When designing the new Axis head office in Lund, sustainability and esthetics were vital. But most importantly, the primary focus was on employee health and well-being. And as the employees now are moving into their new workplace, the response is positive.
“It has been a long and fun journey,” reflects Åsa Krantz, architect and interior designer. “From the very start, it was imperative that the Axis core values and company culture permeate the house. When designing the interior and choosing the right fixtures and furnishings, we aimed to create a work environment that is both creative and inspiring and will hopefully make the employees proud.”
Overall house design
Indeed, the team from the architect’s office Landén + Krantz in Lund got involved early in the process. They worked closely with Axis to conceptualise all the requirements and wishes that Axis Facilities department had collected from various stakeholders.
“There was close collaboration throughout the project,” Åsa says. “The architect’s office Fojab was in charge of the overall house design, including the exterior and the outdoor environment, and we have been focusing on the interior design. The lighting design and consulting studio Light Bureau has also played an important role doing the lighting design.”
Promoting employee health
There is modesty, but at the same time, the building radiates freshness and individuality"
Louise Dolck Strömberg, HR Director at Axis, says that, “We had very high ambitions. To create a modern and high-grade work environment was a top priority. We continuously involved employees and other stakeholders in various working teams in getting a bottom-up perspective.”
It was crucial to creating something that would stand the test of time, not only sustainably, but also esthetically. “It was essential to strike a balance between trendy and classical when choosing materials, furniture, and colour schemes,” Louise says. “Åsa and her team have splendidly managed to capture the Axis spirit. There is modesty, but at the same time, the building radiates freshness and individuality. And many solutions promote employee health and wellness.”
Swedish fika culture
“Creating various meeting places was at the top of the list,” Åsa says. “Axis has a strong Swedish ‘fika’ culture, so we had that in mind. We also wanted to create many other meeting places. Big ideas often come from spontaneous meetings.”
Creating a central hub was essential, and you step into it as you pass through the entrance doors. The first impression is the great, light, and spacious atrium entrance hall encompassing the first (ground) floor and the second floor. The objective was to design something of a ‘company living room.’ An impressive staircase leads up to the second floor with a 450-capacity restaurant, offices, and meeting rooms. From both the stairs and the second-floor balustrade, there is a beautiful view of the first floor where a podium with a tree, sofas, and comfortable chairs is a natural focal point.
Prioritising employees’ health
All offices in the building are positioned along the outer walls to let in the daylight
“I’m very pleased with the podium,” Åsa says. “If we’d only put in some sofas, directly on the floor, people might have felt exposed. It has become a place where you can meet, work, or relax. But it can also be used as a stage for presentations or in other ways.”
On the first floor are also a café area, an experience centre showcasing Axis solutions, and more meeting rooms and offices. Throughout the project, it was vital to work with natural light, prioritising the employees’ health. All offices in the building are positioned along the outer walls to let in the daylight. For the same reason, there is a large, green open area in the middle of the building, and six terraces spread over the various floors.
Interior design trends
“The outdoors environment was essential in creating a house that focuses on the humane and well-being,” says Åsa. “If you want to, you can work or have your meetings outdoors.” Going against current interior design trends, Axis has opted for a large number of individual offices. Linn Ahlström, Director Real Estate & Facilities at Axis, explains: “There is a majority of engineers, and we know that many of them work better when they can do it undisturbed in their own rooms. We think it benefits both the employees and the company.”
However, there are individual offices, team rooms (2–8 persons), and landscapes (12–14 persons) with scrum areas that cater to peoples’ different tastes and needs. “Diversity was central in our initial discussions. There should be something to fit everyone, and needs change over time,” says Åsa. “For example, hardly two of the 136 meeting rooms look the same. They cover everything from a 60-capacity auditorium to project rooms and quiet rooms.”
Inspiring and creative workplace
The entrance hall floor is limestone from the Swedish island of Öland, and there are ash-wood wall panels
The materials used in the building also reflect the Axis core values. “We wanted to create an inspiring and creative workplace that every Axis employee is proud of,” Linn says. “When choosing materials, furniture, and colours, the goal has always been to create an environment that will feel timeless and durable for many years to come. We hope that employees here and from other offices across the world will feel right at home.”
The entrance hall floor is limestone from the Swedish island of Öland, and there are ash-wood wall panels. “These are durable and utilitarian materials,” Linn says. “There are ash-wood floors in large parts of the house that are hard-wearing and can be renovated. They are glued to the concrete to muffle any noise from walking.”
New work environment
A couple of weeks after their move, the employees are starting to settle into their new environment. Aditya Hendra and Gabriel Jönsson work as ASIC verification engineers. Their team is on the sixth floor. The new work environment feels very light, spacious, and airy, says Gabriel: “We used to sit in an open landscape, and as the team grew, we were packed like sardines. It could get quite noisy. The new house is so much more inspiring; your mood and work improve.”
There are many rooms to collaborate and meet with your colleagues, and not only for working"Having a room feels quite luxurious. And one doesn’t has to worry about getting disturbed or disturbing someone else. “Now, I can concentrate better, even without using noise cancellers from headphones, which helps my productivity." Gabriel and Aditya like that there are many different meeting places. “There are many rooms to collaborate and meet with your colleagues, and not only for working,” Aditya says.
Neither of them has done the ‘grand tour’ of the building yet. Still, there have been many ‘wow’ moments. Gabriel is impressed by the outdoor terraces. “It feels good to have your lunch outside.” Aditya has visited the tenth floor to take in the view from the top floor. It offers a magnificent view of Lund, and one can even see the Öresund Bridge (yes, that bridge). “It was impressive,” he says. “You could probably even make out Copenhagen. I also especially like the courtyard on the third floor with trees and a garden. It is beautiful.”
Axis’ new office building has been BREEAM-certified with the rating Excellent based on a number of sustainability factors, such as design, working environment, and energy use. BREEAM is an international environmental certification system that evaluates the sustainability performance of new commercial buildings and other projects.