König + Neurath is helping Testo design aesthetic and agile working environments in new administration buildings
Testo SE & Co. KGaA, a manufacturer of measuring instruments, demonstrates how a hidden champion from the Upper Black Forest finds and keeps well qualified employees. Architecture and office design play a key role here – by combining a digital work culture with strong ties to the region.
Surrounded by an idyllic panorama, the new administration centre at Testo SE & Co. KGaA comes across as modern and assertive. The two polygon-shaped buildings form a contrast with the landscape, yet represent a connection to nature with the Kirchheim shell limestone façade. The sculptural architecture imparts this message: here is a company that values its roots whilst at the same time actively working on its future. The building group was designed by the Sacker architecture & planning office from Freiburg.
Since its establishment in 1957, Testo has achieved an average annual growth of 10 per cent. As a world market leader for portable and stationary measurement technology, the company manufactures products for a range of applications including pharma and health, HVAC and building technology, emission and food safety, as well as developing digital quality management systems.
Testo invests around one-tenth of the total annual turnover in research and development. This is obviously successful: the company regularly receives awards for innovation and design. Today it has over 3200 employees and 34 subsidiaries worldwide. Despite a spin-off in Berlin and service centres in other cities Testo remains loyal to the Black Forest, with its headquarters in Titisee and the traditional hub of Lenzkirch.
We’re world market leaders: world-class but with our roots in the Black Forest – that simple fact opens up a wide range of perspectives for professionals
But for the stunning natural paradise outside the office windows in Titisee, you might believe you were inside an urban high tech company. “In the past five years the requirements of office work have changed so radically that we created a completely new flexible office concept for the new building,” says Roman Müller, facility manager at Testo. “An attractive working environment is very important nowadays. After all, we do spend most of the day at our desks. So here at Testo we think it’s important for our employees to feel comfortable here. That was also one of the criteria for the new building. We’d like them to identify with Testo and with their workspace,” adds his colleague Lara Burger, who is responsible for corporate communications. The measurement technology manufacturer was supported by Matthias Gollrad, managing director of furniture company Möbelhaus Gollrad in Titisee, who has been involved in office planning since the 1990s. The new office is geared towards a mix of characteristic, digital and creative project work. For a work culture that promotes innovation, reflects the character of the company and safeguards the health of employees. “The office has become a real figurehead for our company,” says Lara Burger.
A lot of time was spent looking at the concept of agile workstations with this building, and it became clear that there was a real lack of open space that could be used by individuals. So the aim was to create areas in which employees could choose where to sit, as well as being able to come together for meetings. In these spaces – which are designed with zones and open aspects – all the furniture systems are produced by König + Neurath. All elements can be combined with one another and facilitate agile working. Three different workstation concepts have been used: permanent allocated desks, non-territorial approaches and a mixture of the two variants. “Desks are furnished the same everywhere: from height-adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs to pedestals and shelves for employees. This allows us to create a uniform image,” says Roman Müller, in explanation of the concept’s characteristics. Departmental managers were involved in the planning and chose a suitable concept to ensure that the space truly was adapted to the needs of the workforce in minute detail. Every employee was allowed to choose the colour of their own office chair. The result was an image of diversity that reflects the work culture. The general colour scheme is a reference to the Black Forest: natural tones, warm colours and harmonious combinations.
König + Neurath supplied TALO.S motorised desks with acoustic screens, workbenches with MOVE.MIX upholstered chairs that really encourage collaborative working, and open NET.WORK.PLACE organic ensembles for break times or small-group meetings. Functionality, ergonomics and aesthetics played an important role in the choice of all individual items and furnishing solutions. NET.WORK.PLACE lounge chairs, which are often positioned in front of large panoramic windows, are ideal for working without distractions, making a phone call or relaxing with a view of Nature. Having so many places for communication and retreat means that focused mental work, strategic meetings and creative brainstorming can all happen at the same time. “Testo measurement technology helps improve product quality – to protect human health as well as the environment. So it’s understandable that health has always been a top priority in this company,” explains Matthias Gollrad, managing director of Möbelhaus Gollrad. During the planning phase for the new space concept, another constant focus for him was the issue of movement for desk-based employees.
Has work changed as a result of the new office concept? “In fact we do work faster. And interaction between departments has become more intensive,” confirms Lara Burger. That’s why it was crucial for Testo to offer scenarios with potential for different uses – work, relaxation, communication.
The measurement technology manufacturer has been investing in furniture from König + Neurath for many years anyway. “From experience,” as the facility manager explains: “The fact that König + Neurath’s logistics strategy is so dependable guarantees a high level of process reliability, which is extremely important for my work as a facility manager. I have high regard for König + Neurath’s processes. There is a defined contact person for each area of responsibility, and these often remain unchanged for many years.” Testo’s goal was – and still is – to create excellent workspaces and establish an open, communicative atmosphere that reflects the Testo spirit. For the specialists from the Black Forest it’s another way of showing appreciation for the workforce. König + Neurath has contributed to this – with first-rate furnishing solutions and quality that’s made in Germany.
“We’ve provided space for 300 colleagues, no expense spared. We could have invested just half the amount, but we wanted to create premium workspaces in a unique, stand-out atmosphere.” Roman Müller, Facility Management Testo