MSB in Karlstad moves to its new office

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) is leaving its 1970s office cubicles behind as it moves into modern and flexible premises with greater scope for interaction.

The planning and construction of the agency’s office in Karlstad has taken three years and resulted in a six-storey office block, with green stone cladding panels that match the waters of Tullholmsviken. For the 440 employees, both the exterior and interior represent a marked difference from the previous premises in Karolinen, which were built in the late 1970s. The traditional office cubicles have now been replaced with an open-plan and flexible office environment with several adjacent conference and meeting rooms. In conjunction with the move, the agency will switch to an activity-based working method intended to increase interaction and efficiency.

“The aim was to create a pleasing, modern office environment, and the end client has had a big influence on the process. The new premises have been designed to stimulate physical meetings between employees and bring about increased interaction,” says Monika Semkowicz, supervising interior architect at White Arkitekter, which designed the premises.

“Nature has served as a major source of inspiration, with ‘Gold and green forests’ providing the overall theme for the office. We have worked to come up with a design that will stand the test of time, in terms of both good quality and choice of materials and colours. The sustainability aspect is also apparent in the re-use of existing furniture, which takes its place alongside new items. In total, 40 % of the existing furniture has been reused.”

A modern office

Employees have no fixed stations, but instead choose a workstation based on their current task. Consequently, cupboards and storage have been installed, from which individual bags and equipment can be retrieved every morning for the day’s tasks.

“We have supplied interior furnishings that support the agency’s new working method and needs, including cupboards and storage equipped with an RFID solution. This is a microchip that is used as identification in various types of applications, and can be used, for example, in the event of an inventory or reorganisations,” says Björn Carlsson from Input interior in Karlstad, which was responsible for procurement, delivery and installation of the furniture and fittings for the new office.

Colours set the tone on each floor

The working method and furniture are largely consistent on all floors, but each floor is given its own identity with a different colour to set the tone.

“White Arkitekter have utilised a concept featuring a specific colour scheme for each floor, which makes it easy to get your bearings and contributes to an inspiring environment. Furniture and fittings reflect the varied shades, creating a superb overall effect. Combined with the view over Tullholmsviken, this is a fantastic office and I am sure the staff will feel right at home,” concludes Björn.

In July it will be time for the employees to move into what will be the agency’s biggest office. The agency also has operations in Stockholm, Kristinehamn, Revinge and Sandö.

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