When the world’s leading manufacturer of compact excavators and loaders, Doosan Bobcat, needed a new EMEA headquarters in Dobříš near Prague, they put a great deal of effort into creating a creative, healthy and sustainable environment. They succeeded in the challenge of combining functionality with an aesthetic design that reflects the brand and core values of the company.
You see it as soon as you walk into the reception area at the headquarters of Doosan Bobcat EMEA: Vertical acoustic baffles hanging from the ceiling, integrated with similar looking light fittings, large windows and glass sections providing natural light. You instantly understand why this office won The Art of Space award in the “Healthy and sustainable environment” category.
Doosan Bobcat has expanded in recent years in the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). Its headquarters in the Czech town of Dobříš, where everything from design and production to marketing, sales and logistics take place, had become overcrowded. A completely new office building was needed.
The new EMEA headquarters, which opened in October 2019, provide a complete company campus, consisting of a production facility, innovation centre and training centre. The headquarters house administration, company management and meeting rooms for clients. There are three floors, with a mixture of open spaces, offices and meeting rooms that allow 200 people to work together comfortably. The design was based on the idea of creating offices with a strong imprint of the company’s DNA.
“We wanted to create an environment that will be comfortable for people yet exude the essence of Bobcat’s branch of industry. It is thus a ‘raw’ environment of construction machinery, where we encounter stone, concrete, wood, roads and so on,” says the project’s architect Matěj Kosík from the architects’ agency Červený Klobouk Ateliér.
To reflect the company’s DNA, Matěj Kosík used a variety of designs. The interiors of the meeting rooms echo the sectors that the machines are used in. These span as wide a range of business as forestry, road construction, agriculture, civil engineering and gardening, to mention a few.
“We also wanted to integrate parts of the machines into the interior, which led us to use an excavator bucket as a template for the washbasin and tracks as seats in the reception area,” Matěj Kosík explains.
Jan Stedronsky, Capital Expenditures Commodity Leader of Doosan Bobcat EMEA, highlights functionality, a pleasant working environment and attractive offices as their key requirements for the design.
“In general, you can split the building into two kinds of spaces. One for external meetings – this must respect the brand of our company. The other is internal space, where our requirements were to create a more comfortable and informal feeling,” Jan Stedronsky explains.
To achieve a good acoustic environment, Matěj Kosík underlines the importance of getting a clear brief from the client.
“Most important of all is to get a good idea of the client’s approach; what exactly is the acoustic environment meant to achieve? Then we just have to strike a balance between the design and the functionality of the space.”
Matěj Kosík does not believe that functionality, such as good acoustics, and good design are in opposition, although there are always conflicting objectives when creating a great office.
“It is more of an invitation to pick your own solution. You can always find a sensible compromise and there are many custom acoustic elements on the market today. The biggest challenge here was figuring out the acoustics in the relaxation area, which has a glass ceiling. We used hanging, acoustic baffles to create simplified ‘clouds’ in the sky.”
Good acoustics mean better comfort and conditions for employees, as well as for our visitors.
The winning of the prestigious Art of Space award in the “Healthy and sustainable environment” category demonstrates that everyone engaged in the project has done an excellent job and that its employees are a high priority for Doosan Bobcat. Matěj Kosík believes that this success can be explained by the interplay of a number of aspects.
“Ergonomics definitely play a major role. Bobcat has provided its employees with height-adjustable desks and high-quality office chairs. Then there are the acoustics – even though we were building an open space, we decided to divide it into smaller areas and used greenery and various other acoustic measures to effectively reduce noise. Air quality is also a key factor. The building does not feature opening windows but is fitted with high-quality ventilation equipment to provide a flow of humidified air. Finally, there is the lighting, which is optimal across the entire space and meets the requirements of all applicable standards.”
For Doosan Bobcat as an employer and facility owner, good office design is critical for good business.
“It creates a healthy atmosphere and conditions that have a positive influence on people and their work. Good acoustics mean better comfort and conditions for employees, as well as for our visitors. This definitely helps to improve efficiency and creativity throughout the organisation,” concludes Jan Stedronsky.
Text: Lars Wirtén