W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH

Putzbrunn, Germany

Interior architecture
Eduardo Perez

At the German headquarters near Munich, the question of how to optimise working environments was explored. Dynamic, communicative collaboration is central at Gore and the associates culture provides a good foundation for adopting new modes of office work. Back in 2019 Vitra was commissioned to team up with users to develop a future workplace in an open empty space, in order to enhance this special networking culture and its work structures and processes and implement them in new more flexible spatial concepts. This process was then adapted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the American parent company launched the 'Bridge' project worldwide in 2020. Pilot projects at five locations around the world were to provide insights into what a working environment suited to Gore’s needs might look like.

Making use of an existing space, the Putzbrunn site is also part of 'Bridge'. In a joint, interactive process, Vitra's Consulting & Planning Studio (CPS) collaborated with the project team and users to determine what would be needed in a hybrid working environment at Gore. How can the office environment promote creative teamwork and spontaneous encounters?
'We have to be innovative – not only in our products, but also in the way we work together'
Volker Gronauer, Managing Director of W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH
The 'Club Office' concept, which Vitra was developing at the time for its own workspace project, served as inspiration for a hybrid office scheme. And in order to move quickly with the planning despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the entire co-creation process was developed and set up digitally.

Gore's new office environment was planned and implemented in just under eight months. The focus was on increasing the attractiveness of the various spaces and their possible uses. Associates should enjoy coming back to the office where personal interaction can occur again, teams can naturally mix and mingle, and very importantly: new associates can quickly immerse themselves in the company culture. Furthermore, the spaces had to be flexibly designed and furnished to accommodate changing needs.

Analogous to the Club Office at Vitra's headquarters, the 'Bridge' pilot workspace contains public, semi-public and private zones that are accessible to all associates. In two so-called welcome areas, people can meet for conversations and informal meetings – this is the public section, a place of interaction. In the semi-public collaborative spaces, such as the 'Dancing Office' and workshop areas, only multifunctional, easy-to-move furniture was used to create maximum flexibility for workshops and ad-hoc projects.
And in the private section, the previous small offices have now been redesigned and converted into highly versatile spaces – ideal for digital meetings, private discussions in small groups or concentrated work tasks.
Product overview