Zentrale des deutschen Handwerks, Berlin

Applied psychology: The redesign of an open-plan office

Zentrale des deutschen Handwerks, Berlin, nach der Umgestaltung des Großraumbüros

Client: German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, ZDH, Berlin

Planning: Antje Stable, smow Berlin & Toni Piskač, tnpx

Year: 2020

Areas furnished: office space

Project specification: Redesign of an open-plan office

Zentrale des deutschen Handwerks, Berlin, nach der Umgestaltung des Großraumbüros; Eingangsbereich


Alone the term "open-plan office" can ebb the enthusiasm, no matter how beautiful the premises are. Sensitivities such as anxieties, demands or hierarchies often come to light and it is quickly clear that the subject of office furnishing always goes deeper than just the number and location of desks. Questions about the working method, effectiveness but also about the feel-good factor are always present. After all, offices are also spaces of appreciation, they indicate how companies treat their staff. And thus empathy is needed, almost applied psychology. Needs such as mobile working should be reflected in the room project planning.

At the headquarters of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, ZDH, it was smow's task to develop an open-plan solution that combined the needs of management and employees in one room. smow presented trends and examples of alternative ways of working before in next steps were worked out together in workshops. Cooperation instead of hierarchy.

Project Managers

Antje Großmann

Managing Director, smow Berlin

Telephone: 030 31 00 44 22

E-Mail: antje.grossmann@smow.de

Toni Piskač

Managing Director, tnpx

Telephone: 0341 2222 8866

E-Mail: toni.piskac@tnpx.de

Antje Stable dirigiert die Prozesse (Foto: Olaf Martens)
Antje Stable directs the work (Photo: Olaf Martens)
Offene Gestaltung ZDH Büro
Neues Raumsetting ZDH
Arbeitsplätze und Meeting Points ZDH
Besprechungsecke ZDH
Lädt zum Austausch ein: Zentrale des deutschen Handwerks, Berlin, nach der Umgestaltung des Großraumbüros


How do you design an open-plan office so that it not only looks good, but also exudes calm and enables concentrated work while simultaneously promoting communication?

In workshops that brought the department management and team around one table, not only the needs of the employees and the expectations of the company management were elucidated, but office processes were exposed and charted.

Where are important communication channels, where are mailboxes required? Who works together, who doesn't need physical proximity? Which media technology is used? What requirements must which storage space meet? Extra space was created thanks to 20 meters of cabinets that could be done away with - liberating not only for the room, but also a true Marie Kondo moment. Applied psychology.

Different zones were developed from the room functions, e.g. a lounge corner for collaborative work or a private room for colleagues who make a lot of phone calls. The ZDH also had each workstation equipped with an acoustic screen, which promotes concentration because you disappear behind it without becoming invisible to others, while at the same time absorbing the backgroud sound. Headsets replace the classic desk phones, mobility for everyday use.

Das fertige Großraumbüro in der Zentrale des deutschen Handwerks Berlin


If the department heads do not insist on any privileges, but become part of the room, this sends a signal to the team and dissolves the hierarchy issue. The project achieved its aim: the old open-plan office at the headquarters of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts has become a modern, structured room setting that is divided into different zones according to different requirements.

In the individual islands you can work quietly for yourself, in the communicative zones the focus is on togetherness, communicative exchange. The team was part of the process throughout the project: cooperation instead of hierarchy. And thus ultimately there is the experience that (active) change brings about good. 


Individual project planning with smow

Together with you, smow design office solutions and spacial concepts for your business. In cooperation with our experienced architects and interior designers we supervise your project from conception to implementation, so that you can continue to work productively and relaxed in the future. The smow planning department can be reached Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on +49 341 2222 88 66 or by email at projekt@smow.de