Gullstén-Inkinen Design & Architecture received the commission to design the interior of Alma’s new headquarters in the end of 2010. The new building will house altogether 450 employees. Alma Media Corporation is a media group that publishes over 30 newspapers and operates in ten different countries. It’s listed in the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
An invitation only competition was held on the architectural design and it was won by JKMM Architects. GI’s CEO Jari Inkinen was asked to evaluate the competition proposals, the layouts and exterior looks and their suitability for Alma. The objective was to centralize operations, improve cooperation and communication between business units, develop new ways of working, create a unified work culture and enhance space efficiency.
The development of the new work culture started with information gathering phase, an investigation and study of the existing work methods. The information and results were analyzed and the best suitable space solution was developed. The solution was a multi-use work environment where employees can freely choose the most suitable area or space to work in.
An essential point in GI’s design philosophy is that all design solutions follow the sustainable development principles. In the early stages of the project a goal was set that the building was to achieve a Gold LEED certificate. Special attention was given to the acoustical design and finding ergonomic lighting solutions. To meet the objective to improve cooperation and communication the spaces were designed to be as open as possible. To avoid any acoustical challenges in the open office a series of quiet rooms and furniture were placed near the work areas. The furniture manufacturing market didn´t have suitable solutions for the quiet areas and furniture and so GI designed the Into the Nordic Silence furniture collection.
In the main entrance lobby the focus is in the oval shaped reception desk. The attention is quickly drawn to the large green wall. The waiting areas all have themes from Alma’s different media branches. Behind the lobby is a large conference center. Its rooms and spaces vary in size and character. In addition to traditional meeting room furniture you will find lounge chairs and small tables suitable for working with a laptop.
The round form language from the lobby continues as a wooden oval shaped platform in the middle of the restaurant also located in the 1st floor. The platform upholstery is felt and it works as an acoustical element.
The basic layout solutions on the office floors are the same. When exiting the lifts you arrive to the break and informal meeting area. The break areas are different in every floor so you will instantly know on which floor you’ve arrived. The color themes come from the newspapers visual identities. Also the furniture in the break areas is different. The heart of the 3rd and 4th floors is the Desk which is cropped with a letter themed textile carpet.
Coaland ice is the theme in the board and management team conference rooms on the 5th floor. Between the conference rooms there is a brainstorming space with a fireplace, “a Camp fire”. GI was also responsible for the procurement of interior design and delivery supervision. In all furniture solutions Finnish manufactures were preferred. The project was delivered on time and on budget.