The heart beats green in paper collection: this is how a city garden was created at the center of an office

Encore Ympäristöpalvelut

Encore Ympäristöpalvelut (former Paperinkeräys) is a company that, among its other operations, collects and recycles paper. When they were driving a change into their corporate culture in their old spaces, the situation was rough. Spaces riddled with folding screens did not enable multifunctional work, but instead caused the employees to drift into their own small teams inside the company. Furthermore, the storage space had run out beyond help, so there were difficulties to find a spot for new papers.

We began to disassemble the problems of teaming up through the means of space planning. The renewed office spaces in Kalasatama were built to be as open as possible to increase the amount of encounters. This openness enabled the seizing of new ways of working, and for example cooperation became a more visible part of the everyday life of the work community.

The core idea of space planning was to bring nature closer to the hectic Kalasatama and to make the office into a spot that would help you to hide from the rest of the world’s fuss, like the forest. We were not able to bring a physical forest to the office, but that led to the idea of a city garden. To the middle of the office, as though to border the working spaces from the break rooms, was built a garden-like centerpiece. This element that was designed and realized specifically for Encore Ympäristöpalvelut functions simultaneously as a park bench, as a planter for plants and as additional storage room. We were able to get a lot more out of the small space with it, as we were able to keep the space open instead of erecting walls or folding screens. A similar, garden-like atmosphere was achieved in the conference rooms by making the lamps look like tree trunks.

One of the major factors in driving the change through was undoubtedly the way in which the work community was able to participate and give feedback throughout the entire project. That is why it was especially gratifying to see how effortlessly the staff took over the new spaces: during a visitation day only a few months after the inauguration of the new office, you were already able to see how the formerly secluded teams were gathering around the city garden and electric tables to work and spend time. The general atmosphere was a lot more relaxed and conversational – just as visioned in the beginning of the project.

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