BGV Karlsruhe - Architecture and brand
Corporate representation, image transfer and visualisation of values are aspects that are gaining in importance from an architectural point of view. The special discipline here is known as corporate architecture and ideally it communicates both internally and externally, because it is also and primarily intended for the benefit of the employees.
ARCHITEcTURe as a part of corporate culture
When the insurance company Badische Gemeinde-Versicherungs-Verband (BGV) decided on Karlsruhe for its new headquarters the course was set for new strategies and a modern approach. The market leader of insurers for municipalities in the Baden region wanted to enhance its already extremely good image with a green approach in its headquarters. Today the BGV reduces CO2 emissions by around 100 tons a year. But the new corporate headquarters can do much more than that. The team of architects at Vollack archiTec were responsible for the concept, overall planning and implementation of the sophisticated BGV headquarters, the CEO Wolfgang Eitel holds very clear views on architecture and its purpose: »The topic of architecture is not only a question of taste and the whims of enterprises. It is concerned with working environments and corporate cultures. This is of particular importance for companies whose products are not so clearly perceived by the general public.«
visible company values by architecture
Corporate architecture is the means with which Wolfgang Eitel sends the right message out to customers. The architecture communicates the values that the customer connects with a brand or with a company. In the case of the BGV these values were to be manifested clearly. Large windows, for example, symbolize transparency. The visible use of renewable energies indicates that the company is willing to accept social responsibility. New forms were to give expression in the interior design and to improve the office environment.
exclusive corian furniture
In cooperation with the design2sense office from Leipzig Vollack archiTec developed special customized furnishings tailored to meet the needs of the employees while at the same time representing the mission statement of the company – the harmonious combination of commercial activities and sustainable environmental protection. The accentuation of team and project work and the enhancing of communication constituted the focal objectives. The CEO of design2sense, who cooperates on a nationwide basis with Vollack, outlines the design vision: »It was our aim to concentrate on only a few materials in order to meet the demands on consistency of design and clarity of concept. We finally found a balance between the lightness of the material Corian and the natural aspect of the wooden floors and interior facades.« Working with Corian, the material with which he was able to fulfil the high demands, was a »maiden voyage« for Guido Rottkämper. »Together with Inuma Möbelwerkstatt, our partner of many years standing, we found ways and solutions for implementing the elaborate design language and what is more in a quality that satisfied BGV to the full.«
eleven meter reception counter
Wilfiried Duphorn, Head of Sales at Inuma, realised that the size and complexity of the project would mean finding a processing partner that could guarantee the necessary expertise and reliability as well as a good price/performance ratio. And the challenges were indeed enormous. These were due primarily to the size of the individual objects such as the Board’s conference table, for example, that had to seat up to 24 persons or the reception counter whose design was to be so special that it could to take pride of place in the reception area. »The exercise was successful, today visitors and employees alike are welcomed by an eleven-meter-long counter made of Corian in glacier white. The thermally rounded corners, three different counter levels and a rear wall that is accessible from both sides come together to lend this piece of furniture a powerful character.« Inuma cooperated in the production with Hasenkopf Industrie-Manufaktur, whose people were »always ready with competent information and help in compiling the construction documentation and thanks to their strict adherence to schedules and high quality proved to be an extremely pleasant cooperation partner«.
Also kitchens for employees are made of CORIAN
The high proportion of Corian that was processed for this project meant that this versatile material took on a »messenger role« for the new appearance. An open and diversified floor plan was required, one that could be adapted time and again to suit new situations. Numerous structural elements of the old building were retained, although its interior was completely changed. Clear lines are achieved by the Corian objects that continue right through to the smallest areas. There are staff tea kitchens, for example, to be found all over the building. Their kitchen units that are also made of Corian are impressive with their seamlessly integrated sinks made of Corian with stainless steel bottoms. Matching Corian bar tables round off the harmonious impression.
sucessful project completion
The good cooperation between the project implementers Inuma and Hasenkopf Industrie-Manufaktur continued right through to support during final assembly. Today BGV radiates the image of a modern company that communicates through its architecture giving clear, distinctive and consistent expression to its esteeming attitude towards people and the environment. Corporate architecture has fulfilled its purpose if, as in this case, it creates buildings that communicate in a unique way.
Photos: © INUMA / © Peter Eichler