Spatial restructuring: Office revitalisation by Andree Weißert
Architecture: studio andree weissert
Location: Lauenförde (DE)
Offering some 30 licensed and faithfully reproduced re-issues of Bauhaus furniture, Tecta is the largest supplier of original Bauhaus models today, and produces solely in Lauenförde, a small community of some 3,000 souls located in western Germany's Weser Uplands. Adaptation of the products to customers' individual wishes is regarded by managing director Axel Bruchhäuser and his nephew Christian Drescher as a promising niche. About 35 employees working in the firm's joinery, metalworking, upholstery and wickerwork shops currently produce items such as the Gropius F51 armchair or the Tecta cantilever chair in various upholstery fabrics and colours and with moderately varied proportions.
Tecta does not wish to be solely associated with business in furniture re-editions, however, and accordingly it regularly expands its portfolio with products by contemporary designers. Since 2013, these have included work by Andree Weißert, an architect and trained carpenter who sees furniture as a volume-shaping element; in addition to taking a structural approach to design, he also has a weakness for specific solutions. Indeed, his ideas fitted in with the Tecta philosophy so well that he was entrusted with the reshaping of the firm's office and production spaces.
The existing building, an inexpensively erected post and beam structure from the 1950s, was in need of renovation and in terms of energy efficiency was also in a totally inadequate state. Yet it also featured design interventions stemming from noted designers, including prismatically-shaped "Porches" by Peter and Alison Smithson from the 1980s, and a conference room by Stefan Wewerka. Andree Weißert's response was to leave these existing qualities largely untouched but to otherwise undertake a thorough rejuvenation cure on the structural and spatial shortcomings.
The effortless way in which the building's various eras now mesh together is particularly evident in the entrance and office building, where Andree Weißert has turned what were once isolated individual offices into an open-plan space in which communication and visual correlations are fostered on all sides by the porous organisation of the elements. In a pragmatic touch, an existing fitted cupboard has been left standing but provided a coat of blue paint, with the result that it now forms a new, attractive backbone for the light-accentuated, free-standing shelving elements in wood. Varied office islands that enable not only concentrated individual work but also discussion are located between the shelving systems. A communicative bench running the length of the room makes it possible to experience the restructured space in its entirety.