Workplace wins FRAME Awards! The project for Arup the best in the world!

Workplace wins FRAME Awards! The project for Arup the best in the world!

20.10.2023 / Workplace becomes the first Polish winner of the prestigious FRAME Awards. Experts from around the world have recognised their Arup Warsaw Office design created with the wellbeing of people and the planet in mind.

On 14 October, at a gala in Shenzhen, China, the editors of FRAME magazine announced this year’s winners of FRAME Awards. Workplace designed Arup Warsaw office triumphed in the Small Office category – workspaces of up to 2,000m2.

“Our future depends on the wellbeing of people and the planet. In addition to talking about sustainability, we want the whole market to finally move to action. This project is first and foremost the result of the work of the entire Workplace team ( Małgorzata Romanowicz, Igor Łysiuk, Olga Szadkowska, Michał Pyka, Basia Majerska) the team on the Arup side and all the partners involved. This realisation shows that when you combine trust with courage, everything is achievable,” says Dominika Zielińska, co-CEO and futures designer at Workplace.
FRAME Awards is the only global competition that recognises not only the creativity and functionality of interiors, but also their impact on people and the environment. Entries are judged by a Jury of expert designers from the industry, who highlighted Workplace’s pushing the boundaries in its approach to design.

“This project is an amazing and extensive showcase and demonstration to all of us in the industry, where we need to take our work and how.” Says Lindsay Roth, Design Director at Gensler.

“One of the most important tasks of Workplace in this project was to design the process properly, made to Arup’s measure, goals and in line with our shared values.” Adds Dominika Zielinska “This allowed us to effectively involve both Arup employees and external partners, creating a multidisciplinary group of outstanding professionals. It was important for us to demonstrate the huge, world-class potential we have in our country.”

An office for people and the planet

Arup Warsaw office was designed with the well-being of people and the planet in mind. A co-creative, interdisciplinary process involved users and specialists from different disciplines. It is a pioneering implementation of neuroscience-based design and a testing ground for sustainability and circular design.

“Fresh and lively with genuine efforts towards sustainability without sacrificing functionality and ergonomics.” Says Thomas Danet, Design Director at Jones Lang LaSalle. “Extra kudos for the oh-so-simple yet so efficient light shelves.”

Sustainable future today

How do you create a new working environment that caters to today’s and tomorrow’s needs?

Open minds and innovative solutions were needed.

Workplace and Arup involved dozens of specialists including neuroscientists and plant experts, who together created a new standard in office environment design.

The backstage of the process

It all began with a desire to create a place that demonstrated Arup’s brand values.
Research-oriented Workplace explored the needs of Arup employees through co-created prototypes and future scenarios. It then invited the neuroscience-focused Impronta to collaborate.

Through in-depth research and a selection of scientific theories, guidelines for colours, geometry or lighting were defined and used in the design process. These are crucial in creating a space that is beneficial to the diverse needs of its users.
QLab Laboratory of Light was invited to design natural and artificial lighting.
Eye-healthy lighting was incorporated into the space, enhancing ergonomics.

The new space was designed based on the original thought practice created for the project: wise design. This means that the design aimed to be as economical as possible for the benefit of both the investor and the environment.

In order to achieve this, it was decided to remain in the same building – Gdański Business Centre in Warsaw. Arup also carried out an employee survey which indicated that this location allows employees to commute by public transport and bicycle reducing the carbon footprint and providing employees with convenient access to the office.

Forbis Group was entrusted with the detailed design and general contracting. As a result, this complex project was built in a short period of time.

The reuse of existing structural elements and installations reduced the fit-out budget by 20%. And this is only part of the savings.
Working with Zero Waste Design allowed maximum use to be made of what was already produced. Around 90% of the furniture came from Arup’s previous office or from second-hand – which made it 35% cheaper. Ceilings and carpets are made of natural, recycled or reclaimed materials.

Concession Europe built the joinery, including structures made of plywood and kitchenettes, as well as providing prototypes of their acoustic booths. The collaboration at an early concept stage allowed the designed buildings to be optimised, reducing material consumption.
The main focus of the project was a sustainable approach while ensuring employee comfort. With this objective in mind, NAS-DRA Conscious Design was involved in the placement of greenery to benefit the wellbeing of the users of the space. Plants placed in the regeneration zones purify the air and enhance the calm atmosphere. At the same time, the plant-potting workshop was an opportunity to integrate the employees. In the kitchen area, a micro-leaf farm was installed, allowing Arup to grow its own food.

Materials such as mycelium, hempcrete, flax and seaweed were used in the design. Mycelium and wooden frames were used to create the Foresta acoustic panels developed by Arup in collaboration with Italian company Mogu. Studio Tafla used leftover tiles from the construction process to create a unique mosaic. The paper ceiling was created by Jerzy Łątka. The Polish-Danish startup Mellow Designs, on the other hand, is responsible for the prototype of a circular partition wall. Quality-enhancing solutions were also provided by Gomar Plus, Profim, Flokk, Spectra Lighting, Vank and Vetro Systems, among others.

The realisation has made it possible to create a space that is sensitive to the needs of the world and people. It is the result of a fusion of the competences of those involved, Arup’s leadership and mutual trust. And above all, the courage to transform values into a real place.
We are now sharing the learning from this process.

Another success for Workplace at the FRAME Awards

For Workplace, the win in the Small Office category is not the first accolade from FRAME magazine. In 2020, Workplace was one of three finalists in the Agile Workplace 2.0 Challenge organised jointly by FRAME magazine and Orgatec. The challenge was to present a vision of a workplace that was truly agile – where employees had unprecedented control over how their environment looked, felt and functioned.

See the Jury votes at FRAME website:

Read Arup Case Study:


People and Partners involved in the Arup Office project.

Workplace research & design team:
Dominika Zielińska
Małgorzata Romanowicz
Igor Łysiuk
Olga Szadkowska
Michał Pyka
Barbara Majerska

Arup project team:
Małgorzata Madalińska – PM
Ireneusz Kołodziej – PD
Agnieszka Królikowska – lighting consulting
Marek Skorupa – mechanical consulting

Involved in the project:
Arup – tenant, project management, sustainability consulting, mechanical and electrical consulting
Workplace – research, strategy, bespoke process design, regenerative solutions
Forbis Group – general contractor, detailed design
Zero Waste Design – furniture, carpets, upcycled elements
QLAB Laboratory of light – natural and artificial lighting
Concession Europe – selected joinery, phone booths and acoustic panels
NAS-DRA Conscious Design – greenery, hydroponics and micro leaf farm
Impronta – neuroscience in design
archi-tektura Jerzy Łątka – paper ceiling
Studio Tafla – mosaic made from reclaimed materials
Mellow Designs – prototype circular design partition wall
Savills – Gdanski Business Centre property manager
Vetro Systems – glass partitions
Profim – selected furniture
Vank – acoustic panels made of biomaterial
Gomar Plus – selected lighting
Spectra Lighting – selected lighting