The Codelab and umlaut companies, in their Szczecin office, work primarily with clients from the automotive industry. The software they create makes the automotive technology work perfectly, allowing you to enjoy the best while driving: speed, a sense of freedom and readiness to explore new places. While designing their office, MIXD made sure that the experience of the work space is as pleasant as a journey in a comfortable car.
Project Name: The office dream trip
Studio Name: MIXD
Location: Szczecin, Poland
Space: 3000 m2
Photography: Pion Studio
“The very location of the Posejdon building suggested the use of the travel theme in the project – after all, the Port Gate is the heart of Szczecin, and at the same time the place from which you set off into the world! What was most important for us, however, was to set out on this journey together. The decisive factor was the involvement of ourselves – all employees of both companies in building a new place, what they do and what their needs are – recalls the beginnings of the project Jakub Borowczyk, managing director of umlaut.
The starting point for the design work was – as in the case of other MIXD office projects – the Culture Club® workshops. “This proprietary tool, developed by our studio, allows, by working with future office users, to collect a lot of valuable information about their needs, expectations, and ways of organizing work. We talk about very specific issues, such as their previous experience with office equipment or everyday, practical needs: the size of the desks, the number of monitors or the type of armchairs.
We discuss what their working day looks like, how often they have meetings, in what groups, whether they work on fixed tasks or on projects closed in time. The relaxed atmosphere during the workshops makes the participants feel good and they get very involved in the process: they openly share with us both critical insights (what bothers them, what they do not want) and ideas that are bold and very creative (individual solutions, decorations, ideas for relaxation). It is actually a type of research from which we obtain a lot of data, necessary for our project to meet the expectations of future users.” – says Piotr Kalinowski, CEO and creative director of MIXD.
On the roadagain
It was during the workshops that it became clear how closely the work of Codelab and umlaut is related to technology. And although the software is a much less tangible thing than comfortable seats or modern tires, they also make driving a modern car as pleasant as in the golden age of the automotive industry – the 1950s and 1960s. This meant that the leitmotif of the office in Poseidon was travel and everything that we associate with it: gas stations, roadside bars, beaches, camping and tourist routes.
Already at the reception, we are greeted by ready to go into the unknown Fiat 500 retro, with a trunk loaded with suitcases. This car, the delivery of which to the fourth floor of Poseidon required the use of a construction crane (!) and it was already at the shell stage of open construction, it was not accidentally delivered there. The iconic car is the ancestor of tens of millions of modern cars which today use software written in Codelab.
We refuel and surf
The next stage of an office trip is the Gas Station. One of the parts of the common area is where the battery is charged for work – while talking with a cup of coffee in hand. Right next to it, we have the Cafeteria, inspired by American roadside drive-in bars, where you don’t even have to stop to order something to eat. The aesthetics of the 50`s reign here – pastel colors, stream-line, black and white chessboard floor, neon signs and painted signboards, characteristic bar stools. Finally, the last part of the common area is the Beach. Developers are the big part of the digital nomad community.
Today, after many hours in front of the monitor, they are looking for a rest and chillout outside the city, at the seaside … or even on the city beach surrounded by the Craneosaurs. These are the places where the beach coworking zone appeals: with a beach basket, a reed umbrella, “changing rooms” for desks, inflatable furniture and lamps from Malafor and Puff-Buff. “We value the time spent together not only in engaging projects, but also during conversations, which is why we devoted the same attention to creating a space that encourages joint meetings after work.”
Near the house
Centrally located common spaces allow both to integrate a crew of almost 300 and to keep work areas calm. We also have three different zones here: a cozy, intimate Homeoffice, elegant Car Interior and a raw, minimalist, definitely the most “office” Loft. “We like to say that our business is “people business”. Human and human relations, exchange of knowledge, experiences, brainstorming – this is our fuel. During 2 years of preparations, our team, together with MIXD, has developed a space where, nomen omen, the comfort needed to concentrate permeates, with a space conducive to meetings, talks and spending time together. Our clients, who visit us, also appreciate such a culture of (cooperation) work from a business perspective. We are fascinated by the fact that we are constantly discovering new, our own favorite places in this office. This is important in such creative work as ours – emphasizes Radosław Borek, Managing Director of Codelab.
In the area of the 3,000 m2 office, cars and technology are constantly appearing – in the form of toys, motifs from Takie Pany murals, or a children’s carpet with a city motif, where everyone played with cars, but there are also motifs close to geeky sneaks to programmers – “ducks” used to test codes (which are also an unofficial element of CI Codelab), Space Inviders, old school slot machines, pixelated graphics, vinyls and music posters.
The space is eclectic and diverse, each of the aforementioned common areas and work zones is different, both in terms of colors and the materials used. In terms of equipment, furniture of Polish brands, such as Balma, Noti, Fameg, Paged, dominates, but there are also many custom-made elements and original solutions, such as a fuel dispenser serving drinking water. A reference to automotive climates is also sheet metal – pressed, as on the reception casing, or perforated as in a car service – in work zones.
A journey in the Codelab and umlaut office is not only a journey in space, but also a journey in time, to the 1950s and 1960s in the USA, when car culture and the lifestyle associated with it flourished there, but also to the years of the PRL in Szczecin – to the iconic Szczecin bar Pasztecik and Kameralna café, to the past of Posejdon, which was built before World War II as a shopping and entertainment facility and the seat of the UFA Palast cinema, then transformed into PDT Posejdon, and today it has become part of a modern office complex.
“We managed to create a space that speaks in many layers about traveling and the fun we get from it: new places and old ones, where we always come across a burger and fries, about beautiful views and places we go to. We managed to express the pride of Codelab and Umlaut employees of the software solutions they create, and which we – often without even realizing – use when driving our car every day ”- summarizes Piotr Kalinowski.