April 21, 2020
This Helsinki Office Is Both Smart and Playful
Next in our series on lighting design around the world, pendant lights and playful furniture bring character to K-Campus, touted as the smartest office building in Finland.
An early landmark of Helsinki’s humming Kalasatama “smart city” district, the K-Campus (so named after its owner, the commodities company Kesko) is alleged to be the “smartest office building” in Finland, citing the use of AI in building operations from heating and cooling to lighting. Designed by local firm JKMM Architects, the project is a tidy summation of recent workplace trends, boasting a fitness room, healthcare spaces, breakout spaces, and multiple “working cafés.” Individual workstations are kept to a minimum; as a result, employees are free to type away on their laptops in isolation or in the company of others.
According to the architects, there are 100 meeting points scattered throughout the building’s six stories, beginning with the tiered seating in the ground-floor atrium and running up to the top-floor lounge, which is overrun with colorful poufs. Space is fluid, with each zone spilling into the next. Functional cues come in the form of playful furniture, mobile whiteboards, and potted plants, not to mention luminaires: An eclectic range of spotlights helps anchor staff. Pendant lamps of every conceivable shape—clouds, bubbles, cones—counterbalance the ambient light of the strip LED units embedded in the drop-down ceilings. The sheer variety of spotlights strains the limits of corporate whimsy, but that is not to discount their function. It’s just that “function” can also have a personality.
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