A Model of Good Office Design: Drees & Sommer Presents its Remodeled Work Environment in Nuremberg

© Peter Neusser
© Peter Neusser
© Peter Neusser
© Peter Neusser

Nuremberg, Germany, June 5, 2023. Sustainability meets efficiency. With the redesign of its Nuremberg premises by its own New Work experts, construction and real estate consulting company Drees & Sommer SE has created an office space fit for the future. The project was completed quickly and economically while normal business continued. The remodeling and increase in the floor area of the premises, which is situated not far from Cramer Klett Park, has created inviting offices with plenty of room for meetings and social interaction.

Many companies currently find themselves having to deal with increasing staff numbers along with ageing office spaces that no longer meet the requirements of today’s working world in terms of either their furnishings or their layout. The position is made more difficult by increasing rental and energy costs. The question in all this is how to plan in spite of uncertainty. One answer is provided by flexible office spaces that can be adapted to different needs, so enabling their long-term use. High-quality design also contributes to the wellbeing of employees.

Make One out of Two

Drees & Sommer’s recently redesigned Nuremberg office is a model of interior design for a space of this kind – and shows how it can be done without blowing the budget or overrunning the schedule. The existing company premises in the Wöhrd district were renovated during the past year, while also being extended to add the recently vacated neighboring office space. The conversion shows how new work environments can be integrated into existing spatial structures.

‘We removed a wall to connect the two originally separate units. In the new extension, there are now two double offices, a lounge, a materials library with an open work area, and a workshop room’ explains senior planner Andrea Lang. The original space was also reconfigured. The middle zone, which previously accommodated some desks due to a lack of space elsewhere, now serves as one of three lounge areas where about 70 employees can have a casual discussion, an informal meeting at a standing table, or an impromptu chat.

The desk-sharing policy applying in the office provides for flexible use of all workstations. ‘In the interests of sustainability, we did not replace the furniture. Instead, we repositioned it, repurposed some of it, and added new furniture in the extension,’ says Andrea Lang.

Office Concept with Local Flavor

Lavish displays of air-purifying indoor plants help to condition the air and, along with the new color scheme, they create a pleasant ambience. Warm colors, combined with oak design features, transform the office from a sterile work environment into a pleasant place to be in. This is especially important at a time when working from home is common and companies are asking themselves how they can entice employees back into the office.

To help navigate the office, the design team of Drees & Sommer came up with a system with a local flavor. The doors of the offices are numbered, but the communal areas are named after parks, green spaces and squares in Nuremberg. Digital booking panels at the doors of meeting rooms give information on when they are occupied, and also allow spontaneous reservations.

For the interior architects and designers of the office in Nuremberg, one of the highlights is the new materials library. This not only contains all the catalogs, material samples and trade literature, but also provides a creative space in which conversations can take place with clients, colleagues and business partners and where combinations of colors and materials for interiors can be physically sampled.

Swift Remodeling while Working

All the remodeling and renovation work was carried out within three weeks once the plans were completed. All of the Nuremberg office staff not directly involved in the construction activities worked from home while construction was going on.

‘To ensure that all staff members could return to the office as soon as possible, we had a very tight schedule. However, thanks to good preparation, it worked out perfectly – something that could not be taken for granted in these times of material shortages, delayed deliveries, and unexpected absences due to illness, and which for that reason is all the more gratifying. Communication – both within the team and with the different trades and between the latter – was particularly important,’ comments Andrea Lang.

Associate Partner Frank Pickel, who heads Drees & Sommer’s branch office in Nuremberg, sums up as follows: ‘The future of work has already begun. Existing company buildings have to allow for this, and in many cases remodeling will be unavoidable. As well as being the result of outstanding teamwork, our new office demonstrates that this kind of work does not have to take years or use up eye-watering budgets to be a success.’