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Open for business

Although open offices have become the workplace norm, some of the latest projects show that they are anything but normal.

There is a fine line between efficiency and productivity. Squeezing more people into less space may boost economic performance, but at what cost to personal productivity? What happens when a space’s design hampers employee output—or worse, undermines value creation?

Today more than ever, the physical workplace is part of modern management and work. It needs to continually adapt and challenge conventional wisdom in order to keep up with the pace of change in business.

   Statoil Sandsli Office  Technicolor Campus
   Ziraat Bank Headquarters  Citrix Offices
  Datea Offices  ROCKFON Sonar X


      Adapting the office

      As part of a broader master plan for Norwegian oil and gas outfit STATOIL, a new office building adds 42,000 m² of space to the Headquarters, relocating around 1,000 employees who were spread across Bergen, a city on the west coast of Norway. To ensure optimum interaction and sharing between workers, a modular and flexible open-plan solution was designed by architect Niels Torp.

      The overall design revolves around the idea of a scaffold rather than a fixed building, where 22 ‘factories’ have been created to afford each department the same high-level functional space to work with and adapt to their specification. “Each factory is designed as a 3m x 3m grid of 1,000 m2, with the same floor, ceiling and walls that can be moved according to the programme,” explains Jarle Jenssen from Acusto, the interior installers. “These main elements had to demonstrate top results in safety, quality and flexibility as Statoil wanted a special solution which could fulfil its long-term ambitions for growth.” Solid and glass walls can be moved to create different solutions for each department - some tend to need more meeting room space whilst others require more workstations.

      "We chose ROCKFON because we knew
      that Krios dB was exceptional
      in its market for sound insulation"

      Having a large open space with mobile walls, constant acoustic comfort becomes heavily dependent on floor and ceiling options. ROCKFON were appointed to provide the ceiling with 23,000 m² of ROCKFON Krios dB 44 with A- and D-edges, owing to its exceptionally high sound absorption qualities, as well as the ease of installation and demounting. “We chose ROCKFON because we knew that Krios dB was exceptional in its market for sound insulation. The other winning factor was the quantity we required – we needed a company that we could rely on to deliver such a large quantity on time,” says Jenssen. “ROCKFON could also provide environmental documentation for their products, something that Statoil was conscious of, from materials to transportation.”


        An innovation hub

        Media and entertainment technology frontrunners TECHNICOLOR recently relocated to their new research and development centre in Rennes in the northwest of France. The new 18,000 m2 complex is home to 550 researchers and developers and aims to facilitate exchange between academics, students and other campuses worldwide.

        Parisian design studio Devillers et Associés designed the campus to stimulate team creativity and to comply with high environmental and low energy consumption standards. The main design focuses on large angular building blocks with a low-level pavilion at the centre. The ground floor façade is largely glass, creating an open, welcoming impression. Atop, a heavier impression is created by colour and materiality. An interesting window arrangement creates a dynamic exterior by alternating between differently sized rectangular windows. Inside, the architects focus on functionality and comfort to inspire innovation.

        “The architects had a very precise idea about the ceiling. It had to fit in with the concept of the façade, providing a modular system that would fit into our grid, and it had to provide the highest level of acoustic comfort,” says ROCKFON Sales Area Manager, Olivier Cretois. “We chose the ROCKFON Ekla range because it was a perfect solution with its large choice of edge conditions and dimensions. ROCKFON were even able to create special modules of 1350x600 mm and 1200x600 mm to fit the look we wanted to achieve, whilst not compromising on quality,” Cretois explains. To perfectly match the dimensions, ROCKFON also delivered 1220 mm Chicago Metallic 150 mm Bandraster 3150 grids.


          Time is money

          As Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, prepares for the new ZIRAAT BANK HEADQUARTERS in its financial district over the coming years, ERA Architecture took on the interior of the temporary space in which all operations continue until the big move. The 12,000 m2 interior of an existing building was renovated in just over two months to house all the bank departments with their unique needs.

          On top of designing a fully functional space for the country’s largest bank, including the IT, operations and credit departments, the architects had to incorporate the bank’s call centre in the design, requiring additional acoustic attention. “The main challenge in the design was for it to comply with all the regulations, from employee hierarchy and the corporate structure of a bank to the more functional aspects required for the call centre,” explains Mr. Ekim Orhan Ismi, senior architect and project manager at ERA Architecture.

          “We needed a modular ceiling system
          with high acoustic and fire protection characteristics”

          “The sound absorption properties of the ceiling material directly influence the daily comfort of the people working for the call centre and around it,” says Mr. Ismi. ROCKFON Sonar A and ROCKFON Koral E panels were selected as a solution to create an optimal acoustic environment for the project: “We needed a modular ceiling system with high acoustic and fire protection characteristics that could be installed in a very short time. ROCKFON products were proposed and we approved accordingly as they were totally in line with our expectations,” says Mr. Ismi.


            An office with a view

            Located in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, the new office for CITRIX designed by Zeso Architects reflects the industrial heritage of the neighbourhood. Once occupied by factories and meatpacking facilities, the district is revamped into a trendy hospitality and design hub. Situated atop one of the area’s highest buildings, the newly renovated two-storey office affords spectacular views of the city. Recalling loft conversions of New York, the interior design proposes an open-plan office with an industrial touch. The open-plan workspaces for some 100 employees are combined with several enclosed meeting rooms and informal meeting areas.

