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Interview

Oliver Struch - Managing Director / Managing Partner
Kathrin Labza - Managing Director / Interior Designer


What enticed you to offer coworking offices in Cologne city centre?

Oliver Struch: We originally planned a boarding house in the historic townhouse on Hansaring. However, the structural refurbishment would have been extremely difficult and after much discussion with the planning office, we finally opted for a different project. The idea of a coworking space actually only arose from the need to find an alternative concept, but we are delighted with our decision today.

What makes Wertheim so special compared to other co-working spaces?

Oliver Struch: We not only let offices and conference rooms, but also offer apartments and childcare services in the same building. The diversity of this mixed concept and our central location in the heart of the city is what sets us apart. We offer tenants a wide spectrum of facilities to simplify their day-to-day life. We also happily accept external users, whether they are looking for a temporary workspace, a meeting room, permanent childcare or an apartment. The main concept is that of an open house, where anyone is welcome – and everyone feels at home. We also ran a gallery during renovation work on the building and will continue this activity, which adds another special highlight. The spacious room on the lower ground level is equipped with the flexible Hack table system, which can be easily assembled and dismantled as required and even used as a sofa. The space can, therefore, be rapidly converted into an exhibition or event setting.

What needs did you take into account when designing the office space?

Oliver Struch: We aimed to keep everything as flexible as possible and definitely wanted to avoid limiting the space to fixed defined functions. Our co-working concept has many different facets and targets open and creative tenants, who value a sense of community. The layout and interiors are designed to be extremely versatile and offer a great many options, from individual workspaces to team and conference rooms as well as social areas.

Kathrin Labza: Our co-working offices are suitable for use as individual workstations and also as conference settings. Seminars can even be held in both apartments on the 4th and 5th floor. Networking events and a cultural programme are also organised for tenants, including readings, wine tastings and yoga. It is important to us that is everyone is part of the community.

How are the co-working spaces actually used?

Kathrin Labza: We offer a total of 40 workspaces for teams and individuals. Single workstations can be booked for a day or longer periods. Fixed spaces for teams are available on a monthly basis, for example on the bel étage, and additional conference rooms can also be reserved as required. This enables extremely flexible use of all our co-working spaces, team and conference rooms and community areas. Our tenants have free access to the building, and can of course make use of the lounge area and technical equipment such as the photocopier and scanner. They also obtain a postal address – and can use free wifi throughout the building.

What type of community areas does Wertheim offer?

Kathrin Labza: Our reception area on the ground floor is designed as a lounge and also serves as a meeting place with an outside terrace surrounded by vegetation. Co-workers use the lounge as a social and communal area, which is equipped with a kitchenette. Here they can get together with other co-workers and also hold meetings with clients. Outside of office hours, it is also available for bookings as an event space.

“Wertheim is ultimately also a reflection of our unique personality, and Vitra gave us a free rein in achieving this.“
Kathrin Labza

What made you choose Vitra for the implementation of the project?

Oliver Struch: We have a high regard for Vitra design and Vitra proved to be the ideal one-stop partner when implementing the interior of our unusual mixed concept – something that cannot be taken for granted. Not only are the office and lounge furniture and numerous accessories from Vitra, but also the terrace and garden furniture for the outdoor areas. The apartments, on the other hand, are equipped with furnishings and lamps from Artek. Vitra was the perfect partner for Wertheim from start to finish.

Kathrin Labza: Collaboration with Vitra was extremely straightforward. We were lucky to find partners that understood our diverse concept and were open to our ideas, for which I am extremely grateful. Wertheim is ultimately also a reflection of our unique personality, and Vitra gave us a free rein in achieving this. We value both old and contemporary designs and purchased many accessories for the house from antique markets and added personally selected sculptures and artwork. This contrast between old and new, which mirrors the architecture, is also reflected in the interior furnishings. The result is an exciting blend with its own unique character.