EUIPO, the European Union Intellectual Property Office, is the biggest Intellectual and industrial Property agency in the European Union and its headquarters is in Alicante. Its purpose is to manage trademarks, Community designs and intangible assets of great value for companies. Since 2012, it has also hosted the European Observatory on Infringements of rights of Intellectual and Industrial Property. It has recently undertaken an extension of a building to place all workers from over 28 countries under the same roof.
The extension covers a surface area of approximately 39,000 m², distributed over two buildings with 3 floors of offices, a ground floor and three lower floors for underground parking, connected to the existing building. As well as this, a new reception and welcome area was built consisting of a large open lobby that directly connects all units. The result is a city-building of 82,000 m² which integrates and brings the workers closer to basic services such as the cafe, the canteen, the ATM, the gym, lockers and showers or medical service reducing their travelling and associated CO2 emissions. In addition, the use of bicycles and electric cars has been encouraged with 54 and 21 parking spaces, respectively.
The building work has been undertaken in accordance with strict sustainability criteria, obtaining the maximum international sustainable classification certification from BREEAM® which evaluates impact in 10 categories: Management, Health and Wellbeing, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Waste, Ecological Use of soil, Pollution and Innovation. Thus, the expansion of EUIPO was established as the first new building in Spain, Italy and Portugal to obtain the 'Exceptional' distinction.
Advised by a team of architects and decorators from Ayesa and Idom Estudio, Actiu, was one of the companies selected to install the new building furniture. The aim was clear: to maximise flexibility for interior spaces in order to generate attractive and comfortable environments which improve efficiency and welfare through work areas to facilitate communication, labour synergies and the professional development of the workforce.
With the premise of setting up a sustainable building with a low environmental impact, the health and welfare of the staff, grouped together a series of measures aimed at suitable thermal, lighting and acoustic comfort of workers. In this sense, the performance of the Urban Plus 40 chair, with its natural and ergonomic lines, as well as the clean and flexible aesthetics of the Cool C500 desk, have proved appropriate to design the conference rooms and meeting rooms.
The interior is based on a balance between open areas, non-hierarchical and closed, more intimate modules, which provide the necessary privacy for those moments when needed. The glassed cubicle is furnished with the Tabula table and two Ikara chairs, all in white except for a fun rug that brings a touch of colour. Transitions between different areas or departments have been carried out through the design of different scenes that combine informal spaces, and play with textures, upholstery and chromaticism to achieve harmony.
The offices, set in open spaces and distributed over three floors, are differentiated through the colour of the upholstery of screens and decorative accessories. Therefore, there are blue, red, green and ocher areas, all of them with characteristic shades of the Mediterranean, where the gaze is directed towards the headquarters of EUIPO. Each work area is set with the Trama desk program (adjustable in height and with castors), the commented upholstered and sound absorbing screen, melamine drawers with a cushioned top for personal filing and modular cupboards for collective use.
If anything highlights this project it is the care and exquisiteness which were taken during the detailing and well-being of users of the facilities. The level of detail can be noted in aspects such as "that no workstation is further than 7 metres from any natural source of illumination, ensuring comfort conditions".
This concept couldn’t be overlooked in a project where its employees’ comfort is essential and has sought to promote employment optimism. Height adjustable through an electronic system, Mobility is a desk which moves alongside the daily needs of each user and environment. To work standing, for a few hours of the working day, not only has a positive effect on health, but it also improves concentration and productivity, as recommended by occupational health specialists.
In the cafe area contrast was sought. Given the great luminosity that the environment presents, where light pours in through the large windows, the space is conditioned by the choice of a chocolate colour for all the furniture starring the Tabula desks and the collective Wing chairs.
EUIPO has captured, through its interior architecture, a look into the future with a vision of progress and change towards the Community institutions and the organisation of their space. Meanwhile, Actiu, in addition to its products, has contributed its extensive experience, offering a comprehensive service of equipment designed to provide welfare and efficiency to the user. The result has been more than satisfactory and can serve a wide program of needs characterised by the variety of spaces and a large endowment of social uses.