            While the concept celebrates the raw, industrial quality of the space, it was equally essential to create a warm, comfortable work environment. This balance is achieved through careful selection of materials, use of daylight and modernised acoustics. “The choice of ‘rough’ materials, paired with soft and warm furniture and finishings mixes past and present,” explains Claus Høeg Olsen from Zeso Architects. “For example, concrete slabs and exposed concrete beams are combined with veneer walls/doors and acoustic textiles.” Abundant daylight reaches deep into the office thanks to large facade windows, reducing the energy requirements for lighting.

            “Rough materials paired with
            soft and warm furniture and finishings
            mix past and present”

            In open plan environments with high noise levels, resolving sound issues is vital for achieving optimal acoustic comfort – here, the new continuous acoustic dampened concrete floor and acoustic ceiling play an important role. For this purpose, the ceilings are made from approximately 1,200 m2 of ROCKFON Cosmos, a lightweight product with extremely high sound absorption. Alongside its acoustic benefits, ROCKFON Cosmos’ industrial look made it an ideal fit for the interior. “We chose ROCKFON Cosmos in white because of its acoustic advantages and simple, urban look,” says Olsen. “Its surface integrates well with the existing concrete beams and columns. Another advantage was that we could conceal the electrical installations above the panels, which are easy to install and demount.”

            DATEA OFFICES

              Sound renovations

              After occupying a prominent site for a century in Helsinki’s historic city centre, UPM relocated to a purpose-built office designed by Helin & Co Architects on Töölönlahti. The new headquarters of the Finnish Biofore company forms part of a new urban development of the site. “UPM set a target of cutting-edge architecture, both functionally and aesthetically, that stems from the company’s long history at the heart of Finnish industrial and social development,” explains Mariitta Helineva from Helin & Co. Facing the city, the striking L-shaped building is set behind an expansive forecourt. Wood, especially from UPM, features extensively throughout without restrictions for fire regulations. Plywood clads the facade, the interior features timber furniture and wood panels on ceilings and walls, and wood plastic composite floorboards on the balconies. On the west facade, sunshading is fashioned from the fine mesh used for UPM’s paper processing. These measures and others including an advanced HVAC system helped award the building a LEED Platinum certification.

              Light and transparency characterise the interior. Its heart is the voluminous atrium with a reception cafe and leaf-shaped void, around which circulation is organised, that brings plentiful daylight into the building. Vertical LED fins create a play of light reminiscent of dappled light. Corridors and workspaces also front onto the void to access extra daylight. Transparency translates to the workspaces, which are all openplan. “This adds communication in the office,” Helineva continues. “The workplace has become a meeting point for employees because many of them travel extensively or work in various locations.”

              Here, heating and cooling are provided by modular metal ceiling panels in varying configurations. Helineva: “We needed to integrate an acoustic ceiling system with these technical panels and ROCKFON Krios was a good solution. It’s an easily accessible white ceiling system with good acoustics, it’s good quality and cost-effective.” With lighting and ventilation placed in a 10 cm profile between the panels, this seamless ceiling contributes to ensuring optimal acoustic and thermal comfort in the workspaces.

              ROCKFON Sonar X

              Thomas Vilmar, ROCKFON
              Sales Director, Denmark and Finland
              Suspended ceilings are great for many applications, but sometimes our customers need solutions with the stone wool benefits but a more uniform look than you get from a classic modular ceiling. If the tiles still need to be demountable – for instance to access appliances in the plenum – ROCKFON Sonar X is a great solution. At first glance, a ROCKFON Sonar X-edge ceiling doesn’t look like a modular tile ceiling at all. To achieve this smooth, near-monolithic design, we reduced the seam between tiles by 25 percent. ROCKFON Sonar X offers optimum sound absorption for acoustic comfort, fire safety, humidity resistance and ease of maintenance. It truly is the multipurpose tile that does it all.

              It is easy to integrate standard light and ventilation accessories with ROCKFON Sonar X, but we also partnered with light manufacturers to create custom solutions for our X edge systems that move far beyond the traditional full-tile square or rounded installations. Some of them even incorporate ventilation and lighting in the same installation, reducing the ceiling’s visual clutter. With its fast, flexible and efficient installation, ROCKFON Sonar X is perfect for new projects, or renovations using existing T24 grids. The tiles can either be installed using traditional suspended ceiling solutions or directly mounted using our unique X-Hooks, creating a mere 31 mm installation height while maintaining demountability.

              ROCKFON Sonar X has a classic smooth white surface with no ‘directional grain’ to match up, which means that tile sizes can be mixed and rotated to fit into corners and create untraditional layouts. Other concealed-grid systems usually require special consideration and measuring for the placement and cutting of tiles, but the symmetrical design of ROCKFON Sonar X gives you quick lay-and-go installation. Beneath that beautiful near-monolithic ceiling can be a wealth of hidden installations... or nearly nothing. ROCKFON Sonar X gives you easy access and maintenance – but first of all, it looks great.

                THE BEAUTY INSIDE

                Revealing the beauty inside renovations and new builds

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