What type of workplace suits you best
Team of 21arch is being inspired by VITRA
How does the new office environment look like, what is the Action Office all about and are sofas just a symbol for being lazy? We encountered these and other questions during our excursion to the Vitra campus.
Upon our arrival in Weil am Rhein, Steffi Schenk of Vitra is taking care of us. She will bring us closer to the Vitra spirit. On our tour, the sofa corners and think tanks in the middle of the open-plan office of the family-run company immediately catch our eye. Employees are working at their clean desks with a maximum of concentration. There is no noise at all. Tranquility and style characterize the working atmosphere and make you forget the actual size of the room. Different moods, created by different lighting concepts, are used to match the respective task. The Action Office, a synergy of living space and work-space, accommodates both sofa corners, which are equipped with and sometimes without protective walls. "We always adapt to our customers' working style and select the right environment for the meeting," explains expert Julia. "Sofas are no longer just a symbol for being lazy!" she laughs. Rather, people can let their thoughts and their creativity run free. The "street", an offset passageway on a lower level, visually separates visitors from employees' workplaces equipped with a maximum of ergonomics. Interdisciplinary project tables are located on the "Marketplace". Julia leads us through the IT office in the basement. Bhavesh, our intern from India, notices a seating area that contrasts with the green accents in the room by means of colourful lights. "Our meeting points are always equipped with special lighting. That encourages an exchange of ideas," Julia explains. Then we discover the Vitra slide tower created by Carsten Höller in 2004. Most of us grab a carpet and at least once slide down the 30 m high tower until we are slightly dizzy. We then exchange ideas during a delicious lunch in the company's bistro and discuss about how we could implement the things we have seen in our own office. Everyone is very fond of the idea of implementing a passageway on a lower level than the working space - and of course we’re also curious whether one of the concepts will have an influence on our future work.
The exhausting part of the tour was about to follow in the afternoon: an impressive architectural tour through the glowing heat of the Vitra Campus excellently explained by How happy we are that there still remain a small number of trees left from the cherry plantation on which Erika and Willi Fehlbaum once founded their company. They provide us with shade while we listen to the art historian's exciting explanations. In doing so, everyone discovers their very own personal highlight. While Uli is visibly impressed by the former fire station, designed without colors and right angles by Zaha Hadid, I’m being fascinated by Vitra's maxim "The details are not the details, they make the product". The fact that the best and most reliable tools at Vitra are the hands of their employees is appreciated by every single one of us. No robots can be found in this place. However, what we discover after having finished the tour is an airstream trailer offering some delicious ice cream! Just awesome right before we are starting our journey back home in the hot bus! A tasty and atmospheric dinner in Karlsruhe is the perfect way to finish off a very exciting day. At the day's end, we are able to look back upon a trip that lasted from sunrise until just before midnight having lots of fun and sharing a cooperative spirit. Many colourful impressions and ideas have been brought back to our architectural offices and are waiting to be implemented…