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Healthy Office of the Year: Why Are There Scratches on the Walls?

Article July 23, 2020

Article

It’s official: the healthiest office building constructed in 2019 belongs to Doosan Bobcat. Its architect Matěj Kosík describes it as exceptional in its ergonomics, acoustics, and technologies.

The machine engineering firm Doosan Bobcat manufactures loaders, shovels, and other accessories for construction and agricultural equipment. Activities from design on through manufacturing, marketing, sales, and logistics all take place at their European headquarters in Dobříš, near Prague. You’ll find them at the outskirts of this picturesque Central Bohemian town, alongside a manufacturing hall and innovation and training center. 

And it’s this building’s interior that won out in the Art of Space competition’s Healthy Offices category. Its design and execution are the work of the architectural studio Červený klobouk (“Red Hat”). Architect Matěj Kosík describes these offices’ design for us in the following interview for #MORETHANOFFICE.

Matěj Kosík (Photo: Iveta Kopicová)

The Doosan Bobcat offices have scored recognition as a healthy work environment. In what specific areas do they support their users’ health?

It’s several aspects coming together here. Ergonomics is definitely one of them – the company has given its employees adjustable-height desks and high-quality chairs. There wasn’t a need to rise to a higher standard for the management’s offices. The space is democratic in that it offers the same good working conditions to everyone.

And then there’s the acoustics – while this is an open-space building, we subdivided it and used greenery and various acoustic measures to reduce noise levels effectively. Air quality plays a major role as well.

On the one hand, the building’s windows can’t be opened, but on the other hand, it has good air conditioning that keeps well-moistened air flowing through it. And the last point is the lighting, which is optimal throughout the whole space and meets every standard.

What did the birth of the new design look like?

We’ve been cooperating a long time with Doosan Bobcat, and we spent about two years putting together the new headquarters’ interior design. We always met in a group of about 12 people from different teams. Only after that was the design presented to the company’s management.

We reached agreement on the basic concept fairly quickly, and then gradually fine-tuned how much the interior would show off the company’s activities. That process led to our retaining a certain rawness inherent to this sector in the building’s interior.

Can you be more specific?

Well, for example – the company has a bobcat in its logo. Alongside scratches on the walls, we wanted to also put paw marks on the ground as a softening balance. But here we ran into the fact that this would be too cutesy for such a “rough” company.

The space does remain playful, though, and I’m pleased that it’s not shallow and that it strongly portrays the company’s area of focus: heavy-duty work in construction, agriculture, and forestry.

That’s why the interior contains gabion walls with rocks, the meeting room contains cut round timber, and elsewhere you’ll find imitation straw, including a scarecrow, and – in some of the restrooms – miniaturized red excavator shovels instead of ordinary washbasins.

A HALL FOR THE WHOLE WORLD

I’ve heard these offices are advanced in terms of their other installations too. What else is concealed inside them?

The headquarters also contain a conference room for about 200 people. Its giant screens make it possible to connect the people in the hall with other people on the other side of the world. That’s important, since Dobříš handles logistics, marketing, and sales for the entire company.

And they can show off a particular machine in action if needed. The whole back wall has a glass facade, and a “playground” for machines can be set up on the grass behind it. So a live demo is no problem. And then there’s one other detail that I like.

The headquarters’ employees spend a lot of time communicating long-distance (especially via videoconferencing), and to reduce the amount of cabling needed, everyone has wireless chargers integrated into their adjustable desks.

What aspects of this finished project have pleased you the most?

Definitely the chance to work with a variety of materials. The fact that the space is functional rather than overdecorated. The pleasant cooperation with the client. And then, of course, the positive reaction from its users, as well as the professional acclaim from the jury at Art of Space!