Interior architect Guido Ebbert from the planning office if5 in Hanover thinks the two main challenges of redeveloping the offices at NetCologne IT Services GmbH are the project’s tight timeframe and the unique acoustic situation: “At the start of the planning phase in spring, the date for moving into the redesigned office – which would have a transparent, open-space layout – was already set for the end of the year.”
The goal of the renovation and therefore the idea behind the new design was to promote communication and grow closer as a team, according to Annika Pointke of NetCologne IT Services GmbH. “Also as an IT company we are navigating a competitive employment market. That makes it even more important for us to have light, contemporary office spaces that reflect our corporate culture and appeal to applicants.”
Now that the project is complete, the 70 employees in the Cologne office have an open office space with plenty of different meeting opportunities and creative areas at their disposal. “This gives our employees a variety of opportunities for intensive interaction, agile projects and creative thinking.”
Instead of the cellular structure that has been dominant so far, one space management concept that features here is desk-sharing, while room-in-room solutions from König + Neurath serve as structuring elements. These individual units have been given names and images associated with different districts of Cologne. This creates a direct regional reference that reflects the ethos and standing of the company.
“Our office concept provides lots of feel-good spaces where we can also work remotely: just grab a laptop and coffee and off we go to the next meeting in a THINK.TANK with acoustic properties and ventilation – or we’re ready for a brainstorming session in our creative areas with write-on walls.”
Regional character is key Corporate design and a Cologne theme are the distinguishing features
According to Guido Ebbert of the if5 planning office, the interior architecture is a response to the contrasting extremes of the group’s corporate identity in material and colour choice, as well as in looks and feel: “We went for a general atmosphere of calm for the offices, while stimulating colours are used in the communication zones.” Annika Pointke of NetCologne adds: “The design concept of our offices chimes with our company’s work culture and corporate design in many respects. The colours reflect our branding and are echoed through all areas. Red stands for our relationship with the people of the region, and blue for our technical affinity and innovation. We pick up the same colours again in the LED light tubes used as directional markings between the THINK.TANKS, which are arranged in a non-orthogonal pattern. They symbolise the local and underground rail network. As a company based in Cologne we attach a lot of importance to a regional character. Our meeting rooms have names derived from the Cologne districts – “Veedel” – and there is a strong “kölsch” theme in visual terms too! The open office spaces mirror our sincere, open and communicative corporate culture, while creative areas reflect our agile and collaborative working approach.”
Good acoustics as a challenge?
The NetCologne IT Service GmbH service portfolio includes telephone-based IT support. With an office area that’s planned as an open space, right from the start one of the key requirements to ensure an efficient design concept was to absorb as much sound as possible with materials and interior furnishings. That was why the concept included lots of opportunities for privacy like the König + Neurath THINK.TANKS and QUIET.BOX telephone boxes, and the office itself is fitted out with extensive acoustic panelling with a regional theme on the walls as well as the ceiling. “Because of the structural cooling already in place, it was not possible to suspend heavy loads from the ceiling due to the restricted allowable depth of drilled holes. For this reason the acoustic baffles ultimately chosen are made of lightweight felt and recycled PET,” says Ebbert.
A further point in favour of opting for König + Neurath room systems was their complete independence of the existing structural parameters: “It was clear that we couldn’t link the room systems into existing air conditioning or ventilation, which meant that these spaces had to be self-sufficient in terms of ventilation. We had a convenient opportunity to view and try out the König + Neurath products from a technical and design perspective, as well as considering the outfitting options, together with NetCologne at the König + Neurath showroom in Düsseldorf, and this experience convinced us.”
About the company
NetCologne IT Services GmbH is Cologne’s leading regional telecommunication supplier, cable network operator and internet service provider. The company has its own telecommunication network in the metropolitan area of Rhineland. With a service focus on Cologne and Bonn, the company head office is located in the Coloneum in Cologne-Ossendorf.
Planning offices and manufacturers involved in the project
if5 design a different approach to work – applying the principle of “have fun getting things done” to create new working environments and generate identity-forming spaces from visions. From that first idea right up to the point of moving in.
The König + Neurath Showroom Düsseldorf is a working lab that provides inspiration for planners, architects and project managers. It offers a platform that can be used for interaction, discovering product innovations and developing new ideas.