A bureau is so much more than a highly functional workplace; for us it is a living space.
  • Location
    Erftstraße 17, 50672 Köln
  • Project
    Expansion of own office space
  • Client
  • Architect of record
    Caspar Schmitz-Morkramer
  • Planning and construction period
  • Gross floor area
    1,180 m²
  • Awards
    German Design Award 2021;
    Iconic Awards 2020;
    Architecture MasterPrize 2020
  • Photos

Are we actually living up to our own standards in practice? We asked ourselves this question in summer 2019, when our Cologne office of around 100 people moved into the Kaiser Hof building that we designed. We experience daily how important and rewarding it is to intensely engage with the processes, practices, and especially the people who spend a significant portion of their time here doing meaningful work.

We see us

At caspar. we think and strategize as a team. Our way of working is characterized by creative exchange, mutual inspiration, and both analogue and digital production. Occupying the west wing of the fourth floor, our workspace features a centrally located access core nestled in the inner corner of the building. The workstations are arranged in three sections so that they flank both sides of the facades. The central areas delineate the open-plan layout with enclosed fixtures, while open spaces invite interactions in various formal and informal settings. The division of areas is clear yet welcoming – glass walls with translucent curtains enclose meeting rooms and private areas, while the flooring, light ash parquet, or anthracite carpeting further emphasize zoning. The central, well-equipped “tea kitchen” serves as a popular informal gathering spot for all teams.

Where we work

We wanted to tailor the various work zones in our office to the needs of our employees. Rather than imposing a rigid organization system, our goal was to establish a flexible framework fostering an exceptional working climate combining social interaction, creative growth, and phases of concentration and relaxation in multiple breakout zones and a spacious kitchenette (which is so much more than that!). Our desire to make our work processes transparent is reflected in the distinct workshop character of our office, with spaces for model-making, material exploration, and a creative library. This design emphasizes the process-oriented nature of our work, which involves continual evolution, research, and learning.

Commitment to sustainability

Throughout the entire Kaiser Hof project including the, we consistently utlized low-emission materials, such as untreated steel, ash wood parquet, window frames crafted from warm oak, and floors composed of a rubber-natural stone composite. Colorful accents are provided through a subtle interplay of dark green hues on the walls and furniture, complemented by colorful patterned textiles. We repurposed and refurbished our existing furniture, ensuring it aligns with the overall concept. The multiplex edges of our bespoke black and white furniture remain exposed, showcasing the warmth of the wood. We envision our office as an architectural workshop where many things are possible, manifesting our ethos in the interiors. As with all everything we design and build, human-centered principles define the standard here.

Project team