Cool offices: Volksbank in Bolzano, Italy
Notes from the architects: The team at INNOCAD is always trying to rethink how best to optimize the workplace by creating flexible areas for work, play, and collaboration. Taking cues from their client, Volksbank South Tyrol a bank based in Italy, the team designed a highly functional corporate headquarters and retail area that recognizes the need for corporate structure and a more inviting and community based banking experience. The space enlists local artists, classically modern seating and custom designed furniture that offers multiple uses. The design speaks volumes through the use of materials, art work and careful space planning that also echos the specifically north Italian flavor where the headquarters is based.
INNOCAD, in cooperation with Berg&Tal architects, was commissioned in 2013 to do architectural space planning, office design and interior design for the headquarters of VOLKSBANK SUDTIROL in Bozen, a four-story double-wing zig-zag shaped office building which was planned by architect Christian Rubbert. Two main elements were developed exclusively for the project to emphasize the firm’s identity. The first component is the exclusively designed wooden furniture that serves as “new work’ communication and dwelling furniture, which additionally provides the necessary storage space and doubles as partitions for the open workspace.
The second component that contributes to the identity of the project is shown through specially commissioned artwork. The “WallWorks” by artist Esther Stocker, which is in the central “cores” compose an outstanding four-story room sculpture. Meeting rooms, retreat rooms, telephone boxes and sitting niches divide the wide space and create a sequence of open group offices. The ground floor is entirely a communication area, both internally and externally. Various conference rooms, the bank branch and a coffee shop form a single unit and facilitate multiple customer experiences. In addition they have designed and included a fully integrated nursery demonstrating a nourishing employer/employee relationship.
Design details are included for very specific purposes. For example, Esther Stocker’s Graphic Art was included because she is a very recognized graphic artist who is from the region. Her portfolio mainly includes black and white graphics as paintings, wall works and installations. The team selected the graphics that would be both inspiring and calming for the employees. The images also help define the bank’s corporate identity.
The oversized, exclusively designed wooden furniture are one of the main design elements which with its very unique, rustic oak veneer offers a contemporary modern appearance that helps define the space.
For the team, it is a perfect example of a “new work” environment. There are no enclosed offices and even the top management is using the open space and its private enclaves. The client hired INNOCAD / bergundtal to create something unique and modern for their future work environment, which would be a contemporary interior design and a modern future-oriented office structure. Another very important “new work” example is that the whole office space is open, enhancing communication and interaction. The sequence of open group office combined with closed areas such as phone booth, think tanks and meeting rooms is essential for a forward looking office.