This Design-Forward Helsinki Office Doubles as a Workplace and Showroom

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When London-based studio SevilPeach was contracted to design the new headquarters of renowned Finnish furniture brand Artek, they constructed an innovative solution that kills two birds with one stone.

 

While cubicles and reclusive office environments are widely considered things of the past, what’s not quite as evident is how to build a work environment that goes above and beyond the new standards of first-rate office spaces.

British architecture firm SevilPeach is known for doing just that, designing groundbreaking workplaces, including our August cover story, the Hofplein branch for Dutch co-working company Spaces. The studio worked to make the office an inspirational place that suits every work style, offering an open floor plan to encourage collaboration, while still providing employees with private workspaces. Human needs and the interests of the people who would be spending their time in the space were at the core of every aspect of the design.

Subsequently, during the design phase for the new headquarters of Artek, SevilPeach first evaluated the needs and values of the Helsinki-based modern furniture brand—the findings of which lead the project.

“It’s always our aim to develop projects from scratch and start by analyzing the needs of the company and the users as well as the building structure,” Peach says. “This leads to tailored interiors with an original nature.”

Situated in a 19th-century building, the new space not only provides the company with a spacious, brightly lit office, but also offers an innovative crossover between an office and showroom. “This has made it necessary to integrate some facilities which are rather unusual for general office spaces,” Peach says. Architects, partner dealers, and clients are invited to visit and experience the products firsthand in a real-life workplace environment. Large curtains are a common motif throughout the showroom to conceal facilities and storage. As an added benefit, they improve the acoustics.

Aligned closely with Artek’s casual approach to its furniture, SevilPeach integrated functionality first and foremost. Employees can choose from a variety of workplaces in the office, both collaborative and personal, ranging from sofas to meeting tables, conference rooms, or their own personal desks. Most importantly, people are candidly encouraged to engage with one another throughout the day. Purposeful efforts are in place to guide conversation; for instance, the office only has one bin, keeping employees on their feet and speaking to one another.

When it comes to furnishings, the office decor is as design-forward as the layout. Vitra purchased Artek in 2013, and the two companies share the belief that quality design can improve daily life—an idea that pairs seamlessly with SevilPeach’s approach to the project. “Whilst both companies have a strong DNA, their products effortlessly merge to create a harmonious contemporary interior,” Peach says.

The workspaces feature mostly Vitra workstations along with Artek chairs and lighting, and the communal spaces and heart of the office are mostly complete with Artek furnishings. “Artek’s people-friendly, warm, and cozy collection creates the perfect pair with the Vitra collection,” says Anja Matilainen, the Finland Country Director for Artek and Vitra.

Together, Sevil Peach, Artek, and Vitra are committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the working environment. “By putting users in the center of our design approach, we force ourselves to remain open and flexible in our thinking and adopt to changing needs,” Peach says.

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