The sculptural new lobby in the ‘Lahmeyer-Haus’ building has impressed real-estate company Phoenix, and inspired them to move their Frankfurt office within the same premises. Designed once again by Ippolito Fleitz, the lively office incorporates large display cases filled with vegetation, an image closely tied to the company’s history. Large format images adorn the office walls, each bearing symbolic significance.
From Ippolito Fleitz:
Project developer Phoenix was greatly impressed by the concept, location and success of SOLOWEST, so chose to move its Frankfurt office into the building. The interior design of its office was to be closely tied to the company’s history and self-image.
The office is presented as a high-quality, open space. Clear office architecture on a white background offer a tantalizing contrast to the warm wooden panelling of the building’s access core. This effect is heightened by three display cases, opulently filled with tropical, jungle-like vegetation. In addition to making a surprising and decorative impression, they also make humorous reference to the processes in the industry itself, as well as to the project developer’s and its customers’ hopes and desires inherent in the projects under development.
Neon lettering fronts each perfectly arranged artificial flower backdrop, with a line from a Beatles song to suit each room: “Eight days a week” in the director’s office, “We can work it out” in the conference rooms and “Here comes the sun” in front of the secretary’s office. The Beatles theme comes from an anecdote from the founding days of the company when, as a joke, the four managing directors worked out which of the four band members they each most resembled. A further tongue-in-cheek reference can be found in the WCs, where a phoenix ascends from a stylised cage into a cone of light projected on the rear wall.
The rooms that lead from the reception area are not hermetically sealed, but remain visible thanks to the display cases and floor-to-ceiling glass façades. A further layer is created in front of the glass walls by cupboards fronted in acoustically absorbent, micro-perforated artificial leather.
A series of large-format photos was compiled to decorate the office walls. The highly associative images refer to the self-image of the company (a small bird that tackles tough challenges like a cactus), its origins (the broom as a synonym for Stuttgart’s famous ‘sweeping week’) and its business (Chuck Norris, the polar bear). Most of the photos are not permanently installed and can be freely recombined to make new backdrops in the individual rooms.
The overall result is a spatial ambience in dialogue between the rationality of a clear, precise and transparent architecture and the emotionality of warm materials and surprising, humorous elements such as the display cases and images. The office is transformed into an open narrative, an invitation to discuss topics, desires and the working practices of the project developer. It thus becomes a mirror of the personality of the company and its stakeholders, and its narrative can be reinterpreted and reinvented time and time again by each of its four managing directors.
Project: Phoenix Real Estate Frankfurt
Client: PHOENIX Real Estate Development GmbH
Location: Guiollettstr. 48, Frankfurt/Main
Size: 245 m²
Team: Peter Ippolito, Gunter Fleitz, Marina Schlachter, Verena Schiffl, Yuliya Lytyuk, Alexander Fehre, Christian Kirschenmann, Daniela Schröder, Katja Heinemann, Markus Schmidt, Tim Lessmann, You Seok Na
Photography: Zooey Braun, Dirk Matull
*All images and information courtesy of Ippolito Fleitz Group.