Kalmar Germany GmbH, the freight handling and port logistics expert, had grown out of its existing office after 40 years. The many individual offices and lack of conference rooms did not provide adequate working conditions for the growing workforce and important training could no longer be carried out internally. The exterior appearance and thus also the image of the building suffered as a result of many extensions. Despite many efforts, it was not possible to implement the modern ways of working in the tight, convoluted spaces that the innovative company, a subsidiary of the Cargotec Group, would have wanted. As it was also difficult for the employees in their departments to exchange information under these conditions and communication was impaired, the decision was made in October 2019 to find new offices. An estate agent was commissioned and found a suitable property in a central location in the Bahrenfeld district of Hamburg, where the Cargotec brands McGregor and Kalmar now have their new headquarters on three floors.
Kalmar provides freight loading solutions and services for ports, terminals, distribution centres and heavy industry. Kalmar is a pioneer in terminal automation and energy-efficient container handling. One in four containers at terminals around the world is handled by a Kalmar machine. With a comprehensive product portfolio, a global service network and solutions for seamless integration of terminal operations, Kalmar improves the efficiency of each and every movement.
With the help of an architect, the basic prerequisites for preparing the office layout were created first of all. Kalmar Managing Director Harald Kraft, who knows the working methods of his team, was aiming to achieve a compromise: "We wanted to work in open-plan offices that promote communication – just as our parent company intended. But it was very important to us to create a feel-good atmosphere where concentration and calmness are also a priority." He had glass walls installed in the workspace and offices were created for three departments of different sizes: a multi-use space with 16 workstations, a 10-seater office for the service department and an eight-seater office for the parts department. The aim was to enable communication between colleagues while protecting against noise and distractions.
Additional offices for two to four employees, which can also be used by visitors from the international team, complement the new working environment.
Everyone has their own workstation here, equipped with a Series P sit-stand desk and a Space pull-out cabinet as storage space. "We see our own workplace as a sign of appreciation for our colleagues, who do not want to go searching for a free desk in the morning," explains Kraft. Those who want to work by themselves in a concentrated manner can retreat to one of the two "silent rooms".
The large number of meeting rooms that the office now has is considered a real asset. They allow a wide variety of constellations for conferences, meetings and informal ad hoc meetings, all of which are on the agenda at Kalmar. One of the meeting rooms is a large conference room, which can be divided with a modular wall in no time.
Up to 25 people can meet here as required. Above all, they provide a home for the training courses, which are of great importance at Kalmar – equipped with the latest technology. Kinnarps’ Foldex table range is also modular and supports the flexible system: tables can be added, folded away if necessary or pushed to the side on castors.
Three other meeting rooms of different sizes are also available to the teams.
The office has a striking centrepiece: the black kitchen with bright red floor, the colour of the Kalmar logo. It is intended to create a desire for communication. The stylish Neo Lite and Embrace bar stools invite you to take a coffee break, socialising is encouraged and informal exchanges are popular. Everything that makes sense for team-building. Another kitchen is used for cooking and eating.
Knowing that a transformation process should not only be supported, but also co-designed by the employees, Managing Director Kraft assembled a project team that organised the entire design planning. Kirsten Früchting, Marketing Manager and long-time employee at Kalmar, quickly established herself as the spokesperson and engine of the team of four. "We managed 80 percent of everything, tested 30 chairs, created a colour concept, and selected materials and technical equipment," she says. The interim results were presented to the management and discussed together. "We received precisely the advice we needed from the Kinnarps team and spent many hours in the Kinnarps showroom in Hamburg, looking at furniture, materials and fabrics, and checking what goes together and what suits us," explains Kirsten Früchting. "It was a pleasant, open and honest cooperation with great advice."
The sky over Hamburg produces the most beautiful shades of grey, and those who live there are not only able to differentiate between them, but also appreciate them. It is precisely these shades that the Kalmar project team must have had in mind when selecting the colours for the new offices. The light, friendly grey of the felt screens looks warm at the sit-stand workstations and matches the iridescent floor and dark grey window frames. Kinnarps’ Monroe conference chairs come in light grey. All table surfaces are made of light maple-coloured wood laminate and convey a sense of comfort. To make sure it was right, the project team asked the interior designer from the Kinnarps Interior Design Team for her opinions during the selection process. "The interior designer reviewed our choice of materials and colours from her professional perspective and made suggestions for improvement," reports Früchting. The team was inspired by Swedish styles when it came to finding ideas.
Since ergonomic and acoustic planning are important factors for a functioning office, the project team spent a lot of time on this. Acoustic panels on the desk and cabinet are supplemented with acoustic pictures on the walls, which show Hamburg motifs in bold colours and typical Kalmar forklift trucks in use.
The swivel chairs, including Claro, are ergonomic and the sit-stand desks provide movement in the workflow.
For Harald Kraft, the fact that applicants are also attracted by this new, inviting working environment is a positive outcome. Above all, he is looking forward to bringing life into the rooms with his team. Of course, space for new employees was also planned. The Kalmar Managing Director likes the fact that the Cargotec Group has been operating under a framework contract with Kinnarps for a long time, and concludes:
"Kinnarps is local, reliable and delivers what they promise".