Photos: Guido Erbring, Cologne
This article appeared in Planquadrat 2/19
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ThinkTanks, flexible workplaces, HomeOffice – in the digital age, the concept of work spaces is getting ever "smarter", and this applies particularly to modern offices. For a long time now it has been about much more than just ergonomic office furniture – the new topics at hand are the satisfaction, motivation, and productivity of employees. That's because, if you feel comfortable somewhere, you're more productive. According to a recent study, 84 % of all companies say the well-being of their workforce is one of the most important trending topics.
A modern office should, above all, encourage communication. This means both large and small conference rooms, but above all, informal meeting points where colleagues can casually enter into conversation that might just happen to spark a new, innovative solution. Virtual networking with external employees or customers also enables faster negotiation results.
Multi-functional rooms are available for different work requirements. For companies, this means that the new workplace management style improves cost efficiency, as spaces are utilized more efficiently due to flexible organization and as a result, increased attractiveness as an employer – a key asset in the job market.
The company Kyocera, one of the leading providers of digital solutions and services in the document management field, has also set itself the target of updating its office spaces – its German headquarters in Meerbusch were built in 2006.
Right from the start, Brillux worked together with the Kyocera team on their "Concept follows Culture" theme and this was integrated into the SmartCorner project, along with its services and products. Through workshops on the theme of color and their initial inspiration, the Brillux Color Studio color designers gave vital creative input. The technical consultants provided support when it came to product selection and the "Zeit und Raum" painting contractors took care of the actual implementation of the color concept.
Thanks to the workshop and close collaboration, the Brillux Color Studio kickstarted the creative project work in the Kyocera team – providing information on the topics of color psychology in the workplace and the use of different color shades in the concept, along with suggestions for interior design ideas and on unique wall techniques.
“A prerequisite for the success of any project is to give creativity space to bloom. In my favorite corner, SolutionPoint, creativity and passion can be sensed very clearly. For me, this space is above all a great starting point for deep discussions with our business partners.”
Dietmar Nick, Management
Japanese company Kyocera has a holistic corporate philosophy: Since its founding in 1959, people and the environment have been at the core of the many social and environmental activities it undertakes. In the "Offensive 2020" project, the focus is on changing the working world. "Concept follows Culture" was already implemented as part of the project.
The aim was to develop a modern process of coexistence and interaction, as well as to network people and knowledge. The basis for optimizing the workplace design was determining what the productivity killers were, as well as redefining how the space was utilized. In order for employees to be able to work on the go in the office, externally or at home, regardless of location, time and means of communication, all workplaces feature the same facilities: a notebook, two screens, sit/stand desks, and WiFi. Voice-over-IP connections are also available.
The SmartWorking concept is not only a departure from traditional office, desk-based ways of working, but instead also leads to employees' increased productivity and responsibility due to their enhanced freedom and flexibility. At Kyocera, work comes down to trust – where and when employees undertake their respective work tasks is up to them. The SilentSpace is ideal for concentrated work, with no distractions. At lunch time, employees meet in the casino and the "Green Field" invites informal conversation. Every employee was involved in the development process of this SmartWorking concept.
Because the atmosphere at work plays a decisive role in employee motivation, performance, and satisfaction, the project team welcomed advice from Brillux Color Studio relating to the color concept. All these measures paid off: In 2018, Kyocera was honored with the "Best Employer in NRW" award; the award for "Best Employer in Germany" soon followed in 2019. Within the group, the success story is set to continue, as these new ideas are transferred to subsidiaries.
"Even our very first visit to the Brillux Color Studio left us feeling so excited. We consider company philosophy as an inner compass; and we were able to rediscover our direction at Brillux. Brillux was the driving force behind our creativity, new ideas, and new perspectives!"
Sandra Bos, Project Manager of "Concept follows Culture" at Kyocera, Meerbusch
"For our customers, we take the time to design these rooms according to their wishes. We designed and implemented the color concept in the SmartCorners to follow this maxim, too."
Ralf Baumbach, Zeit und Raum – workshop for fine painting work, Willich
Although the Kyocera building has more than 30 meeting rooms of various sizes, the project team recognized the importance of informal MeetingPoints to encourage communication. The three newly-designed SmartCorners, which cluster around the central entrance foyer, are far more than stylishly decorated coffee bars. Each symbolizes a part of the company philosophy and contributes to implementing it in different ways. The color design plays a key role in this. Here, this is based on the four elements – air, water, earth, fire – and supports the respective function of the room.
MyLounge – the special thing about the MyLounge SmartCorner, where there is even space for groups of up to 30 people to meet, is the cozy mood, set by the generously sized sofa. The two shades of blue on the walls are based on the elements of air and water, and therefore are also connected to Kyocera's commitment to the environment and the renaturation of river landscapes in Germany.
The topic of the initiative, "Living Rivers", is also reflected in the design of the panel blinds. Here, a stylized riverbed and pebbles are engraved into the felt material. The light stone-gray shade of the furniture fabric creates a color contrast to the blue decorated walls. The table and cabinet furniture feature white-beige surfaces and the bright wall surfaces don't only encourage relaxation, but also transmit lightness.
"For me, the MyLounge SmartCorner transmits freedom and lightness. This lightness is also reflected in the furnishings. The perspective of always thinking beyond what's simply put down on paper is vital to my everyday work. For me, my favorite corner is MyLounge, and embodies exactly this."
Sandra Bos, Head of General Administration Department
According to the conceptual ideas of the project team, it would have been a missed opportunity to simply design all three SmartCorners the same, as the creative variety is exactly what covers a range of needs: No matter whether it's intensive face-to-face conversations, relaxed team meetings, work scheduling or customer chats – there is a SmartCorner offering the right environment for each.
However the essential design principle is the same for all SmartCorners: The walls are opened up to the corridors with new window and door recesses, the furniture design varies but are all from the same series and can therefore mix and match. Each room features top-class coffee machines, which can even receive digital text messages.
MindSpot – one of the company's 12 management principles says "always be creative in your work. Reinvent yourself and improve continuously." The design in MindSpot follows this maxim. Here, the color green stands for renewal of spirit and is found both on the walls and as a decorative accent. The light-brown natural tones ensure the right atmosphere during thoughtful discussions.
With its balancing influence, it represents the element earth. Birch motifs on the curtains also allude to nature. Furniture is placed on round rugs and creates multiple small, intimate seating areas within the room. This MindSpot represents focusing the thoughts – in the search for innovative ideas.
"This MindSpot is my favorite corner. Here, I can seek inspiration from nature to balance out the demands of professional life. In the MindSpot, the natural shades encourage me to think and open my mind to new ideas. I also enjoy the seating arrangement. It's nice to sit peacefully with colleagues, drinking a cup of coffee in this green area."
Marion Krämer, Head of F&GO