Design Elbstrand & Mannschaft GmbH
Location Hamburg, Germany

New Work Meets Sustainability

We are in a listed tower block, which is also one of Hamburg’s most famous buildings, the Unilever building. The 18th to 20th floors are occupied by the investment company Aquila Capital Holding Hamburg. 150 stationary workstations are spread over 3,150 square metres, plus the functional rooms of the working world, with the reception on the lower floor and the kids’ area on the top floor. The “New Work Meets Sustainability” project by Elbstrand&Mannschaft benefits from the original building structure, which results in floor plans that form a triangle of three elongated rectangles, with the access core in the centre. The redesign developed a comprehensive range of utilisation scenarios consisting of open and closed spaces. It ranges from individual offices to open-plan office areas, think tanks and conference rooms to small units such as phone booths. Individual desks can be booked digitally, as can entire conference rooms. Hybrid working is also taken into account – a desk-sharing system and switching between home office and presence are offered. An electronic, contactless transponder system enables the flexible allocation of office furniture to accommodate the mobile working process of individual employees.


The elaborate soundproofing measures had to be planned very precisely in close consultation with the conservation authorities. Overall, the concept successfully endeavours to strike a balance between technical requirements, an efficient working environment and spatial constellations that promote creativity. It is possible to decide on a situational basis which lighting mood is appropriate for the respective work situation. Decorative products have also been integrated, which, together with the room design and the atmospheric lighting moods, endeavour to promote the well-being, motivation and creativity of employees. A style guide, which assigns a typical design theme to each of the three storey wings, provides variety: “Urban Lifestyle”, “Traditional Values” and “Green Identity”.

"We wanted to utilise the time when many of our employees were working from home. Initially, we only thought about changing the reception area a little. But then the idea of consistently furnishing the office in a sustainable way and redesigning it to suit new ways of working gained more and more momentum."
— André Hüttner

What do you think are the key qualities of a good workplace?
Gabriele Cloeters: There is no overarching concept as a blueprint for every company. The key qualities are taking into account the individual requirements within a concept that is valid for the community, conveying appreciation and making the corporate culture tangible in the design concept. Hybrid models are a matter of course today. In the office – unlike at home – there is a focus on networking and contact. Ergonomic and pollutant-free surroundings, sustainable awareness and transfer to the working environment (fair supply chains, climate-friendly materials) make the workplace fit for the future – regardless of design trends.
Do you see any similarities in interior design for living and working?
Absolutely. People at the centre is the common denominator for both worlds, and these should be adapted to the needs of the users. We spend up to 90 per cent of the day indoors. A healthy environment is therefore equally important for the quality of our stay. Colours and materials, artificial light and the use of daylight, visual references, room acoustics, thermal comfort, flexible systems – we take all of this into account in needs-based planning that is geared towards people. Functional aspects are realised in terms of design and increase the utility value of the interior.
Which functional aspects are the most important for you in the future development of workspaces?
Against the backdrop of hybrid working, workspaces must enable teams to work together efficiently regardless of location and optimise processes through spatial planning. This includes digitalisation, desk sharing and needs-based floor plans. Offices should be convertible, i.e. adaptable to different work situations. They should offer facilities that the home office does not. Different functional zones for concentrated work, collaborative zones, areas for spontaneous meetings and intensive brief coordination as well as attractive recreation areas are contemporary and will characterise future working models.

ClientAquila Capital Holding GmbH
ArchitectsElbstrand&Mannschaft GmbH
Project typeModification/rebuilding
Gross floor area m23.707
Number of employees350
LightingPendant light - Fils Dot Suspension; wall light: Aromas Del Campo - Tan Tan; ights - Aqua Lamp Suuria; Lamp: Areti Mimosa; lighting: Wever&Ducré - Sara Snooze; luminaire: Delta Light - Multinova; table lamp: Muuto - Linear Mounted Lamp; wall lights: Bentu Design; Pendant light: Wever&Ducré - Mirro 1.0
Flooringfloor - Bolon Artisan; carpet - Interface Icebreaker; rug: Moooi - Extinct Animals; rug: Moooi - Fools Paradise; rug: Moooi - Fluid; carpet: Object Carpet - Chic 900; Floor tile: Porcelain Grass - Royal Stone
Workspace FurnitureWallpaper: Wall&Deco - Tropica; wallpaper Masureel - Eden; sofa - Blå Station; poufs - Norman Copenhagen Circus; stool: Fasem Fiorile Bar Plissée; table: customised table; curtain: Kvadrat Zulu 2; armchair: &Tradition Loafer SC24; table: customised; curtain: Kvadrat - Panorama; Chairs: Hay ACC; table: customised table; Armchair: &Tradition - Loafer SC24; Table: Customised table; Curtain: Kvadrat Zulu 2+ Kvadrat Panorama; curtain: Création Baumann - Umbria Eco; armchair: Offecct - Oyster; Hay - Slit Table; upholstery fabric: Kvadrat - Sabi; leather cover: G+H Leder - Protekt; cushion fabric: Kvadrat - Dalston; curtains: Création Baumann - Umbria Eco; whiteboard: Lintex; chairs: Hay - ACC; table: customised; bar stool: KFF - Arva
Conference Furniture-
Lounge Furniture-
Greeneryplant wall: real plants - Hydro Böttle; floor - Bolon Artisan;
TechnologyRoom booking systems: Ginco Systems; Electronic transponder system for furniture locking: Häfele - Dialock; CO2 measuring devices: thermokon - Novos 3 CO2 Temp white VV TFL (room sensor); Intelligent lighting control: Häfele - Connect Mesh
Best workspaces initiators