From bow to stern, DFDS’ new headquarters exudes sustainability, flexibility and company values

Employees have now boarded DFDS' new, innovative headquarters in Copenhagen's Northern Harbor. Placed alongside the quay, PLH Arkitekter has customized a DGNB Gold-certified building loaded with green solutions. The shipping giant's new base supports activity-focused work and provides the area with a new café.

Based on the foggy morning silhouettes, it might look as though DFDS’ iconic Oslo ferry has been twinned. But as the sun’s rays emerge, a slender and characteristic building appears alongside the ferry’s neighboring quay. With its elongated shape, undulating movements and large glass sections, DFDS' new headquarters stand out in respectful cohesion with its maritime surroundings.

In both design as well as interior, every measure has been taken to achieve ambitious green goals, which have resulted in a gold certification from Green Building Council Denmark.

“It has been a pleasure to work together with DFDS to set and meet such high sustainability goals. We have drawn on our expertise and extensive experience from other projects, making sure we create a unique, futureproof headquarters that offers some of the best sustainable solutions, excellent indoor climate and modern social considerations,” says Søren Mølbak, CEO and partner in PLH Arkitekter.

Among the building’s defining aspects are the slim concrete construction and lightweight facade, which have helped reduce CO2 emissions. Energy consumption has also been reduced, and floors and carpets have also been specially selected so as to allow for recycling.

“With an ambition to be climate neutral by 2050, it was crucial for us that our new construction matched the highest sustainability standards. It is about environmentally friendly quality materials, indoor climate and energy consumption. For example, we have had solar cells installed on the roof and the entire construction is DGNB Gold certified,” says Henrik Svane, Head of Facility Management at DFDS.

With firm maritime roots

It has been crucial for PLH Arkitekter to design the headquarters’ approximately 15,500 square meters so that it specifically meets DFDS' wants and needs, Søren Mølbak explains:

“We have, so to speak, thrown the traditional approach to office construction overboard and designed a building based on DFDS’ maritime identity. With inspiration taken from a ship’s structure, we have placed parking at the bottom, followed by offices on succeeding floors, and finally common areas such as the canteen, auditorium and meeting rooms at the top. Thus, the journey up through the building constantly leads to new, exciting destinations.”

Common areas and office spaces are all carefully located to get the most out of the unique surroundings. Through large soundproof ​windows, employees and visitors can watch DFDS’ Oslo ferry as it sails in and out, while Øresund's fresh ocean air and breathtaking views can be enjoyed from the two roof terraces.

Sets the course for the working environment of the future

Architecture, space planning, look & feel – everything has been done by PLH Arkitekter to support DFDS’ vision of an active and adaptable work environment. Designated areas with allocated desks is a thing of the past. Instead, a dynamic work environment has been built up around free seating and differently furnished zones that can be selected and deselected depending on the work tasks.

The general focus on functionality and flexibility is also reflected in one of the building's largest rooms:

“Instead of a classic auditorium with rows of chairs, we have used the experiences that the place should give the users as a starting point and developed it around this. The open and flexible areas make it possible to host various guest events in the morning, while the room can be used by the staff for yoga or badminton in the afternoon. In this way, added value is created for both the business, the customers and the employees,” says Bine Soelberg, Creative Director at PLH Arkitekter.

From bow to stern, PLH's interior design team has also made sure that the HQ reflects the DFDS identity.

This has been done by working with the colors from the company's CVI (Corporate Visual Identity) and transferring them to the building's basic components such as carpets and café areas. Tiles in delicate hues reflect daylight just like ocean waves and natural materials are added in light, Scandinavian tones. In some places these are combined with patterns and different types of wood.

Guests are welcome on board

It is not only DFDS’ employees who benefit from the new building. It has been important for the shipping company that the headquarters serve as a positive contribution to the neighborhood. This is why PLH has given the facade large glass sections that open up onto the surrounding area and invites outsiders inside the building with a café on the ground floor that is open to locals and tourists alike. Furthermore, a new public space helps to create a living environment with maritime plants that increase local biodiversity.

- Read more about the new DFDS headquarters here

Building design:
Søren Mølbak
CEO and Partner, Architect MAA
T: +45 2720 0591

Interior design:
Bine Soelberg
Creative Director - Interiors, Associate, Spatial Designer
T: +45 2620 8183

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch

Selection of loose furniture and graphics: RITA arch