CHALLENGES BERLIN

In Berlin, the research team explored a very wide range of spaces with different characteristics and then choose among them the ten most representative ones. Lighting the Global Workspace surveyed a distinctly international and upcoming demographic that is keen on co-working coffee shops, former industrial sites and architectural heritage. The research reveals – among other things – that there are as many opportunities in adaptive reuse as there are challenges. Workspaces in Berlin can be both inspiring and unique, whether it is about crowd-sourcing start-ups or the rise of urban manufacturing.

Showcase
An architectural and interior design firm, located in the heart of Berlin's Mitte District, occupies the ground floor of a refurbished 1960s modernist mixed-use building. Large, floor-to-ceiling shop windows and a barren, raw space define this workplace. The overabundance of light that results is a useful contrast to the long, grey winters, but tends to oversaturate the workspace throughout the summer and spring months. The informal lighting, defined by a surplus of natural lighting and indirect lighting, and open interior configuration, encourages a relaxed daily working environment. The meeting room is a strong contrast, expressing a more formal function for interfacing with clients. This space is defined by direct spotlighting and calculated furniture selections. The office's rehabilitation of a ground floor shop showcases the firm's playful work and culture.

Work Nomad's Home
A transformative business concept resulted in this ever-evolving working environment. After noticing that its customers worked out of this bright, double-ceiling café, the owners expanded both the space and company model-opening a shared workspace in the adjoining apartment units above. The adaptive reuse of the typical, old world apartments didn't come without its challenges. To compensate for the lack of adequate lighting and small, complicated layout, each room is occupied by a single, large table with ample, moveable spot lights. The large, shared worktables promote the informal knowledge exchange that defines freelance and startup work culture, while the individualize and customizable lighting solution creates intimacy and concentration. Be it the bustling café on the corning of a busy, Mitte cross-section, or the notion of working out of a living space, every aspect of this workspace encourages networking, communication and an integrated approach to work-life balance.

Privileged Design
Located in the core of the historic West, the offices for this communications agency inhabits a prime example of the massive, cubic, modernist office buildings that sprung up after the Second War. Reimaging the typical workspace, the agency provides multiple workplace formats and lighting solutions to cater to the varying needs. The large premise is parceled into a rail of boxy workspaces, portioned by glass and warm wood. As the front façade is largely glass and south facing, there is a huge difference in daylighting on either side of the office. Substantial overhead lighting compensates for the resulting darkness and shadows that result.  Frequent worker complaints of tiredness can be partially linked to this abundance of neon light. This strictly designed and unanimously lit space exemplifies traditional western corporate environments.

Recycling Plant
The conversion of this old waste station, located on the Spree River, into an architectural studio for a staff of thirty, provides a unique workspace and lighting solution. All work in an open plan, double height nave that is flooded by daylight from all direction. The grand, multi-functional hall comes at the consequence of inadequate heat and sound control. The singular functioning rooms, such as the meeting rooms, bathrooms and print shop surround the main working hall from above and below. The interplay of overhead industrial lamps, flood lamps and more personal, desktop lamps reflect the building's diverse history of use. The stark, well lit workspaces contrast greatly with the building's riverfront location and possession of a boat, manifest in an unusual, cutting edge work environment.

The Glass Mountain
This truly unique office setting is a perfect match for the young, innovative business proposition that this Mitte-based crowdfunding website. Upon arriving at the Wihelminian building and it’s ground floor entranceway, visitors expect to find a more traditional environment. A direct elevator takes one to, what is often referred to as, the ‘glass mountain’. Here, this start- up lets the attic space of a historic building. Part of the workspace is completely cocooned in glass. While such can be perceived as uplifting, it can also result in harsh light and heating conditions, depending on the season and time of day. A bar area, waiting room, bathrooms, meeting room and boss' office inhabit the non-glass covered areas, leaving the bright, open space for the staff.

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