kim Marc Bobsin: The essential quality of a workplace is not created by the furnishing of the individual workplace, but by embedding it in a varied working environment that is characterised by a high degree of flexibility. A varied and diverse landscape of functional modules that respond to my way of working and emotionally pick me up through their individual design.
Which functional aspects are the most important for you in the future development of workspaces?
Successful concepts include a variety of different places that respond to the most diverse forms of communication and work. The more open and flexible the spaces become, the more concentration possibilities are needed. In addition, team- and group-oriented spaces in different scales are needed to respond to agile ways of working. Due to hybrid work, the topic of exchange at the office location will be a top priority in the future. Accordingly, due to the increasing time and location flexibility, the headquarters will become even more of a communication hub or even a breeding ground for new ideas and developments in the future.
Which material-related aspects do you consider to be the most important for the future development of workspaces?
The choice of materials in office planning is becoming increasingly diverse. Not least due to the co-working trend, many other areas of life are finding their way into office space planning and provide new design possibilities through the use of diverse material worlds. However, the topic of acoustics remains formative and should continue to be taken into account when selecting large-area materials. In future, materials will be selected even more with regard to their sustainability and environmental compatibility. Criteria such as raw materials, emissions, regional sources of supply and procurement logistics as well as social components are becoming increasingly important.
|Client||Euler Hermes Quartier|
|Architects||Seel Bobsin Partner|
|Project type||New building|
|Gross floor area m2||31.500|
|Number of employees||1.050|