From the drawing board to reality

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) is moving to new facilities in Sankt Kjelds Gård (SKG) in Copenhagen’s Østerbro district and has selected PLH Architects to prepare a basis for decision-making examining the pros and cons of various interior design plans. PLH spent the summer getting to know the organization through a series of workshops and group interviews with selected managers and staff, and the team is now busy translating DMI’s DNA into a modern, flexible workplace layout.

When it comes to workplace design, PLH Arkitekter is one of Scandinavia’s leading studios. Spearheading the effort is Paulette Christophersen, who has helped design office environments for everyone from local organizations to global C25 companies for more than thirty years. As a partner in PLH, Paulette has put together what she calls “Denmark’s strongest team”, comprising specialists in space planning, workplace strategy, change management and interior design.

“Our approach to workplace design is unique because we always – and without exception – insist on putting people first. We are experts in analyzing how the physical environment affects us as people – our behaviors, our emotions, our well-being. That’s why we never start by looking at the physical layout of the company, but by understanding the people who work there. What are their visions and ambitions, what is the culture like? How does the company see itself and where do they want to go in the future? We then set about ‘translating’ this into an office design that creates the very best conditions for the company to achieve what it actually wants to achieve.”

- Paulette Christophersen

Putting people first

With every design decision, the PLH team examines whether a particular solution will positively impact the people who will be working at the location. Will the solution increase well-being and add value for employees? Whether we are aware of it or not, the physical environment affects us, playing a role in whether we feel good in our jobs – whether we are inspired and can flourish. Our surroundings are crucial to our quality of life, job satisfaction and creativity, and they are a visual reminder of who we are, how we work and why we do the things we do.
This mindset is a cornerstone of PLH’s work with workplace design, and PLH draws on a plethora of experiences from similar projects when analyzing the interior design of Sankt Kjelds Gård.

Design supports a flexible working life

Covid-19 has revolutionized our working lives. We have seen how the potential of working from home and holding digital meetings offers enormous flexibility and the possibility of improved work-life balance. According to PLH, this new reality also raises the bar and places increasing demands on companies. Workplace facilities must now be able to support virtual work and collaboration to a much greater extent, and as employees spend less time together with their colleagues in the office, it is even more important that the physical environment helps communicate the organizational culture, signal the workplace’s shared values and support cohesion and cooperation among team members. This is therefore a core objective that PLH is addressing in the interior design and layout plans for SKG.

The team from PLH includes Paulette Christophersen, Interior Designer and Partner at PLH Arkitekter, Karin Tranberg Schjerbeck, Architect and Interior Designer, and Maria Haag, Change Process Specialist. Their competences in both architectural and interior design, as well as change and learning processes, will all play a role in preparing a basis for informed decision-making for the DMI steering group.

PLH's plan of action:

Step 1: PLH holds initial meeting with the DMI steering group on strategic objectives of the move.

Step 2: PLH collects information through group interviews with both managers and employees, as well as visits to DMI.

Step 3: PLH identifies core objectives and begins work on outlining appropriate design solutions for DMI. An interior design group consisting of employee representatives will supplement with info at the first workshop.

Step 4: PLH outlines various plans for the layout and presents these to the interior design group at a second workshop.

Step 5: PLH prepares a basis for informed decision-making for the steering group, including a needs assessment outlining the needs of DMI and how the interior design can support those needs.