When the British Council’s Berlin Office moved to smaller premises to reduce costs — from 21,500 to 6,500 sq. ft — they saw a chance to create a space that would be a ‘catalyst for change’ in their operation.
Commissioning Amalgam designer Ian Gunter, the client briefed for an environment that would encourage open and flexible working practices, and make it easier to network with visiting clients, partner organisations and British Council staff.
Ian’s solution was suitably germanic.
Settling on a design revolving around a ‘treffpunkt’, or central business lounge, Ian aimed to evoke the relaxed atmosphere of a Habsburg coffee house, crossed with an English gentlemen’s club, but given a contemporary Berlin twist.
There are no allocated offices or desks in this hierarchy-free space, even for the Director. Instead, simple bench-desks (by Vitra) lie at one side of the lounge, sopeople can move around and form teams as they need to. And there’s a series of flexible meeting / conference rooms, and a study, on the other side too.
Warm and open
The result is sociable, efficient and productive. Clean lined and modern, relaxed, warm, open and transparent, the space also breathes trustworthiness and quality.
“All three of the offices Ian has designed for me have been recognised by colleagues, customers and stakeholders alike as really exceptional – all three have facilitated effective team working, supported excellent customer service and created exactly the right profile and image for the British Council. — Michael Bird. OBE. Regional Director South-East Europe, British Council.“