PLH Arkitekter has designed a new Copenhagen HQ for the shipping company DFDS

PLH Arkitekter won the competition to design a new Copenhagen headquarters for the shipping company DFDS. The new premises will be located on ’The Marble Pier’/’Marmormolen’ in the area of The Copenhagen Port called ’Nordhavn’. The beautiful location on the dock across from DFDS’ own ferry terminal, overlooking the entry and exit of The Copenhagen-Oslo Ferry, is ideal for the shipping company. The terminology from DFDS’ own world is transferred to the design and functions of the office building. The iconic design makes the DFDS-culture come alive and underlines the maritime identity of the company. At the same time, the welcoming building supports a modern and activity based work environment. The building can also facilitate activities and events, contributing to an integrated DFDS-experience for customers, visitors and collaborators.

Ideal location on Marmormolen, close to DFDS’ own terminal area
The new headquarters for DFDS are to be placed on ’The Marble Pier’ in The Copenhagen harbour, situated on the edge of the city and the harbour, and with a view over the Olso Boat. The office building creates balance on the pier – with a visual context and connection in between the new building and its neighbours: The striking white UN building and The Marble City. The location right across from DFDS’ own terminal area next to the entry and exit of the Olso Ferry – and, with a view over the city, the sky and the ocean, is ideal for DFDS and strengthens the maritime identity of the shipping company.

The ground floor contains a café with outdoor areas. Around the café, in the front end of the building facing the ocean, the facade of the office building will be transparent creating an open and inviting atmosphere.

Inspiration from the world of DFDS
The maritime world of DFDS has been an inspirational source of the architectural concept, the location on the pier and the placement of the functions inside the building where the more exciting and outwardly directed functions are placed in the upper part of the building with a great view. The elongated building is placed on the dock with a view over DFDS’ own ferry terminal, and a light zigzag in the layout of the building creates a wavy architectural expression forming the illusion of a moving building. Rooftop terraces in the gable of the two top floors give employees and visitors an amazing view over the water.

”In the initial stages it has been incredibly exciting to work closely together with DFDS to create an office building with an activity based work environment and a design that visualizes DFDS’ DNA. We are very happy that DFDS has received the design in such a positive way. Now, we are looking forward to the process of creating a beautiful, iconic and modern office building at a central and amazing location.”
- Søren Mølbak, architect and CEO in PLH Arkitekter

”DFDS has grown significantly and now needs to be able to gather the HQ-employees on a single address. At the same time, we are looking forward to moving in to a brand new office building providing us with the best possible framework for an inspiring working day – and giving us many facilities that make it easy to integrate sports and movement into our professional lives. The extremely attractive surroundings will also be a great advantage when recruiting new employees.”
- CEO Torben Carlsen, DFDS

An activity based working environment
The office floors are placed in the middle of the building, on the floors 3-5. The idea of departments has been abolished, and DFDS has chosen a workplace design with free seating, where 560 workstations cover the needs of 700 employees. The design of the office areas are based on an activity based workplace design supporting different working methods and forms of collaboration across the organisation – and at the same time giving the individual its own freedom to choose the surroundings that best suits his or her needs.

To make the most of the daylight, in each end of the building, facing the waterside façade, an atrium covering two floors has been placed. The two atriums open up the building and support interaction in between departments. The atriums also support knowledge sharing as well as an open culture of interaction and the collaborative culture of DFDS: The DFDS Way. The atriums create a great flow through the building making it easier to meet naturally across the organisation. The transparency created by the atriums underlines a visual and mental connection in between the employees. The narrow construction area leads to an elongated building where the workstations are placed along the windows as undisturbed and bright as possible. The elongated layout is broken down with the introduction of angles – creating new views and experiences for employees and visitors.

Multi-functional auditorium for sports and lectures
The outwardly directed functions of the building, such as meeting rooms, auditorium, canteen and rooftop terraces, are placed on the top floors. This gives guests the possibility to immediately reach the top of the building where they can enjoy the spectacular view. The canteen is placed on the floor. After working hours the canteen can be converted into a restaurant, open to the public. An auditorium covering two floors is placed next to the canteen – also open to the public. The auditorium can be used for lectures, product launches, employee events, sports activities etc. DFDS has a strong focus on the health of employees and a wish to strengthen the body and mind of employees. For this reason the auditorium is designed as a multi room convertible into an exercise area. The auditorium can be transformed into two badminton courts, a yoga room, a meditation area or a softball track. The employee fitness room is in the basement.

The building will have solar panels and green sedum on the roof. The entire building will be certified to DGNB Gold-standards with the energy label BR18, low energy class.


- The building is designed for 700 employees

- Total area of 15.500 m2 – including 3.200 m2 basement and parking

- Tenant: DFDS

- Owner: PensionDanmark

- Location: ’The Marble Pier’, Marmorvej, 2100 Copenhagen Ø.

- Ready to move in at the end of 2021 (expected)

- Sustainability certification: DGNB, category: Gold

- Energy Label: BR18 Low energy class

”We are looking forward to investing in the construction of yet another attractive property, that will provide a great framework for the development of DFDS many years ahead. With a tenant of this calibre with very high demands for environmentally sound quality materials, indoor climate and energy savings we have ensured our members good and stable investment returns for a number of years.”
- Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO in PensionDanmark