The design of the Echo Investment office in Warsaw directly relates to the nature of the investor’s activity – the development industry and areas related to construction: including architecture, design and urban planning. Particular emphasis was placed on the scale of investment activities carried out by the company (the biggest Polish developer) and on the unlimited possibilities of creation in the area of city building. The office, which is the seat of the company’s management board, was to be representative, but also to emphasize the fact that the priority in the all investments of ECHO Investment is to create friendly places to live, work and spend free time.
Project Name: Echo Investment Office
Studio Name: MIXD
Object: Echo Investment Management Office
Location: Browary Warszawskie, Warszawa
Investor: Echo Investment
Completion date: September 2021
Space: 7500 m2
Design team: Piotr Kalinowski, Katarzyna Majer-Hola, Paweł Panek, Joanna Mazurek, Alicja Dziedziela, Marta Czarnecka, Katarzyna Stasina, Marta Jakubas, Anna Stachi, Beata Ogrodnik, Dominika Niewczas-Januszek, Małgorzata Trelińska, Adam Warchoł, Anna Kosecka, Agnieszka Kaczara, Martina Mirecki, Martyna Kolanus, Igor Demuth, Marta Filik, Jolanta Cioroch, Anna Szmańska, Olga Grabda, Stepan Symynets, Joanna Paterska, Małgorzata Zielonka, Aleksandra Bujacz, Adrianna Olszewska, Agata Motyka, Maja Ciszewska , Patryk Marciniszyn, Karolina Babiarz, Monika Sidorowicz, Jakub Bak, Magdalena Welcz, Julia Iwańczuk
Ilustrations, collages: Nikodem Szpunar, Martyna Berger, Maciej Błaźniak
Photos: Studio Pion
The main inspiration for the project was the film “Inception” directed by Christopher Nolan. Its main plot unfolds on increasingly deeper levels of sleep, each stage of which has been carefully planned by architects, often clearly against the laws of physics. Hence the idea for the first thing that catches our eyes after entering the office – the ceiling in the lobby area decorated with forms of abstract buildings. This directly refers to the iconic scene from “Inception”, in which the city turns upside down. Each of the characters in Nolan’s film had an artifact that distinguished dream from reality. One such artifact in the Echo Investment office are the Magis rocking chairs Spun, which are confusingly similar to the spinning top that appears in the film.
The wooden forms on the ceiling are also a kind of mirror image of the huge model of Warsaw placed in the lobby, which shows how much the current landscape of the capital owes its shape to the buildings erected by Echo Investment. It is also enough to look through panoramic windows to see “blocks” of office buildings, hotels or company headquarters “arranged” in the Wola district in the last three decades. From this perspective, the speed of development of Warsaw seems to be something almost as incredible as the curved city from “Inception”.
Wooden blocks and copper vats
The wooden blocks also hide the energy and unbridled fantasy of children’s play, building houses, bridges and castles. The image of such joint activity of children and parents is a symbol of closeness, intimacy, time spent with loved ones – something that we always associate with home. And so again, we return to the core of Echo Investment’s activities, which also includes many residential investments in its portfolio. The office itself – very elegant and made with great attention to detail – undoubtedly has something homey about it. This is due to the noble materials: wood, ceramics, metal, fabrics and leather, as well as warm colours palette dominated by browns and beiges.
Another source of inspiration was Warsaw Breweries – the place where the Echo Investment office is located. Numerous copper details refer to the brewing vats. In addition to copper, the design uses original cast-iron poles from the demolition of the former breweries buildings, which have been given a new function – plant pots. The front door handles are an interpretation of the Warsaw Breweries logo.
At the drawing board
The entrance area is full of motifs straight from an architectural studio. The above-mentioned model of Warsaw appears on the wall with Echo investments marked on it, next to it there is a large-format wallpaper with the capital city’s urban plan. Cloakroom door handles are in the form of scaled brass setsquares – similar to those used by architects working on drawing boards. The reception desk stands on an unfolded sheet of “graph paper” (its role is played by a floor covering with an individually made print), it is illuminated by Artemide’s Tolomeo drawing lamps – also in XXL scale.
The next zones are also a mix of motifs from “Inception”, Warsaw Breweries, an architect’s atelier and a construction site. The thread of “Inception” found its continuation, among others. in conference rooms – each of them is a different stage of sleep. Just as in dreams, surprising, impossible, non-existent things and events often appear suddenly, in each of the conference rooms there is at least one characteristic element from the border of waking and dreaming or the sphere of optical illusions. So, going from the entrance, we will find a room with a copper lens that reverses the perspective, rooms with Penrose’s impossible triangle, an “architectural” room with a model of the same room inside, a room with 3D printing elements created in cooperation with the UAU project studio, and an “origami” room with a ceiling in the form of scaled “expanded metal “made of felt. The order is not accidental – each of the rooms and their furnishings refer to one of the key investments of Echo Investment and to one of the concepts related to architecture and urban planning, such as perspective, scale, form, creation or technology.
Right from the construction site
In the main kitchen of the office there is a galvanized scaffolding spatial installation and a table with a base made of glass bricks. Additionally, lamps are planned here, which are an interpretation of the Echo Investment logo. The work area is divided into sectors with joint work areas. This helps to avoid excessive noise levels. In one of the areas for collaborative work you will find soft seats and a wooden table – its numerous legs once again evoke the theme of an inverted city. The lamp above the table is a fragment of a steel construction beam with mounted fluorescent lamps. At the junction of permanent workplaces and the hot desk zone, we will see openwork partitions in the form of arcades – proportions referring to the characteristic arches of the Warsaw Breweries. Soft zones are marked with a floor covering with a pixelated, geometric pattern and a wooden slatted ceiling. To ensure acoustic comfort in the work area, a ceiling made of natural acoustic panels by Hera Design and textile acoustic panels in the shape of corrugated sheets have been planned.
The entire office is decorated with works by Polish artists (Martyna Berger, Nikodem Szpunar, Maciej Błaźniak) and an international group of architects associated by the Desplans website. Some of these graphics are an interpretation of the buildings by Echo Investment and were made especially for the needs of this office.