Workplace concept for an international growth company
Bluefors has anticipated its future growth by transforming its premises. The firm’s culture and practices were to change assure the number of staff grew, with workplace solutions taking account of this at the design stage. A staff restaurant, supporting Bluefors' new corporate culture in a number of ways, became a key element of the workplace concept. The project combined professional project management, construction consulting and visionary design.
A large-scale development project for Bluefors' premises began in early 2018. During the fall, rapid renovation was already underway in the industrial hall of the property located in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki. The entire second floor of the hall was to be converted into office and production facilities. The company urgently needed additional space due to its 30% annual growth.
As more employees were hired and the renovation proceeded, the need to develop the company's working culture also emerged. In addition, Bluefors needed an overall spatial concept to foster its identity as an international growth company focused on research and development.
“We anticipated that Bluefors would grow rapidly and wanted to create a basis and workplace solutions enabling such growth. We sought a solution to working in larger groups. In our old facilities, there was no place where everyone could eat at the same time or enough room for ad-hoc negotiations,” says Ingela Waismaa, Brand Manager at Bluefors.
No standard solutions
Agile Work was responsible for construction consultation, from design services to implementation.
“All projects are based on trust and good teamwork. A systematically led design process enables a result that is both feasible and of high quality. This means more accurately calculated offers and the ability to avoid surprises and remain on schedule and within budget. Solving unsolvable problems is inspiring, and it was great to have the opportunity to use the expertise of Bluefors’ employees,” explains Tommi Lydman, Chief Production Officer at Agile Work.
Agile Work created a completely new workplace concept for Bluefors. Joint consideration was given to what kind of spatial concept would best support the company's international, science-oriented identity. The brand colors were displayed in the interior, where warm wood was combined with cool shades of blue. Standard design solutions were avoided, with the whole team being challenged to come up with a top-quality result.
Key innovations include the shared staff restaurant, which opened in the renovated premises in June and can be adapted for events of all kinds.
The restaurant is suitable for large groups and is equipped with premium audiovisual technology. Due to visitor tours of the new premises, improving the visitor experience and transparency of the company's operations were key goals of the transformation.
A new working culture was introduced alongside the renovation. Employees moved from separate offices into an activity based to improve interaction between units. Several conference and individual working facilities, which all staff can book through a reservation system, were planned as part of the office space.
“The best thing for me as a designer was the passion that went into every detail. Bluefors set high standards for the workplace concept, and those standards were met. It was great that the company trusted the interior designer and the designs were realized precisely as they had been drawn,” comments Interior Architect Ida Broms of Agile Work.
Virtual reality as part of the process
3D visualizations were used to present the plans for the new premises to the customer and employees. In addition, they provided specialist designers (lighting, electricity and plumbing etc.) with a uniform understanding of the desired result.
The new office and production facilities were also presented using a virtual model. Via the VR model, the customer could move around the premises and quickly form an idea of the whole. Valuable feedback collected from the VR workshop was used to fine-tune the details and make final material selections.
The customer views this technically challenging construction project as a success, and Waismaa is delighted with the result: “We now have a range of facilities, from larger conference rooms to smaller focus rooms for a few persons. Our restaurant is the heart of our operations. It’s a place for meeting and getting together.”
Founded in 2008, Bluefors specializes in low-temperature measurement systems that are used in the development of quantum computers, information technology, particle physics and radio astronomy, among others. The company is the market leader in its field.