For Arhitekt 11, the inspiration for planning the Äripäev office was the very special factory building built at the beginning of the 20th century. Äripäev is Estonia’s most famous and largest business newspaper, radio and publishing company and needed to transform the space into an open office for 280 employees. The chosen space, Luther’s Machine Room, is a former Luther plywood manufacturing plant, one of the largest industrial buildings in the Baltic States from that time.
A modern, open-plan office for 280 people has been created in this historic space with activity-based working principles. The working landscape is on the outer perimeter of the space, moving to the centre there are open and closed meeting rooms and in the centre is a public space with a library and work-cafe. Existing materials like limestone walls and concrete posts, beams, and ceilings have been preserved and cleaned. In order to exhibit the unique constructions of the building, there is a small atrium between the ground floor and the main floor, from where a whole constructive post can be seen from top to bottom.
Inspired by the birch veneer produced in Luther’s factory in the first half of the 20th century, plywood boards are used as a finishing material for the meeting rooms which are stand-alone objects inside the space. Inner streets form between the objects, where the light from the top and the trees create an outdoorsy feel. The biggest challenge was to achieve the acoustics needed for working. Since there are not enough wall surfaces, all closed ceilings are covered with acoustic wool boards. There are also many acoustic materials used in the furniture – the screens on tables, the backs of cabinets, telephone chairs. Acoustic measuring and feedback from employees of Äripäev are proof that the results are satisfying.