In our series of developer interviews, we spoke with Wolfgang Scholl of BASF Global Real Estate. We were not only interested in his opinion on our joint office project BASF Digital Farming in Cologne. As the person responsible for real estate at a global corporation, we also asked him for an assessment of the future of office buildings.
Mr. Scholl, with brandherm + krumrey you realized the office world for the startup BASF Digital Farming GmbH in Cologne. What is special about the new Business concept?
xarvio and BASF Digital Farming stand for the optimization of crop production in agriculture worldwide. xarvio offers digital products based on a world-leading crop model platform that deliver independent field zone-specific agronomic advice. These enable growers to produce their crops as efficiently, sustainably and based on current field conditions as possible. These solutions are offered as mobile apps, web applications and full service packages to farmers in numerous global markets and are developed at our site in Cologne, among others.
How is this concept reflected in office planning?
Based on BASF’s concept for activity-based-working, brandherm + krumrey translated the main themes of agriculture and digital into design proposals. In the end, the interior design with abstract elements of a rural environment was chosen. Village structures such as a “marketplace” were spatially translated into a variety of spaces for teamwork, meetings or retreat. With appropriate color and material worlds, this concept was then expanded into the highly attractive office landscape we use today. The nested arrangement of the functional areas also reflects the interdisciplinary collaboration of our teams.
What did you particularly appreciate about the collaboration?
First and foremost, the creativity of the brandherm + krumrey team. We wanted to create a wow effect for this office despite limited budgets, and we succeeded. In addition to the big line, brandherm + krumrey developed and controlled all the small design details with furnishings, materials, accessories and lighting that today provide the special ambience as well as the high quality and attractiveness of the space. We really appreciated the flexibility of the team, the fast ways as well as the efficient communication – and also the persistence in the difficult coordination with the owner representatives, who implemented the standard extension. It was also a very pleasant collaboration on a human level.
You work in the Global Real Estate division at BASF. What do you expect in terms of the future development of office properties, especially against the backdrop of the Corona pandemic – for example, with regard to interior design?
Due to the expected increase in remote working, the importance of informal and formal meeting places will certainly increase compared to the individual workplace in the office. We are already well positioned for this on the site in the Cologne Kranhaus with the high proportion and design of the common areas. If offices are to increasingly support internal corporate branding, a sense of safety and security, and various forms of exchange among employees in the future, smart concepts and design will play a central role.