Elevators are the blood-vessels of modern office buildings. They are becoming ever more important as buildings are getting higher and higher. The number of buildings over 200 meters has tripled since 2000. But elevators do not have to be some tin containers suspended on ropes and hidden somewhere in a building. The lobby of the Radisson Blue Hotel in Berlin has a 25-metre-high AquaDom, the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium. Inside you can find a 2-storied glass elevator, more than 1,500 tropical fish and 1 million liters of salt water.
The firm founded in 2001 boasts on its website that it “dresses buildings from the inside.” Modern offices designed by U1 have already housed around 30,000 employees, including hundreds of employees of the IBM affiliate in the CR and the new research center AVG Technologies. U1 also designs its own office furniture line called Only1 and its other divisions specialize in interior lighting. This year the firm, which is located in Brno, opened its showroom in Prague (see photos below). In case of a fire, what is the one thing that Executive Director Jaromír Popek would save? “I would leave everything there, but I would grab the first colleague who did not realize that it was time to look away from the monitor. Things can be replaced, only data must be protected since they do not have legs to run!”