Personio, which took up residence in the Hopfenpost building near Munich’s main railway station, occupied a large floor of 2,800 square metres, accessible via three development blocks complete with stairs, lift and toilets as well as at least two sides with windows.
But how to continue? The architects developed a sympathetic and friendly lightness by painting the walls and ceilings as well as the round columns white to support the light streaming in from the sides. Where they opted for the techno-aesthetics of an open concrete ceiling with ventilation pipes and suspended lights, white acoustic panels or plants soften the exciting shell character.
The floor space on which the approximately 350 employees are distributed was divided into three office compartments and completed by a central communal hall with an adjoining outdoor courtyard.
The central open-plan space has flanking buffer zones of individual desk cells for focussed work and discussion rooms. It is crossed by a kind of traffic axis, which was equipped with its own flooring. It provides access to the functional areas arranged around it and integrates open spaces that contribute to the relaxed feeling of the room. To the sides are more workplaces for which rows of long tables or five team offices were used, rhythmically arranged by planted barriers.
Specific functional islands were added to this. They promote activity and communication, change the working day of the employees through quick changes from the computer workstation to the meeting area or to one of the glazed conference rooms. The monolithically designed podiums or boxes make an unusual offer by loosening up the continuous uniform level through an elevated position that can only be experienced there.
This differentiation of the places is supported by colour nuances on the surfaces of the floors, the furniture and the fixtures: In addition to clarifying white, there is often light grey, sometimes also blue-grey or anthracite. Natural wood tones alternate with yellow accents or the corporate colour light blue. Separate conference and meeting rooms, as well as a large canteen, a bar or even a “playroom” allow for additional modes of use and break arrangements.
What do you consider to be the supporting qualities of a good workplace?
Réka Visnyei / INpuls: Communication, identification and space for brainstorming. First things first: The way we communicate has changed due to digitalisation and Covid-19. So the first quality feature of a workplace depends on how communication is forced. Furthermore, the topic of brand plays an important role in the space, as long as it is solved in a tangible and authentic way. Or quite simply: “If you want to reap identification, you have to sow identity”. Finally, brainstorming: if you demand creativity and innovative thinking from your employees, you should also create the space for it. Interior design solutions that surprise and challenge us contribute to this.
Which functional aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
In the future, the question of effectiveness will be central. Even more than the “what”, the “how” will play a decisive role. Digitalisation, innovation, sustainability – of course, these aspects are in the foreground. But much more interesting is the question of the holy grail of the working world: working less with the same outcome. So how can workspaces promote creativity, communication and the mental health of employees? What will a workplace look like that is only used four days a week or six hours a day in the future? If you ask yourself the question about effectiveness, you will come across astonishing and promising approaches.
Which material-related aspects are decisive for you in the future development of workspaces?
The question of sustainable or regionally produced materials and products is constantly growing. As things stand today, however, these are approaches that usually incur more costs. As soon as numbers are involved, however, good intentions and sustainable thoughts are unfortunately often thrown overboard. Another important aspect with regard to promising materials in the office context is hygiene. Covid-19 quickly showed us our limits. Here, too, it is important to question and optimise existing solutions.
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