Room for experiments

Design blocher partners
Location Filderstadt, Germany
The office as a living space. This is how the initiators of this project describe their approach in creating a space, where people spend multiple hours each day.

The office as a living space

In 2020 the office fitter Leonhard moved into new company premises in Filderstadt. The ground floor layout of the building is divided into two separate floor tracts by a general-purpose entrance area. The floor space, which contains 35 people, has an area of 900 square metres.

The company calls what the interior architects designed a “working world” and speaks of the “office as a living space” – a comprehensive formulation that does not seem exaggerated because it emphasises precisely what distinguishes a contemporary working culture: Where people spend several hours a day, they must also be able to live holistically.

A double task

Two things had to be achieved: on the one hand, the office is understood as a presentation and test area for the range of products and ideas as well as an identity-creating place for three-dimensional brand communication. Customers are welcomed, informed and can experience different furniture or work scenarios. On the other hand, it is the employees’ everyday place of activity, where they find their differentiated spaces for concentrated individual work, teamwork and recreation.

The distribution of both zones over the two wings proved to make sense: The “lab area” was set up in the western wing – as an experimental field for prototyping, equipped for interactive workshops and usable for events or relaxing together. The “work area” is located in the eastern wing, where the fundamentally integrated flexibility as a principle of New Work becomes clear. Workplaces are not only easily adjustable to different postures such as standing or sitting, they can be carried from room to room including the necessary materials. In this way, the working environment changes and spontaneous team building is also possible. Moreover, this reconfiguration has a positive influence on the individual mindset.

Encouraging creativity

For agile processes, there are metal walls everywhere that can be worked on with magnets or pins; plant boxes, shelves and file holders can be moved around as needed using wooden hinges. A “project garage” allows teams to separate, discuss and visualise ideas. An unusual feature is a micro-apartment as a retreat and rest room, which has a desk, bed and washbasin as well as direct access to the staff shower.

"From the user's point of view, Leonhard's working environment is an ideal solution because the way the workspace functions was developed in a close, co-creative process with the employees. Designed completely free of hierarchies, the office becomes a mirror of the employees' needs. "
— Jürgen Gaiser

What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?

Jürgen Gaiser / blocher partner: For me, the office is not the place where the output of a company is created. For me, it is a melting pot of employees, their diversity and creativity. It functions as the heart of the company, so to speak, because it is the corporate spirit that is lived and developed here. For me, a good workplace is like a kind of modern campfire. That means a place where employees can gather, exchange ideas, develop ideas together. It is a hybrid meeting space that promotes the further development of the employees and the company through permanent knowledge transfer.

Do you see any comparability in interior design for living and for working?

In recent years, our awareness has increased that living and working are never just one or the other, or that one only works through the other. We don’t work in order to live, and we don’t live in order to work either. I therefore even go so far as to say that spaces in which we work must also be spaces in which we live. The design of the space must pay attention to the individual needs of the user in every respect. It is about creating places that are charged with stories that revolve around human encounters. And it’s about evoking feelings. Only that creates identification.

Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?

I see Workspaces as an offer to employees to develop and network. An offer that can be accepted, but which can also be rejected at any time in order to work in a completely different, company-independent location. The most important functional aspects for me are therefore: maximum design freedom and flexibility. Every workspace must be based on a structure that enables permanent change and further development – mentally and physically.

ClientLeonhard Arbeitswelt Filderstadt
Architectsblocher partners
CompletionJanuary 2020
Project typeNew building
Gross floor area m2900
Number of employees35
Workspace Furniture-
Conference Furniture-
Lounge Furniture-

Floor Plans

Best workspaces initiators