ABB Vaasa

ABB – A historic industrial hall is transformed into a space that supports modern work

ABB is a global technology company that operates in around 20 locations in Finland. ABB is one of Finland’s largest industrial employers. Accelerating the change in society and industry towards a more sustainable and productive future requires staff investments. Workspace acted as ABB’s partner in long-term work to develop the work culture and operating environments.

ABB wanted to implement a big change in how units were located at its Vaasa industrial site. The units were previously located all over the area, and the aim was to bring them all under the same roof in the historic Strömberg Park industrial property. This would allow for smoother collaboration and interaction between different units.

Shared spaces accelerate the transition to an activity-based working model


The move under the same roof meant the implementation of an activity-based working model. Through increased collaboration, the new shared spaces also aimed at achieving synergic benefits relating to the use of space. We wanted to create a functional workplace where people in different areas of business could encounter one another in purpose-designed shared premises. Suitable space was also reserved for innovation, focus work, and recovery.

A new kind of working model involving a transition from individual rooms to an activity-based model was developed together with staff groups. Several collaborative development workshops and discussion events were held during the project to learn more about new working methods and to carry out agile trials together with the staff. Collaborative development ensured that team placement and special functional needs were considered to ensure smooth everyday operations.

Turning a historic industrial hall into a modern workplace


The project saw the immense industrial hall transformed into an activity-based environment that supports modern work. The building’s functionality was improved by dividing the hall into two levels by adding a new floor, and then creating visually different modules within the space. Interior design gave the historic and imposing hall a beautiful and inspiring appearance. The colour palette in the hall’s segments was softened through biophilic design, which involved bringing plants and various natural materials into the space.

Lots of time was invested into this change journey, and it proved worthwhile. Functionalities that support practical work and aesthetics come together at ABB Vaasa’s impressive premises
- Workspace’s workplace designer Minna Söderholm

Workspace was responsible for workplace and interior design, while Parviainen Arkkitehdit acted as the principal designer for the project. Smooth collaboration between the actors ensured that the premises fulfilled ABB’s objectives both functionally and aesthetically.


Photographs: Mika Huisman / Decopic