The surrounding nature, the historical heritage, and sustainable interior design were key components when SKF created a new head office.

The interior of SKF’s new headquarters is a blend of historical heritage, sustainable furnishings and influence from the surrounding natural environment.

For world-leading company SKF, the link with Gamlestaden in Gothenburg is as strong as ever. The building housing the new headquarters was formerly a central warehouse within the group, and SKF’s global operations are now managed from the same location.

Architectural firm Liljewall, which planned the remodelling on behalf of BRA Bygg and in collaboration with SKF, is also responsible for the interior design. In order to blend in with the factory premises in the area, the brick structure has been retained, while the storage rooms inside have been replaced by modern meeting rooms, activity-based office environments and communal co-working areas.

“The key to the design has been looking up and out. Through the windows can be seen red-brown brick façades, blue sky, green treetops and verdigris copper roofs. These colours are prominent throughout the building and, together with SKF’s own colour scheme, create a balance between the building and nature,” explains Katarina Söderström, lead interior architect from Liljewall.

Managing history

Spacious atriums provide plenty of natural light and, together with the natural tones, contribute to a vibrant whole.

“From the entrance floor you can look up and see how the consistent colour scheme unites and links the different floors. For example, the colour of the limestone flooring is echoed in upholstery fabrics and on adjacent façades glimpsed through the expanse of windows,” continues Katarina.

Designed for 900 employees and equipped to meet future challenges, the building also provides space to pay homage to the company’s rich industrial heritage.

“SKF’s aim was to create a building that exudes focus on the future, in a setting that retains a sense of history and origin. We kept the bare concrete pillars and used natural materials to create an interior that has great potential to exist for a hundred years to come. At the same time it’s an activity-based office where office chairs sit alongside exercise bikes and pilates balls to offer differing types of ergonomic and physical meeting options,” says Katarina.

Acclaimed office building

With a focus on circular models, clear sustainability goals and the wellbeing of the workforce, this office is the first in Sweden to achieve LEED Platinum certification for the environment and health. By retaining the shell of the building, recycling building materials, installing solar panels on the roof and reusing interior furnishings, SKF has been able to reduce its climate footprint.

“A large proportion of the office furniture, both office chairs and desks, has been reused from the old headquarters. All new furniture supplied fulfils Möbelfakta’s environmental requirements and comes almost exclusively from Nordic producers. In order to ensure a long useful life for the interior furnishings, we have made use of dependable materials such as solid wood, wool, leather and steel,” explains Linda Jorfors, project manager from Input interior, which served as turnkey supplier of interior furnishings for the project.

The aim with the headquarters is to create an attractive and flexible workplace that promotes health and wellbeing among employees. Input interior has helped to deliver a balance between functionality and aesthetics in designing a dynamic workplace that can satisfy different needs.

“All design elements in the form of furniture and interior furnishings serve a purpose. The pine panelling in the reception area is combined with furniture of the same material, creating better acoustics in the airy foyer. Similarly, the interior furnishings help in creating zones for different types of work and collaboration. Combining materials and colours with functions has been crucial for the interior,” concludes Linda.

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