Hamburg’s Alster villas are among the most beautiful addresses in Germany. They are best viewed directly from the Outer Alster. In the case of the project illustrated here, the view is of a white neoclassical villa dating from 1879 and its well-proportioned hexagonal bay window.
For all those who work in the building, the E.ON Leadership Academy, the perspective turns: this is why the boardroom, which today occupies the space of the former salon, was given the name “Alsterblick”. It is accompanied in the Piano Nobile by two further meeting rooms in different colour moods as well as a garden room and a lounge. When Academy guests are “on board” – mostly young executives from E.ON’s regional companies – they stay here or use other rooms on the two upper floors.
Without detracting from the outstanding ambience of the Alstergarten and the villa, the programme underlying the redesign of the educational facility not only included a contemporary range of functions, but also an interior in line with the company’s vision for it. Thanks to its genius loci as well as well-balanced works of art from the E.ON Art Collection, a stay at this location was to be transformed into an inspired and receptive working atmosphere – in the spirit of New Work. In coordination with the monument preservation authorities, the form and material qualities of the existing building were complemented in a restrained but effective manner by subtly selected carpets, curtains, furniture and lighting.
All in all, the villa with a usable floor space of approx. 980 square metres offers, in addition to the representative hall, the three conference rooms mentioned above, a large, 17-metre-long hall on the first floor, four co-working areas that can be used for events, a staff office with storage and kitchenette as well as a small guest flat.
It wouldn’t be a villa if there weren’t additional facilities for entertaining: a ZEN room, a communal kitchen, a club room and – in the crowning attic – a house library including a roof terrace. There is hardly any need for plants in the building, because the “Schöne Aussicht” (Beautiful View) always involuntarily looks out into the greenery – towards the park and the Alster landscape.
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
Dorothee von Posadowsky: For me: light, pleasant colours and fresh air, windows that open. And an environment that is as healthy as possible, e.g. through the use of organic paints and non-toxic carpet adhesives. The investments for this can be larger, but they are sustainable. Otherwise, I am a friend of individual solutions. Every day I can enjoy environments that are designed with love and taste. With a feeling for colours, materials, lighting, design and of course art. This also applies to workplaces. And not to forget: The food and beverage offer should be as varied and good as possible. Then you simply prefer to stay longer in the office!
Do you see any comparability in interior design for living and for working?
The feel-good character connects the two. That’s why home-like elements often flow into interior design in companies. But while a home reflects the personalities of its owners, for corporate worlds it is important to use the potential to create employee identification with the company through the buildings and spaces. This is the big challenge – and without resorting to company logos and brand elements by default. It’s about creating an atmosphere, a feeling. Corporate spirit to see and feel. With empathy for the company and for the architecture.
Which material-related aspects are decisive for you in the future development of the workspaces?
The choice of materials is subject to trends and is decided according to the architecture, the style of the property and the design concept. But one thing is certain – you can’t spend too much time thinking about and choosing materials. They are important for success. Unfortunately, when it comes to corporate buildings, you are often restricted by fire safety regulations, etc., so you always have to make unwelcome compromises. Fortunately, many fabric and other manufacturers are now responding to the restrictions by expanding their range. This will hopefully offer more design options in the future.
|E.ON Schöne Aussicht Leadership Academy
|E.ON SE / Dorothee von Posadowsky
|Gross floor area m2
|Number of employees