A former bakery and subsequent industrial space has now been transformed into a workplace from the future. Workery+ Vallila is an awardwinning smart office building that focuses on technical innovation, sustainable interior design, and new ways of working.
Urban developer and construction company YIT, PR agency Miltton and IT company Microsoft produced a white paper about the future of office working. Based on the results, a unique space-as-a-service concept was created – and Workery+ Vallila was the pilot for this new concept.
Technological innovations are very much present in the newly renovated office building, located in central Helsinki. Using a mobile access control system and an app, users can enter the premises, book a workstation or a meeting room, and communicate with other users. A digital platform that also optimizes ventilation based on the number of users, and provides an estimate of lunch customers in the restaurant from the collected footfall data.
In addition to the smart building technology, sustainability was a focus area for the renovation project. The design agency Fyra came up with an interior concept that will stand the test of time, and function side by side with modern technology. Input interior, which was responsible for the delivery and installation of furnishings, was involved in minimizing the ecological footprint and creating a dynamic space that can be further developed based on user needs.
The new workplace
The white paper “Year Zero – 7 Lessons on the Future of Work” produced by YIT, Miltton and Microsoft shows, among other things, that the traditional office workplace is changing. As more work can be done from mobile locations, usage of individual offices has changed. Workery+ was created based on this new set of customer needs: a concept that combines the communality and flexibility of a co-working space with the privacy and stability of a traditional office. With this business model, customers pay for the spaces and ser-vices they use, as an alternative to the more traditional lease agreements.
“Workery+ Vallila is a new concept, and it has been exciting to be involved in the process of realising the vision of the project. Every part of the building has been carefully planned and developed with regard to combining technology with interior design,” says Janne Härmä, project manager from Input interior Helsinki.
The building, originating from the 1930s, is once again filled with life after being under development for a couple of years. Even though much is new, parts of the original architecture remain, and it is still possible to distinguish different time periods from the many renovations of the building.
“Historical details in the design and style of the building have been preserved, and this is something we have chosen to take advantage of, especially in the lobby, which was formerly part of a bakery. There, the preserved iron floors have been restored to their previous lustre. The entire entrance floor served as inspiration for reproduction of the industrial environment that runs through the building,” says interior architect Anu Latvala, from Fyra.
Modern elements complement the older parts of the building, and the choice of colours and materials was vital in creating a uniform ambience.
“Bold colours in selected parts of the interior create a feeling that the different rooms are separate, while also creating an impression that everything fits together. In collaboration with Fyra, which was responsible for the concept, we have created new workplaces and spaces that are linked together by a colour scheme. It’s all about finding a balance between the old and the new,” says Janne Härmä.
Focus on the future
Responsible and ecological choices were the basis for much of the design for the building. The goal for the indoor environment has been to create a timeless concept based on circular economy and sustainability. “
To minimize the impact on the environment, we have tried to avoid unnecessary changes and to make use of materials already present in the building. For example, most of the kitchen appliances have been sourced from the property. This has yielded both economic and ecological benefits,” says Anu Latvala.
The conference and meeting rooms in the building are named after geographical places and have become a symbol of planet Earth. Borneo, Sahara, and Amazon are just some of the names of rooms available to book, and to create a circular alternative for use of furniture, Input interior has developed a long-term solution.
“As part of the focus on sustainability, we have furnished large parts of the building with leased furniture. This means that products can be given a new lease of life by someone else when they no longer fulfil their purpose in their existing environment. By means of reconditioning, we will also be able to extend the life of the furniture,” concludes Janne Härmä.