König + Neurath supported its partner, Riotte Büroeinrichtungen in creating a modern, liveable and sustained office world for the city of Ettlingen. A municipal building with different tenants was to receive the right mix of communication, encounters and focused working. Aesthetic and ecological aspects were naturally also to be considered!
The SQUARE is located on one of the principal access roads in Ettlingen. The project’s initiator was the city of Ettlingen itself, which had been restoring the former army barracks since the mid-90s, converting it into a mixed-use zone made up of residential and commercial spaces. The Freyler Group of Companies not only designed the building, it also realised the building project on the 4,700 square meters-large plot of land as a general contractor. As one of the tenants, Freyler have occupied two floors in the east wing, with around 100 Ipsen employees taking up residency on the first floor of the west wing. Ipsen in turn is a globally operating pharmaceutical company that is set for major growth, whose headcount has increased continuously over the past years.
The planning phase was kicked off with a workshop during which the individual wishes and interests of all partners involved were carved out and defined. This produced a zone and area planning which merged paths and priorities of use. At the same time, a furniture concept evolved which took into account the working processes and communication channels. “We were absolutely thrilled about being able to pro-actively participate in the planning”, says Annette Haag, in charge of the New Office Building project for the principal tenant, Ipsen.
To ensure maximum flexibility of the building’s inside, it was erected with only a few main loadbearing walls. The office areas were to remain adjustable in dimension with flexible wall systems, to be able to create everything from a single-user room to an open-plan office. Only the sanitary blocks were installed permanently
SQUARE relied on the smart HORIZONTE H68 wall system by König + Neurath, which makes elegant room solutions and conversions easily and conveniently possible, in line with the requests of changing tenants. The wall system’s modern glass architecture used for hallways and partitions creates a sense of generosity and transparency while observing acoustics. Floor-to-ceiling doors without horizontal disruptions create visual consistency.
The heart is the reception and event area on the ground floor which is available to all tenants. The area features communication spaces and quiet zones that overlap, four meeting zones and a coffee bar with a lounge and a high counter located centrally in the space. Showers and changing rooms are also at the disposal of staff who cycle to work or who wish to work out during their lunch break.
Switching between quiet zones and communication zones
The fluid switch from quiet zone to communication zone continues on the other floors. The modular NET.WORK.PLACE central zone concept is used here which serves as a meeting point. This universal system creates many different interior solutions. According to Eric Schäfer, managing partner at Riotte Büroeinrichtungen which had been put in charge of furnishing the building, the “biggest challenge was indeed to come up with an integral planning concept for something that was nothing but a shell, yet which meets the users’ requirements from a functional and aesthetic perspective.”
The principal tenant, Ipsen opted largely for single-user and combined offices which were separated by cabinets from the UNIVERSAL line. Their rear panels are covered in fabric with horizontal micro-perforations that optimises ambient acoustics. “We deliberately chose single-user offices or double-user offices because we use offices for focused working, yet we also wanted to promote communication”, says Annette Haag.
A healthy interior concept with a holistic approach from K+N
Thanks to this concept and the HORIZONTE H68 room system, the central zones are infused with daylight. Although the offices measure a mere 11 square metres in size, they do not convey a feeling of restricted space. Initial concerns that one would feel like being in a goldfish bowl quickly dissipated; instead, the various departments collaborate more strongly now. The ACTA.PLUS cabinet system in the hallways doubles as much needed storage space and a counter for a quick catch-up with colleagues. The choice of desk was made in favour of the motorised TALO.S system and matching pedestals. TALO.S, whose absent cross members give users generous legroom when seated, encourages users to work standing up.
A company whose perception of itself stands for greater quality of life and health should design its workstations accordingly.
The result proves her right. Not only the employees were highly enthusiastic about the overall design and individualised interior solution. The SQUARE has in the meantime even evolved into a reference that has even impressed many a business partner.