ERCO Project Review

Flexible Working in Sweden

ERCO
23. September 2019
Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis © ERCO GmbH

Scandinavia is seen as a pioneer for good work culture. Flat hierarchies, a strong team philosophy, and family life considerations are taken for granted, and statistics repeatedly ascribe workers from the Nordic countries higher productivity with less stress. With "work away from work," Fabege, one of Sweden's largest property companies, has developed an office concept that goes beyond current office and work models. Work is spatially detached from the company office: a new idea that reveals benefits for the individual and for social coexistence. Three office locations, spread across Stockholm, were created, each equipped with ERCO Jilly downlights for track.

Project: Fabege
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Client: Fabege AB
Lighting Design: ABREU Design Studio AB
Interior Design: ABREU Design Studio AB, EgnellAllard Inredningsarkitektur AB, Söder Design AB
Electrical Engineering: Stockholms Eltjänst Lundén AB, Elbolaget LMJ AB, Lundek Elkonsult, Elarkitektur AB
ERCO Products: Gimbal, Jilly for track, Jilly pendant, Parscan zoom spotlights, Quintessence Pinhole
Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis © ERCO GmbH
The principle of "work away from work"

Anyone who has ever driven through Stockholm during rush hour knows that its center, as in almost any big city, resembles the eye of a needle. Travelling to the office or to a business appointment becomes pure stop-and-go stress. Fabege counters this phenomenon with its concept of "work away from work," WAW for short. The office comes to the employee. At three locations in Stockholm, Fabege offers its employees and tenants of its properties a free co-working office infrastructure.  

All sites have good public transport connections and are a maximum of five kilometers from the city center. As a consequence, the car is replaced by the train or the bicycle — a relief for the individual, the traffic, and the environment. "We aimed to develop a concept that does justice to people as employees and in their roles as mums and dads," explains Klaus Hansen Vikström, Executive Vice President of Fabege. Each user selects the location closer to his or her home or children’s school. With the Fabege app they can easily book their WAW location and reserve meeting rooms. The interior architecture and design resemble cozy cafes combined with modern work areas. The interior, colors and flexibly adjustable light with high visual comfort create pleasant and inspiring surroundings. 

Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis © ERCO GmbH
Modern office lighting instead of a carpet of light

"A good place to work should entice and inspire the creative side of people," attests Joaquim de Abreu, lighting designer for the WAW locations. Being a native Swede he has always had a special relationship to light for him: "I grew up with the northern light and I've seen the unique ways light can emphasize details. Daylight forms the basis of every lighting concept. Then I add artificial light where needed."  

The lighting concept in the WAW locations moves away from traditional design approaches in offices. "I wanted to avoid carpets of light at all costs," explains de Abreu, meaning areas with identical quantities of light. "We created a dramatic lighting setting with strong accentuation. We subdivided the rooms into different zones and use light only as strongly as needed,” he continues. “The light adapts to the intended environment." This approach called for a flexible track infrastructure and luminaires with high visual comfort and intuitive control. In addition to ERCO spotlights and pendant luminaires, de Abreu also specified Jilly as the downlight for track. All luminaires can be controlled wirelessly via Casambi Bluetooth and an app on smartphone or tablet. "It's the simplest way to program light scenes,” says the lighting designer. “The application is intuitive, and that makes the installation much more flexible than a normal control system." 

Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis © ERCO GmbH
One corporate lighting concept for three locations

Each WAW site has its own character. WAW Arenastaden in the north of Stockholm is a loft-like office on two levels. It offers space for concentrated work and even cozy discussions around a fireplace. WAW Innerstad, located in the city center approximately 450 meters from the main railway station, has a lounge ambience that is the ideal backdrop for a get-together, business meetings, or creative brainstorming with colleagues. WAW Hammarby Sjöstadt, located in the south of Stockholm, is housed in a historic building with light in its DNA: The former Luma factory manufactured incandescent lamps from the 1930s to the 1970s. People now work there below ERCO lights with state of the art LED technology. This largest location offers space for single or group work as well as open lounge areas.

The "downlights for track" concept won over both the lighting designer and the client. Thanks to Jilly from ERCO, flexible, standard-compliant, and efficient office workplace lighting was created. Installed above long conference tables and individual workstations, the downlights score points for high visual comfort. "I was on the lookout for a good, attractive task light that offers ideal glare protection," says de Abreu. "Jilly brings together all the qualities that I think are important. The design is magical and the performance outstanding." The complete room concept remains flexible: If the layout of the furniture changes, the luminaires can be repositioned to another position in the track without tools.

Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis © ERCO GmbH

From functional workplace illumination to accent lighting – the quality of light remains at the same high level. At the WAW Innerstad location, innovative Parscan zoom spotlights crisply distinguish small seating areas from their surroundings. The light distribution can be adjusted smoothly from spot (15°) to wide flood (65°) in an instant. "I waited a long time for a product like this," explains de Abreu, "where I can create exactly the atmosphere I want." With Jilly pendant luminaires from ERCO and a window in the ceiling, he celebrates the highly effective combination of daylight and artificial light in the transparently glazed conference room.  

Quintessence Pinhole spotlights set eye-catching accents in small telephone booths at the WAW Innerstad site. "They've got a great design and generate a narrow light beam. From the outside you can hardly see the small light aperture. There's something magical about that," says de Abreu. The old columns are vertically illuminated with Gimbal spotlights: The grazing light effectively accentuates the wood grain on the concrete surface. The ERCO LED lighting tools, all in black housings, are not only light sources but also design elements that blend seamlessly into the architecture.  

Among other factors, the innate quality of the luminaires and the light was decisive for the cooperation with ERCO. "In my opinion," de Abreu states, "ERCO currently has the best products on the market." It was also the quality that impressed Febege’s Klaus Hansen Vikström: "Joaquim showed me the room situation in direct comparison: with luminaires from ERCO and from other manufacturers. The differences were striking — the atmosphere was completely different. It convinced me immediately." 

Photo: Gavriil Papadiotis © ERCO GmbH

Related articles

Featured Project

UNStudio

Canaletto Tower

Other articles in this category