Written by: David Friday
Photo by: Věroslav Sixt
In April, the Czech headquarters of Scandinavian office furniture producer Kinnarps moved from its location near Karlovo náměstí to a brand new, custom-made building in Průhonice-Čestlice.
THE HEADQUARTERS expresses the ideas and zeal of Tony Shee, managing director of Kinnarps, who also plans to use the building to host special events. Its design combines feng shui philosophy with an homage to Scandinavian history and techniques. At once a headquarters and a showspace, as well as a distribution and event center, the building is on its way to becoming one of the architectural landmarks on the outskirts of Prague.
The bright and open space is meant to give a feeling of being free from barriers and to foster creativity. Natural daylight patterns of light and shadow continually change inside; additionally, the lighting is fully adjustable and flexible.
Along with an unmistakable nautical feeling, a sense of movement is created by the angles and curved roof. Contrast between the transparent and the wooden facade is important in continuing the sense of interest and movement. Just like the Scandinavian style of home construction, the wooden portion – not just cladding – uses a fully wooden structure inside-to-out.
A fire escape you say? Even this usually mundane safety essential has been carefully integrated into the design.
A fountain with feng shui elements and playful hands spouting water welcomes guests at the building’s main entrance. Jutting from the facade above is the presentation room, while a stylish “smokers’ atrium” occupies the corner of the building.
from the outside
You played a larger role than most users do in the design of this building. Can you comment on this and what you wanted to express?
from the inside
Your studio’s participation brought Kinnarps’s ideas to fruition. Can you comment on the building process and final result?