Axel Springer, Berlin
Axel Springer, the multinational media and technology company, has opened a new building on its Berlin campus. The new office block also acts as a symbol and transition tool for the transition from print to digital media. The space also wanted to open up the debate on the future of workplaces. For this task they joined with OMA, one of the most prestigious architectural firms worldwide.
The environment needed to broadcast the work of individuals for shared thoughts. The building is situated opposite the existing Axel Springer headquarters on Zimmerstrasse, a street which previously separated East and West Berlin, one of the city’s most significant locations. Bisected by a diagonal atrium that opens up to the existing Springer buildings, the essence of the design lies in a series of terraced floors that together form a ‘valley’ creating an informal stage, a centre agorà open to the citizens, who can experience three floors of the new building, including the rooftop. The rest is occupied by spaces free from partitions and any kind of obstacles. It is precisely in these informal areas, designed to foster communication and interaction in the workplace, that UniFor’s know-how has been applied. Working side by side with OMA, UniFor conceived for this specific project a completely custom-made system of tables, pods, seats and panels developed by OMA’s design team led by Rem Koolhaas. The more than 700 tables which were supplied, can be used for a variety of functions, from informal meetings to reading or dining. Made with HPL laminate tops on a metal base the tables are characterised by a simple but rigorous aesthetic, with carefully studied colours, where technology is always present but never intrusive. Sizing and shapes are also different, according to the space and function they occupy.Great attention has been paid to electrification, which has been made available even in the seats. One example are the “Donuts”, a modular series of upholstered items with an unmistakable doughnut shape. Finally, there are the pods. Available in three different sizes, these cylindrical elements are designed to guarantee perfect acoustic isolation from any sound or noise, thus guaranteeing the necessary privacy for meetings, making a phone call, or simply for concentrating.
Foto © Laurian Ghinitioiu