Exposed brickwork and ceilings, themed rooms and a dedicated recording studio feature in the headquarters of audio platform Soundcloud, which have been created inside a former brewery in Berlin (+ slideshow).
German studio Kinzo converted three stories of Factory, an office campus for early stage technology startups that occupies a former industrial complex, into offices for audio streaming provider Soundcloud.
Located in Mitte and close to the former Berlin Wall, the offices house more than 200 employees and take up more than half of the campus area.
"While Kinzo's design interventions retain the former factory's industrial charm, they also emphasise the location's characteristics to create just the right space for such a young and expanding business," said the designers.
As well as providing practical work spaces for Soundcloud employees, the designers were asked to create a layout that would allow the offices to be used to host events including hackathons, talks, and meet-ups in an attempt to "foster collaboration" within Berlin's tech community.
Kinzo retained the original layout of the former brewery with its concrete columns, exposed concrete floor and rough brick walls.
The studio inserted a series of glass-walled meeting rooms with blue neon signs spelling the names of areas in Berlin, London and New York including Kreuzberg, Flatiron, Brixton and Camden.
Another meeting room with wooden walls and a glazed entrance, named 'The Green Room', is stacked full of large plants with the intention of creating a green oasis inside the building.
A dedicated recording room with extensive AV equipment provides a professional recording space for employees of the company, which runs an online platform for sharing music and other audio files.
Although the office space is mainly open-plan with long wooden tables positioned underneath large, chunky cork lampshades, a number of quieter and more secluded areas were designed for individual work.
Firewood is stacked along the wall of a space designed to feel like a living room with a wood fire and brightly coloured armchairs. A small, wooden clad library pod and a soundproof relaxation room with quilted booths provide more rest places for employees.
A yellow painted games room features an old fashioned photo booth and ping pong table. Other objects including record players, potted plants and a collection of arm chairs and tables are scattered across the three levels.
Brightly coloured furniture and feature walls are also peppered throughout the space, while wiring and air conditioning ducts are left exposed on the ceilings.
Photography is by Christian Werner unless otherwise stated.
Here's some a project description from Kinzo:
New Soundcloud headquarter as a tangible reality of a virtual community, Berlin
The new headquarters of internationally renowned online platform SoundCloud cover three levels and approx. 4,000 square metres of an old brewery building close to the former Berlin Wall. The complex, designed to serve as a future incubator for up-and-coming start-ups, will become the one-stop office for all 180 Berlin employees of the foremost hub for musical exchange on the net. Anticipating future expansion of the rapidly growing SoundCloud platform, the spacious offices could potentially accommodate up to 350 desks.
To provide the company and its new HQ with a matching spatial identity and the right architectural framework for the platform’s novel business and working structures, SoundCloud asked KINZO to turn its new hub into a space that exudes and encourages innovation and creativity.
The platform envisaged a welcome beacon in Berlin’s office landscape that both shapes the company and evolves with SoundCloud over the years. Against this background, KINZO’s conversion redefines the rules of office design with its tangible reflection of a virtual community.
While KINZO's design interventions retain the former factory’s industrial charm, they also emphasise the location’s characteristics to create just the right space for such a young and expanding business.
From open work spaces and café-meets-reception area to various themed rooms – each space at the new SoundCloud HQ promotes flexible use scenarios and the platform's ingrained culture of constant creative exchange. Thanks to subtle accents and interventions, introduced according to need, the mood shifts from urban exchange to private retreat, from bustling public space to cosy living room.
In order to preserve the location’s factory feel, KINZO decided to retain the brewery’s raw appeal, leaving the building's original brickwork and ceiling details exposed. Underscoring this aesthetic, all technical installations are clearly on display, snaking across the naked surfaces in an ornamental meets- functional pattern that juxtaposes old and new.
The only substantial alteration to the structure’s original architecture can be found between the two lower-most levels: Here, a two-storey atrium and staircase now serves as the main hub of communication for the new SoundCloud universe. Versatile to the core, both space and fittings can adapt according to requirement – thanks to the flexible architecture, potential uses range from reception and bar to cinema, panel discussion and beyond.
At the same time – and in line with the platform’s ultimate aim – sound (or acoustics) remain the red thread of KINZO’s overall design concept. A vital and oft-neglected aspect of any space, due to its functional, work-related and identity-defining significance, sound naturally takes pride of place in all SoundCloud-related considerations.
Here, KINZO once again experiments with further and playful uses to make the most of acoustic materials beyond their sound-optimising properties. Imbued with new life and meaning, they might resurface as cladding for the specially designed drop lights ("Krautleuchten") or as abstracted sound waves and light diffusors nesting underneath the ceilings of shared spaces. After all, KINZO likes to give all material dual starring roles.
In this spirit, KINZO stays true to its holistic design approach with the SoundCloud HQ conversion and turns a heterogeneous use structure into a sound and cohesive concept. Drawing on their shared Berlin roots, the architects managed to supply the thriving start-up with just the right architectural foundations for future growth and (r)evolution.
Responsible partner: Karim El-Ishmawi, Martin Jacobs,
Project leader: Timo Nerger
Cooperation: Manfred Kaiser, Laura Liberal, Stefanie Pesel, Ina Podzimek, David Schrumm, Susanne Trumpf, Nora Zimmermann
Specialist planners: Akustikbüro Rahe & Kraft GmbH (room acoustics), Dinnebier + Blieske (lightning design), Häfner Ingenieure GmbH (HCAC - heating, ventilation, air conditioning)
Components: Daniel Peters Möbelbau, Delafair GmbH, kubix Gesellschaft für Entwicklung und Produktion temporärer Bauten mbH, Zimmerservice Scheuerling + Neumann GbR
Building equipment: Cofely Deutschland GmbH (air-condition technology), Elektrotechnik Elaro GmbH