Mediabrands | Office like a city (Warsaw) 2.0
14.11.2022 / The project for the media house involved a refreshed concept for the city in the office. It turned out that the previous idea appealed to both employees and stood out in the industry. Read the case study and see what we designed this time.
Mediabrands Poland is part of the international Interpublic group. The group manages marketing investments in media worth about $40 billion. Mediabrands Polska includes the UM and Initiative agency network, as well as brands such as Reprise Media, U2, BPN, Mediabrands Social and Mediabrands Studios. The company combines the competencies of a media house, interactive agency and performance agency.
The story of the city all over again
Six years ago, in exactly the same location on Wołoska Street in Warsaw, we designed an office for another media house – Mediacom. Our design received acclaim from the media industry.
We wanted to distinguish the local branch of this global company. We were looking for a way to make design associate positively, to give energy. We chose the most unique, well-known and vibrant places from the capital. We then wove them into the office design. The office was also very functional. We were ahead of our time. Even then, we allocated 50% of the space for activities other than individual work at a desk.
Our study of the nature of work showed that 50% of the activity during work time was human interaction. The average age of employees was under 30. Work and play were intertwined. We wanted to create a design that matched the work style. We intended a unique design for the common spaces. We used a subdued and unified aesthetic in the teams’ workspaces. Here a case study of a previous implementation [https://workplace.pl/pl/story/miasto-w-biurze-mediacom/].
After 5 years, the owner of Mediacom gave up the office at 24 Woloska St. We heard that Mediabrands, in turn, was looking for an office for itself, so we offered them this location. They agreed and suggested that we design the space. Monika Bronowska (CEO of Mediabrands) stressed that the new office should be attractive to young employees. So we designed the Warsaw office for the second time! Today, completely different places are fashionable (PKP Powiśle, Warszawa Główna, Nocny Market), so the design has undergone quite a few changes.
New old project
Mediabrands has entrusted us with the design of a new headquarters for 300 employees in 2020. The office chosen by the company at 24 Woloska Street in Warsaw has 2600 sqm. It occupies two floors, on the 9th and 10th floors, which are connected by an internal staircase.
The prerequisite was to use as many fixed elements from the previous fitout as possible. -We entrusted Workplace with the implementation of our office decor for two reasons. The first was the board’s positive experience from previous implementations. The second was a very good knowledge of the space on Woloska Street. This made it easier for the Workplace team to use the potential of the project to reflect our expectations and needs in the design. – notes Agnieszka Wisniewska, Office Manager at Mediabrands.
The project involved two Mediabrands team members and three Workplace architects. We started conceptual work in late 2020. Due to pandemonium and negotiations with the tenant, the Mediabrands team could not move into the new premises until spring 2022. – The project was non-standard and, in addition, implemented under time pressure. We had to implement the stages, which should have proceeded in sequence, simultaneously. Good communication between us and Workplace helped. It required flexibility on both sides and careful listening to each other’s needs. – comments Agnieszka Wisniewska.
Office a city close to the heart
Mediabrands’ new office was created mainly with the youngest generation of employees in mind – Generation Z (under 25). It presents Warsaw as a city familiar and close to the heart. The design of the individual zones in the office refers to the neighborhoods where the favorite places of young Varsovians are located.
–Using the theme of the city we live in every day, we emphasized Mediabrands’ local identity. We wanted to take advantage of the good associations with different places in the city and thus encourage employees to work in the office in post-pandemic times. – explains Tomasz Wontor, Senior Architect at Workplace.
Flexible office supports modern work
We have adapted each of the “neighborhoods” to a hybrid work model. There are areas for meeting in smaller and larger groups, as well as areas for focused work. We also designed a networking zone where employees can meet, have a meal and talk freely. The spirit of “young” Warsaw is emphasized by characteristic elements of the scenography, such as the Mermaid neon sign.
The National Library in the Mokotow zone is a place for those seeking quiet. Cozy, soundproofed workstations are surrounded by natural wood and plants.
The networking area is the largest open space in the office. It houses a dining room that draws on the decor of the Night Market, a marketplace on a disused platform near the Warsaw Main train station. Just next door is a game room in the same style. The space is easy to rearrange. From a cafeteria it can become a conference room. It will also work well as a venue for a team-building event.
50% cheaper office thanks to zero waste
One of the goals of the project was to maximize the use of existing materials and built-ins. – When designing the new Warsaw quarters, we tried to use to the maximum the elements that were already functioning in the office. We completely preserved the layout of the partition and glass walls, most of the suspended ceilings and decorative fixtures. – says Michal Pyka, architect at Workplace.
We used a lot of second-hand furniture to refresh the arrangement. Our gems are the original armchairs from the Muranów cinema, which stand in the rooms on the 10th floor. A well-known bus stop, which was part of the furnishings of the previous office, got a new life. We also reused a table in the shape of the Swietokrzyski Bridge. Thanks to these procedures, the cost of implementation was half that of a new office of a similar class.
A space that boosts team spirit
Mediabrands’ new headquarters is a modern place to work, especially hybrid work. It provides Mediabrands employees with a higher standard and positive excitement. – Our new headquarters is visually appealing and fulfills other important purposes. It promotes cooperation between teams and the building of interpersonal ties. The functional division into quiet, work and interaction zones supports the spirit of attentiveness to the needs of other colleagues. – concludes Agnieszka Wisniewska of Mediabrands.
Management: Dominika Zielińska, Bogusz Parzyszek
Project team: Tomasz Wontor, Aleksandra Piotrkowicz, Michał Pyka
Project support: Urszula Dziedzic, Maciej Kolak
Space branding and wayfinding: Damian Bieniek / SpaceID
Client-side project team: Agnieszka Wiśniewska, Mikołaj Zglenicki, Grzegorz Gaj
Visualizations: Paweł Deroń
Photos: Adam Grzesik
Text: Marta Smyrska and Grażyna Zawada
Size: 2600 sqm
Location: 24 Woloska St., Warsaw
Duration: 18 months