A feel-good environment: inspirational offices for system-catering company in Munich

System-catering company L’Osteria owes its success to authentic, Italian cuisine enjoyed in a relaxed, inviting atmosphere. The franchise company has already opened around 50 restaurants in German-speaking countries. Now the company wanted to fit out its new offices in Munich to match.

They were seeking a concept that translates the restaurants’ informal atmosphere to a contemporary office environment. Interior designer Axel Frey came up with a design and colour scheme that in combination with uncluttered layouts fosters stimulating and focused working practices. Office task chair ON’s crisp design and its three-dimensional sitting options make it a perfect choice for this concept.

When entering L’Osteria’s new office space in Munich you can’t help but notice the subtle, but deliberate hints of a mood that’s more akin to a boutique hotel than an office. Warm, earthy shades dominate the colour scheme. Appealing, open-pore materials produce pleasant acoustics. Lavish bouquets of flowers in exotic vases add a dash of freshness and create a clever contrast to the traditional office environment. These aspects reflect two of Munich-based interior designer Axel Frey’s design criteria. He wanted to soften the look and feel of a modern office building with its hard surfaces and to allow the company’s offices to reflect the brand’s culinary values. Other goals were to develop flexible lighting and a workspace concept that adapts dynamically to employees’ desires to communicate or to work in peace.

The new offices are spread over two storeys and circulation is designed to be virtually symmetrical on all axes. A two-flight staircase and a hallway in the middle lead to each of the areas. Communal spaces, such as the auditorium, kitchen and service areas, are located on the ground floor. Here the hallway is open on all sides. It is merely accentuated by the highboards (used to create greater privacy for people working) and by a carpet runner. The colours on the carpet runner look enticingly like a latte with a perfect froth and complement the parquet crafted from smoked oak. These materials are repeated in the floor-to-ceiling doors to each of the offices which on the top floor are separated from the hallway by glass walls.

Workspaces are available for groups of two, three and four, or even have work benches for up to six. There are just a few partitions between the workspaces in order to maintain the generous look of the rooms and to facilitate communication. Highboards and acoustic panels provide privacy and noise insulation. Sound-absorbing curtains, as well as sail-like pieces of fabric draped from the ceiling also cushion noise. The latter also fulfil another purpose: they disperse the light from the large standard lamps that can shine indirectly upwards or directly onto the area where people are working.

Each workspace is open-plan to start with, but can be screened off with its own acoustic elements from direct sound, for example when people are making phone calls. This dynamic approach is complemented by Wilkhahn’s multi-award-winning office task chair ON. The seat comes with patented Trimension technology which (while the person is sitting down) ensures three-dimensional motion that stimulates the body. For L’Osteria, this distinctive chair has a sophisticated cover called Remix in a fresh shade of ochre and is a colourful and stylish highlight within the colourway chosen.

Project info:

  • Project: Inspirational offices for system-catering company
  • Client: L’Osteria GmbH, Nuremberg
  • Interior designer: Axel Frey, Munich
  • Furniture planners: Böhmler Objekteinrichtungen GmbH, Munich
  • Wilkhahn ranges: ON office task chairs, Sito cantilever chairs, Confair flip-top table
  • Completion date: 2015