Offices will continue to be a permanent fixture in the changing way we work. However, they will have to meet the high demands of both functionality and comfort now that technology enables us to be increasingly mobile. EY’s new Stockholm office aims to move its business into the future with efficient spaces, technical innovations and, not least, interior design with a touch of personality.
Work from home or feel at home in the office? Developments in recent years – not least the pandemic – indicate that we will do both. When EY commissioned Tengbom to furnish their new Stockholm premises, “living room” was one of the key words.
“It is important for the office to offer something that is not available at home,” says Sofia Dahlén, lead architect for the assignment. “That something includes the interaction with colleagues. A workplace should be a source of inspiration and input from others, and the environment should really promote that.”
“The aspects of our sustainability footprint that we can control are travel and the physical premises. It’s a big step to reduce our spaces but increase the number of workspaces – making it more optimized and multifunctional.”
Jessica Schmidt, management consultant and project manager, EY
Efficient and versatile spaces
The new office is part of a larger, more wide-ranging change at EY – which involves integrating new ways of working into the global strategy. A contemporary workplace is a key part of recruiting and retaining employees and attracting new customers.
“These are issues we help our clients with, so we should practice what we preach and have a modern, vibrant office,” says Jessica Schmidt, Management Consultant at EY and Project Manager for the transformation.
EY occupies four floors in a new building in the heart of Stockholm, with views over the busy streets, shops and walkways. Multifunctional spaces allow for better use of a smaller footprint, fewer square feet, in an activity-based office. The work areas are divided into zones, which lets employees chose whether they want a quiet, focused place to work or would prefer to interact with colleagues. They can also interact with others in the many lounge areas which form an important part of the floor plan. At the same time, there are individual meeting rooms, the majority of which are set up for digital meetings.
Holistic approach to promote health
It is highly likely that the way we work has changed for good: digital meetings are here to stay and the office will play a greater role as a collective hub where company culture is formed. Being innovative and effective at work is essential for a business, as is providing a health-promoting environment in the form of good ergonomics and a well-lit environment with good lighting – something that is often missing when we work from home. At Tengbom, we are passionate about creating dynamic and healthy environments. And the best results are achieved when there is trust and commitment between all parties – especially in a project like this which was commissioned right at the start of the pandemic.
“From the outset, we could see that it was not just a question of finding a few pieces of furniture, the client was fully committed; they wanted to get more out of the office. We put trust in each other’s professionalism to find common solutions,” says Tove Prahl, Project Manager at Lindelöf, who was responsible for buying the furniture.
The unique interior design is unusual for a large office, it is intended to feel more like a comfy living room than a stylish office; variety is the key to this, with plants, rugs, textiles and accessories.
Islands with strong connections
As an international company, EY also wants its offices to feel local – as soon as you step into the office, you should be able to see that you are in Stockholm, even if you miss the Sergels Torg landmark in the urban landscape outside. Stockholm is a city of opposites, and the design concept reflects this encounter between cityscape and landscape. The result is an office that is technically at the cutting edge but also embraces timeless and beautiful natural materials that capture the all-encompassing concept of Stockholm, City of Islands.
The connection to islands continues in the connecting stairs to floors and zones that are modelled on the city’s bridges. The aluminum expanded metal ceilings are partially painted in copper tones and inspired by Stockholm’s idyllic sunsets – or perhaps the more frequent cloudy skies. Light, muted pastels and natural shades of gray, brown and beige transport you from the heights of the southern city island of Söder to the warm cliffs of the archipelago.
An office you want to return to
The driving idea was to choose a timeless design that will last, and that encompasses the entire office, not just the public areas.
“The focus of the office is not just the external lounge. We wanted to focus on the people who work here and not just provide small, cramped areas for them to work in. The workplace of the future will be more employee-friendly,” says Tove Prahl.
They say that every cloud has a silver lining. If you want to attract those employees who have been working from home during the pandemic back to the office, you need to have an environment that works for them. If we are to believe Jessica Schmidt, this office is a workplace that many people want to return to as soon as they can.
The team behind this project
Contributing areas of expertise
Modern and comfortable work environments are one of our core activities. We develop existing or new buildings and work in a time perspective of 100–150 years. We keep updated on trends and possess considerable knowledge about the requirements for various types of offices. We pay attention to the client’s organisation, structure and philosophy.Read more about Office
Buildings are like individuals: they have an identity. We optimise environments to make sure that things are done correctly and efficiently. It concerns everything from making sure that visitors find and understand a place, to ensuring that people working and using the buildings like it and enjoy being there.Read more about Interior Design