All wood

Design andOFFICE
Location Stuttgart, Germany
The first prize of the year 2023 provides a variety of ideas for the workplace of the future

The plan

The list of possible uses for the renewable natural material wood is as long as its history as a building material. That’s why it’s also being used in more and more workspaces, displacing boring plaster or plastic surfaces. The interior shown here is seen by its creators as a “showcase for a wide variety of wood materials” in which their “potential in terms of precision, integrative planning and atmospheric quality” is illustrated – and this is as justified as it is interesting.

So what have the three architects responsible from andOFFICE planned for their Studio 49B in Stuttgart? Since it is their own office, two decisive aspects naturally flowed into the concept: the desire to make a fundamental design attitude spatially and physically tangible, as well as the effort to create a working environment that is functionally and atmospherically precisely oriented to the people working there.

A concentrated area of 340 square meters was available, in a warehouse floor of an existing building in Stuttgart that had been gutted for this purpose. A new Gro.raumbüro was installed, defined by a light gray, in which now sits an island-shaped office system made of wood in a natural tone. The side rooms of the multifunctional side wing, which contain a meeting room, kitchen/living room, coffee lounge and sanitary facilities, are characterized by a sienna color with terracotta accents.

Of islands and work

The unique, modularly organized large element of the main room, which fills it except for a circumferential corridor, distributes over its rectangular surface four work islands, each with twelve workstations and sideboards made of birch plywood, in the center an open meeting area with a projection screen as well as a flexibly usable middle zone made of spruce beams: space for meetings, lectures, model building, etc. The remaining areas serve at the front with the entrance as a conference room.

The remaining areas serve the entrance at the front with wardrobe boxes made of MDF panels in natural tones, as well as the reception and concentrated work in screened boxes as a retreat zone in the rear area. Soft wood fiberboards help with room acoustics. In the side wing, which can be used for a variety of purposes, furniture fixtures in strikingly grained maritime pine were chosen, and the partition walls are covered with a wooden slat formwork made of silver fir. The highlight is the “meeting furniture”, which integrates a cabinet bed. In combination with the shower, Studio 49B also offers a small hotel apartment.

"Precise furniture fixtures made of raw wood materials zone open space into a flexible working landscape. In terms of design and organization, it is an expression of our architectural approach."
— Heiner Probst, Michael Ertel, Thorsten Blatter

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

andOFFICE: The static and rather functional workplace is being replaced by dynamic, flexible and, above all, emotional office worlds. A lot of work can be done in the home office thanks to digital infrastructure. The physical office is becoming a place of encounter, communication and identification. An inspiring workspace increases the attractiveness of a company for employees as well as customers and authentically conveys its own values.

Which functional aspects do you consider to be the most important for the future development of workspaces?

Work is undergoing major changes, which is why we are developing flexible and multifunctional solutions that can be easily adapted to structural changes. Users move around in different areas during the course of the day and thus experience a varied and stimulating stay in the office. Digital tools are available everywhere and easily, but take a back seat in terms of design. Communication, ergonomics, materials, light and vegetation, on the other hand, create very different sce- A separate meeting room with a sound-absorbing back wall. The original courtyard door has been left in place. naria. The office is rarely directly recognizable as such and could just as easily be a café, lounge or retail space. Ideally, the office can actually be used for a second purpose, becoming a yoga room during the lunch break, an event space in the evening, or a city apartment on the weekend.

Do you see any comparisons in space design for living and for working?

A modern, open floor plan connects different areas of use through soft transitions and creates a spacious feeling. In turn, this gives retreats and private areas a high priority. Work also requires a wide variety of options for concentrated work, joint meetings, and even break and employee areas. The clear assignment of an activity to the appropriate space is becoming increasingly blurred, just as the boundary between work and leisure is dissolving more and more. Even external meetings can take place in the cafeteria, with finger food, while other colleagues make coffee. It’s uncomplicated and characterized by a culture of openness.

CompletionJanuary 2021
Project typeModification / Reconstruction
Gross floor area m2340
Number of employees19
Workspace Furniture-
Conference Furniture-
Lounge Furniture-

Floor Plans

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