blue and orange Moroso sofas in an office collaborative space
Bolichwerke Bielefeld pendants illuminate Moroso sofas.

Work From ‘Home’—at the Office in This Innovative Space

The German pharmaceutical company Roche Diagnostics had a huge office space when they first contacted Studio Alexander Fehre—almost 4,000 square feet with ample light and air, in the southwest city of Ludwigsburg. What they didn’t have, they felt, was a community. The administration and production departments came and left through the same area, but rarely saw each other throughout the day. So the brief became, as Fehre explains, “to design a place between the offices and the fabrication/production. It was intended as the new ‘heart’ of the re-used building.”

A large corner of the production hall was the perfect place for it. “We decided to look at it like an outdoor space and build some wooden houses,” Fehre says. “A little village inside the large hall.” They constructed four of traditional timber, each with its own individual organization of work and meeting spaces. Three-layer panels light up when the houses are occupied. Two of them are connected on upper levels by a footbridge, while translucent white staircases unite them with the ground floor. There, wood decks create various zones for meeting, collaborating, and recreating.

“The aim,” Fehre says, “was a bit more on the emotional side, and also offer the employees a special place to meet, work informally, and come to visit outside of the home office.” Little touches of home pop up throughout: a ping pong table here, an ersatz courtyard there with thriving greenery, transversely-braced industrial lights, and gathered textile facades. But the idea is to beckon employees back and into the company fold. “It is a sort of post-Covid space,” he says, “a space without typical workdesks, where people can meet in person and experience the values of the company.” They can take those values to heart, Fehre hopes: After all, as the unmissable white letters near the lobby explain, the space is now known as the Herzzone or, in English, the “heart zone.”

the lobby of Roche Diagnostics' office
The lobby announces a collaborative workspace with ample natural light and social zones.
blue and orange Moroso sofas in an office collaborative space
Bolichwerke Bielefeld pendants illuminate Moroso sofas.
a footbridge between areas in an office
A footbridge connects two of the houses while framing views of the production process.
button-like stools atop a maroon carpet
The lounge’s UnternehmenForm tables and stools sit on Object Carpet tiles.
Planters serve as room dividers in this office
Planters serve as room dividers.
a meeting room at Roche Diagnostics designed by Studio Alexander Fehre
A meeting room offers Nodlux lighting, an UnternehmenForm table, and chairs by Muuto.
a white powder-coated steel staircase in an office
A white powder-coated steel staircase leads into one of the four houses.
white lettering spells out Herrzone, or "heart zone" in English
White lettering quickly establish the brand identity.

read more

recent stories