This ground-breaking brand and design concept leverages an architectural “kit of parts” to create community-minded co-working hubs around Switzerland.
Our property investor client was looking for a brand and design concept with a distinctly modern Swiss identity to transform vacant retail buildings around the country into dynamic co-working environments. While popular in urban centers around the world, co-working spaces are new to Switzerland. We guided the FlexOffice concept into a flexible, community-minded workplace that could be efficiently yet stylishly rolled out from one city to the next. A subscription allows members to use any site; welcomed simultaneously by a familiar yet local experience.
With the FlexOffice brand, we sought to advance the concept by combining ideas from different architectural typologies—hospitality, education, retail, residential—into a uniquely Swiss concept. A multifunctional program provides a diverse range of formal and informal, empty and fitted-out spaces for working, meeting, eating, entertaining, workshops, and events. At each property, the café is located on the first floor to provide liveliness at street level. The FlexOffice kit of parts defines these different spatial units, as well as their fit-out and furniture elements.
It’s a clean and simple concept that, when combined, provides a hyper-flexible yet consistent quality experience. There are 16 units in total, named FlexAtelier, FlexCafé, FlexGym, FlexTheatre, FlexSupport, and so on. Armed with the design guide, our client is able to quickly assemble a concept for each base property by utilizing a system of spatial “cards”. The system provides adaptable physical layouts, materials and finishes, pre-designed furniture, and fittings. For a small and simple fit-out, they can manage the process internally. For large or complex projects, they commission us to manage design and construction.
The flagship FlexOffice project in Basel is the interior fit-out of a five-story former fashion store. The building’s vintage led us to add references to the industrial age with raw, exposed concrete and structure, contrasted with high-end touchpoints and furniture. We gutted the existing structure, removed escalators, and added terraced “theater” stairs where workers can casually meet and chat. The first floor is activated with a fully transparent FlexCafé and FlexClub, a community space that attracts people in through the front door.
FlexOffice Basel was the first site launched and was fully tenanted within just three months. Our design concept and brand style for Basel established a resonant, uniquely Swiss brand look and feel—both high-end and familiar—and is now being rolled out to other sites around the country.