An office designed with engineering precision

The results of R&D conducted in the BWI Group center near Kraków are applied in vehicles produced by such leading brands as BMW, Land Rover, Volvo, Ferrari or Porsche. How the place where engineers develop new technologies in the field of automotive suspensions look like? See how BWI Group and Nowy Styl collaborated on the interior design of the Technical Center in Balice.

Striving for process optimisation

A project to construct the R&D center has been considered for 10 years. A few locations were debated for this purpose, but in the end, in June 2020 BWI Group celebrated the opening of its new facility in Balice near Kraków.

"The new Technical Center not only provided us with the space we needed to grow, but also made it possible for us to integrate all the engineering departments, the prototype workshop and validation testing lab in a single building. These are major changes, which mean we can be much more effective in developing new technologies. We can also readily and promptly answer our customers’ needs” – says Krzysztof Kucharczak, Director of the Center.

Sustainable building

Ever since the construction of the new Technical Center started, BWI Group has focused on the environmental aspect, assuming – in line with the current sustainability policy – that it’s vital to minimise the impact of its presence in Balice. The company was successful in this respect, which is proved by the awards: Prime Property Prize and EkoHero – both are granted to commercial properties constructed in line with sustainability principles.

"The new R&D center was supposed to meet all the expectations as formulated by the Customers and be a comfortable workspace for our staff. We also wanted the facility to be environment-friendly. To this end, we reached for such solutions as the trigeneration system, which means the facility is self-sufficient in terms of energy, or our own well, which ensures reasonable management of water resources. Additionally, we implemented Dali systems with automatic adjustment of light intensity and BMS system for managing the building” – explains Jerzy Chuchro, Relocation Manager at BWI.

 

Responsible approach to interior design

The innovative approach is reflected in the interior design of the center. On top of environment-friendly solutions, the company also implemented numerous facilities for its employees. As a result of in-depth analyses of the working style and links between individual departments, a plan of functional office space was developed and a relevant number of meeting or chill-out zones were designed.

"BWI is aware of its own needs as a Customer and open to new concepts of office space design. The team assigned to manage this investment approached the relocation in the same way they address their everyday tasks. In-depth analyses were conducted before any decisions or actions were taken, and all the innovations resulted from the wish to facilitate the everyday office practice. This is how we managed to cooperate and create a functional space that answers the needs of a complex organisation that BWI Group is” – says Dariusz Penc, the manager at Nowy Styl assigned to this project.

Human-centered design

In the office spaces you can notice clear references to the current trends in design. You can’t miss the biophilic design in the spacious foyers full of natural light and plants. As you move deeper into the office, you will observe the human-centered design, where priority is given to human needs. In the office you will find spaces designed for individual work, numerous comfortable meeting rooms and  zones intended for regeneration and chill-out, such as kitchens, gym and library.

Functionality and ergonomics

The workspace for 450 employees is a deliberate, optimum design. Zones assigned to individual teams were separated with places intended for quick standing meetings or longer consultations, when the participants want to sit down. Bar stools and tables with adjustable height used for this solution not only support communication within the organisation but also boost effectiveness by reducing the time needed to find the place for a meeting and move there. Soft pouffes placed all around the open space have a similar role. In order to provide proper level of sound absorption and ensure the required privacy of telephone conversations, phone booths were set up near the workstations.

Functionality was one thing we focused on. Ergonomics was the other. The employees are now using comfortable desks and chairs which can be easily adjusted to individual needs.

Meeting space

The project team underlined the importance and significance of social spaces and meeting points. Creating social bonds, finding and providing inspiration is an important element of the organisational culture at BWI Group. Cosy, comfortable interiors facilitate integration and team building.

This is why considerable attention was given to meeting spaces: both formal, such as conference rooms, and informal, such as kitchens and canteens.

"As a result of close cooperation on the project of the office interior, as many as 4 kitchens were created, each of them with a unique leading motif drawn from the local tradition and culture. The employees can have lunch in a kitchen inspired by a traditional inn or one resembling a local food store in Kraków. Such places help people relax for a while, find their distance and integrate with other members of the team. A short break is good for building relationships between employees and it certainly improves the atmosphere in the office.” – says Agnieszka Ząbroń, the architect at Nowy Styl, responsible for the interior design.

You will find more regional references in the conference rooms. The names and graphics on the walls draw on the historical places in the vicinity, which is supposed to promote Polish culture among foreign visitors.

As a result of close cooperation between BWI and Nowy Styl, a deliberate office design was created, which reflects the spirit of a modern, dynamically growing organisation and highlights the role of the local tradition.