Reduction in design allows greater freedom in thinking. This is how one could imagine the guiding principle when client and planner sat together over the floor plans of a thoroughly atmospheric old building.
The former factory building of a Düsseldorf fittings factory with a short, angled side wing only dates from 1959. The simple reinforced concrete skeleton building with an industrial appearance has two main floors and a basement and was now to be divided into two rental units, for which a new staircase also had to be installed.
Thanks to infills in exposed masonry, it plays with different material tones on the outside and has simple window formats. On the inside, the renovation concept intended from the outset to accept this character and to develop the interior in a purist reinterpretation of the rooms taken over as a bright and contemporary modernized working environment. This was done with functional and visual emphasis on the existing architecture and its materiality, so that the original concrete ceilings and glass blocks also help define the updated ambience.
The floor was given a new exposed screed, the electrical installations are still visibly routed and thus reflect the style of the former production site. Floor-to-ceiling doors made of natural oak, the wooden frames of the windows and the wooden surrounds of the glass walls, through which the soberly kept offices and adjoining rooms are
The offices and adjoining rooms are inserted into the floor space and provide a counterpoint to the hard factory hall type. Here a soft curtain, there a view-sucking work of art, here an absorbing piece of furniture – this is how the interior design of this working environment was further differentiated.
In the process, the furniture, manufactured in oak according to the designs of Nidus Studio, makes a dominant appearance, which deliberately enhances the charm of the interior design created with a few selected elements. Also convincing is how the floor plan disposition takes care of the valuable communication and stay quality of individual functions. The kitchen becomes the “centerpiece”, but the meeting room and the showroom also offer an attractive atmosphere.
What do you consider to be the key qualities of a good workplace?
Ana Vollenbroich / Annelen Schmidt-Vollenbroich: A good balance of closed and open work areas, as well as a generous supply of shared and representative spaces. A continuous, uniform design in all areas.
Do you see any comparability in room design for living and for working?
Absolutely. In contemporary work, motifs and uses originally attributed solely to private living are being adopted. We spend a large part of the day at work, and here our different needs, such as an area for regeneration, social interaction, etc., must be taken into account. must be taken into account. This is of course accompanied by a different atmosphere, which may be somewhat more informal – more homely, in other words. Conversely, the increased use of home offices also means that there is a need for professional retreats in the living area. The boundaries are fluid.
Which functional aspects do you consider to be the most important for the future development of workspaces?
Over the last 10 to 15 years, we have seen a rapid change in the demands placed on our workspaces. Change has become the perennial motif of our time, and it is less a matter of the specific developments in each case than of the fact that change is part of our culture. Essential to the future-proof workplace, therefore, is a structure that is maximally open to use, flexible, and able to adapt quickly to changing needs. Incidentally, this is a quality that is also becoming increasingly important in the area of living.
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