New basic formula
Architectural firm ARGE architekten grebner + amann designed a new extension to the existing building from the 1980s, connecting the two halves with a glass joint. Old and new meet and employees from different teams come together in this exciting, light-filled interstitial space. The interface is intended as a communication and exchange point, with a different design on each floor. In the ground-floor Chocolate Café, guests are offered refreshments including chocolate and coffee. One floor up, the Dialogue Café promotes a place for informal exchange between meetings. While at the very top, the Fernweh Café (EN: Wanderlust Café) offers a place to let your gaze wander.
Other areas on the ground floor also symbolise the new work culture at Ritter Sport. An extended brand path runs through the ground floor as a common thread, with brand-relevant content on the walls telling stories of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Marketplace is at the heart of the work world: a kitchen counter, alcoves, a mobile bar table and a spacious arena create a relaxed environment. Large (hybrid) conferences as well as small events can take place under its illuminated ceiling, whose shape picks up on the typical Ritter Sport format. The Chocolate and Cocoa Workshop is located right next to the R&D department, inviting employees to develop and taste their own flavour creations. Because in the new Schokozentrale, all employees have the opportunity to experience the product from development to production, helping them identify with the new environment and become committed chocolate ambassadors for the brand.
Something for every taste
A differentiated range of communication and presentation loci can be found across all floors and areas: Formal and informal exchange and meeting opportunities alternate with rooms for retreat and concentrated work. Thanks to desk sharing, employees are free to choose where they wish to work – wherever the task at hand can best be accomplished. Conference rooms offering acoustic privacy are also available for scheduled meetings, in-depth collaborations, workshops or discreet exchanges. In the semi-open Ideas Garden with its two garden arbours, ideas can sprout forth in a lush, green setting. In the central Sensory Area, on the other hand, experts can devote themselves to the sensory dimensions of chocolate without visual distraction.
To further promote the company’s innovative spirit and to underline the active and energetic brand core, we have also created a highly flexible work environment with a studio feel in the form of the Ideas Workshop: With moveable room dividers that can also serve as whiteboards and pinboards, different room constellations can be realised at whim. Rollable work tables can be reconfigured spontaneously depending on team size and requirements, and the moveable furniture intuitively allows for a range of meeting and presentation formats. Creativity is possible anytime and anywhere – so the brand’s chocolate ambassadors are ideally equipped for an agile innovation process.
Dialogue and agility
The two upper floors, home to marketing, communication and sales, also offer a wide variety of workspace options: open areas and secluded spaces, think-tanks for teams and retreats options for individuals, flexible room configurations and fixed contact points, zones for informal exchange and confidential conversations – places to discuss current issues and negotiate the future in small or large teams. These office areas are complemented by special functions such as the Multibox, a multifunctional space designed to promote team activities and positive well-being through movement. There is also a semi-open library with a reading deck at the back offering a view over the factory site. Not forgetting the Dialogue Café and the Fernweh Café (EN: Wanderlust Café), which extends onto a green roof-top terrace. The latter can be used as a temporary workplace, but also brightens the atmosphere with its biophilic design, thereby having a positive impact on employee performance.
The square as leitmotif
The lively rhythm of colour, structure and order is enhanced at the material level by a perceptible duality of traditional and modern or of Ritter and Sport: Where classic materials such as wood or tiles are used, they are contrasted with contemporary elements such as coloured edges and grouting. The square as an overriding leitmotif is found not only in the choice of materials, but also in the clear and distinctive furnishings, which refer back to the Ritter Sport trademark shape and thus ensure high recognition – even the acoustic wall panelling plays with this theme and underscores this stringency down to the smallest detail.
Sustainable by conviction
To meet Ritter Sport’s strong desire to be as sustainable as possible, we placed particular emphasis on sourcing eco-friendly materials. Only durable, recyclable materials and products were used, which are also low in pollutants and emissions. The environmentally conscious construction method used for the entire new extension with its high user comfort received a gold certificate from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB e.V.). In particular, the consistent fulfilment of cradle to cradle criteria was praised, because all materials – in the architecture and interior design – can be returned to the material cycle or degraded into the biosphere without a problem. Low-emission building materials and products – from wall paint and carpet tiles to desks, chairs, lights and curtains, plants and plant pots – ensure a healthy room and work climate. Just like the biodynamic lighting concept, the lush indoor greenery with air-purifying plants and optimised room acoustics. At the same time, all these components emphasise Ritter Sport’s objective of always working in harmony with people and nature.
Smart simplicity – a brand-in-space experience
The authenticity of Ritter Sport and its typical passion for making really good chocolate can be felt throughout – the brand identity has been consistently transferred into the space. Thanks to our holistic design, Ritter Sport’s new work world not only facilitates collegial interaction, but also active participation in all developmental processes, and as a result, strong identification with the company.