DEGW and Oracle Italia: a long-lasting relationship that has been reinforced by a great new result.
A project focused around the ‘cloud’ and combining smart working, technology, people’s all-around well- being and a work-life balance through innovative space planning and interior design solutions.
A cloud of dynamism and innovation, comfort and welcoming warmth, sharing and cooperation, solidarity and leadership, technology, sobriety and freshness, not to mention Italian-ness: these are the soundbites characterising the premises of the new Oracle Italia headquarters in Rome. And the concept of a cloud does, indeed, sum up the general mood of this entire project with its connotations of lightness, accessibility and speed.
A project allowing DEGW to reinforce its relations with Oracle Italia, a long-lasting relationship, which, after the headquarters in Milan designed in 2009, is being further strengthened through an excellent new design further enhancing the innovative principles that underscored the job done in Milan and extending them to the nation’s capital and rest of Italy.
The setting and work-life balance
The new Oracle Italia headquarters is located in the EUR area of Rome, a business district full of history that is constantly evolving, very lively and well-equipped with leisure, shopping, culture and fitness facilities. Oracle Italia occupies four floors (from the 3rd-6th) of this rectangular-based multitenant building that has two spacious internal patios along the sides of its central core holding the vertical links and restrooms and is also connected to a “satellite” structure. Approximately 6000m² of space have been redesigned through a tailor-made project customised to the organisation, the distinctive features of the various business teams, and people’s individual needs: a smart project that makes the work-life balance one of its main aims without delegating it to the range of external amenities offered by the neighbourhood, preferring instead to incorporate all these facilities within its own spaces and focus plenty of attention on its staff.
This is a pleasant and stimulating environment with an open workflow at all the various workstations enhanced by plenty
of ancillary spaces and, above all, supported by special areas devoted to the well-being of both body and mind. They include a playroom (on the fourth floor of the “satellite” construction), an area designed to bring people together and encourage interaction between workmates; a fitness area
and meditation room (on the third floor of the “satellite” construction) equipped with a treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, wall bars etc. and completed by a shower
block with changing rooms and lockers; furnished terraces (5th and 6th floors) for hosting informal meetings or relaxation periods; shower rooms in all the restrooms on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors; a sickbay and a room for carrying out eye tests on the 3rd floor: everything is designed to simplify and improve not just individual and team work, congregating and welcoming clients and partners, but also to cater for leisure requirements and provide staff health care.
A dynamic workplace based around functionality, design and technology
With its approximately 300 workstations for 400 people, the new Oracle Italia headquarters is geared to the kind of sharing that has always been a part of this trailblazing company’s corporate culture. With this in mind, DEGW decided to provide ‘understated’ ’s consultancy, taking on board the brief and corporate guidelines and interpreting them through an innovative combination of stylistic concepts, which – under the expert guidance of Giuseppe Pepe, DEGW’s design leader, and the design experience and expertise of Valeria Romanelli, one of DEGW’s senior architects, who were both involved in the project for the new headquarters in Milan – incorporate principles of space planning and interior design in an array of clearly defined spaces that fit together perfectly.
239 standard workstations fitted with desks, whose height can be adjusted, and ergonomic business chairs (supported by lockers with different digital combinations in relation to the type of work station, either designated or shared) combined with other fittings such as drop-in spaces, ideal temporary workstations for fellow workers from other floors and/or offices, and a vast array of collaborative work areas: ranging from open spaces for teamwork and one-to-
one meetings featuring different types of furniture to over 50 different types of other settings, such as conventional meeting rooms (7 of which can be reconfigured), video-conferencing rooms, phone booths, demo rooms and huddle rooms (the latter offering an alternative to conventional meeting rooms, equipped with armchairs and small coffee tables for hosting simple, informal meetings with clients or fellow workers).
The overall layout is completed by some less conventional multipurpose settings, such as the lounge areas along the 5th floor terraces, break areas (on every floor) and a Customer Visit Center that takes up the entire 6th floor: designed along the lines of flexibility and equipped with reconfigurable meeting rooms (with seating for up to 90 people), as well as catering facilities for coffee breaks and buffet lunches, this is a spacious reception area, where guests, clients and partners can take part in events, conferences or less carefully structured meetings held up on the terraces.
Subtle meteorological connotations run right through the overall design (not without a healthy dose of irony) linked to the concept of a Cloud, treated as an enveloping connective cloud of data and information. Variable weather conditions greeting people in the reception area under the turbulent skies of an imminent “hurricane” (through the twisting curves of the veils made of mdf on the ceiling) and evoking a sense of the “outdoors” in the open space area. A storm seems to be brewing in the collaborative spaces (a brainstorm, of course), the private premises are enshrouded in “fog”, while “air bubbles” provide individual privacy in the concentration rooms and the relaxation areas provide a “breath of fresh air”. In any case, the weather is pleasantly warm, as is the entire mood right through the interiors, whose wood and soft/natural materials and colours create an overall sense of homeliness. The distinctive realms of Italian excellence characterise the break areas on the various floors: Design on the 3rd floor, Fashion on the 4th and Food on the 5th, which is also equipped with a spacious kitchenette located in the “satellite” structure with seating room for 24 people that evokes the theme of Landscape. It is the city of Rome with its great history that provides the inspiration for the toponomy of the meeting spaces: the various meeting rooms are named after Roman hills and views, districts and neighbourhoods, squares, villas and monuments, while the spaces in the Customer Visit Center are actually named after kings and emperors.
Every single design detail has been carefully assessed from a technical-performance viewpoint as part of an elaborate concept combining the local and global, the distant past and future. Special attention has been focused on the acoustics in the joints and junctures in the facade, interior panels and sound- absorbent fake ceilings and floors: all made of carpet, except for the sixth floor, where a vinyl material has been used along the circulation area (creating a concrete effect with wooden inserts). Again for acoustic reasons, carpet has been used once again in the meeting rooms. The different thicknesses of the floors (thicker in the collaboration and ancillary areas) and the various combinations of different patterns and materials create an overall landscape effect.
The plant-engineering is equally sophisticated and carefully designed (M&E and audio-video). It guarantees a comfortable environment and controls the conferencing systems in the meeting rooms, including the self-service reservations/booking technology (on the other hand, certain areas are free to be used as required, such as the huddle rooms, phone booths and collaborative area).
“The project for the headquarters in Via Amsterdam has been designed and developed with two goals-guidelines in mind: flexibility in terms of the office spaces and teamwork”, so Oracle Italia claims. Targets that DEGW has also interpreted based on what the users themselves had to say, soundbites translated into stylistic objects and concepts that have been strategically re- embodied in the office space (such as the lift landings and themes in the break areas), where users can rediscover the values referred to during the consultancy phase, which, it might be said, was also of an emotional nature.
The end result is fully and mutually satisfactory: a combination of functions and work settings that enhances cooperation and individual operations, encourages interaction and the sharing of knowledge and introduces a new performance-driven culture.
Client: Oracle Italia
Location: Roma, Via Amsterdam 147
Area: 6.000 smq
Client Leader: Alessandro Adamo – DEGW
Design Leader: Giuseppe Pepe – DEGW
Senior Architect: Valeria Romanelli – DEGW
DEGW Services: Space planning, interior design, plant modifications, construction supervision, work manager