Mutual give and take for
the sake of the environment

We all know that concern for the environment is high on the Kinnarps agenda – a fact that adds extra interest to the cooperation recently initiated between Kinnarps and IUCN in Switzerland.The agreement signed in April, together with architects and other specialists, focuses on the interior design and furnishing of a new main office in Gland, 25 kilometres from Geneva. But it also proposes a broader process of give-and-take.

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, remains a little-known organisation despite having worked with environmental questions on an international scale since 1948. It counts more than 1,100 governments and nature conservation associations among its members, more than 11,000 scientists and experts in more than 160 countries as well as 1,000 staff in 60 offices throughout the  world. Now it is time for IUCN to build a new head office, a Conservation Centre designed to reinforce its position as the world’s largest and oldest environmental network. The building will be a landmark for the future and a model for tomorrow’s ecological architecture, according to the team from AGPS Architecture Zürich, who won the competition for this building two years ago.

Among its aims are to use 22 percent less fresh water than comparable structures, and that 85 percent of its energy consumption should come from renewable sources, especially solar and geothermal power.

The new building will show that a “green office” can be aesthetically appealing, comfortable and not least financially viable. To reach this goal, IUCN has been advised by a team of experts: the architects were complemented by artists, landscape designers, biologists, engineers and a group of companies who are all sector leaders in sustainable design and construction. Kinnarps is one of them.

IUCN chose Kinnarps as a partner not least thanks to its “eco-friendly production methods, consistent use of FSC or other certified wood and its welcoming attitude to the European environmental standard”.

“The IUCN Conservation Centre should show, both in its building standards and furnishing, how high environmental demands can go hand in hand with advanced technology, good design and tough budgetary constraints,” says Birgitta Skoglund from Kinnarps, who coordinates all contacts between our company and IUCN.

This type of cooperation aims to strengthen both partners.

“We can learn from IUCN how to work in an even more environmentally oriented way by participating in materials research, for example. We can familiarise ourselves with various environmental certification systems used around the world in order to satisfy the market demands even better. Together with IUCN, we can help to put pressure on suppliers to satisfy more rigorous environmental standards. From its side, the organisation can benefit from our know-how in user needs and our approach to product development and manufacturing.

The building has a total area of 6,500 square meters including atrium, terrace and balcony, and accommodates 120–180 office workplaces on a total of 2,700 square metres. Everything is planned to be ready at the end of  next year, so the office furniture will be delivered at the beginning of 2010. The furnishing solutions will be selected from the Kinnarps range,believes Birgitta Skoglund, but Materia and Skandiform will also be represented, especially for meeting places, chill-out rooms and accessories. To make the right choice and ensure satisfied users over the long term, IUCN followed a suggestion from Kinnarps to carry out an on-site analysis to determine their employees’ wish-list as regards to the furniture for the future.

“It’s vital for both IUCN, the architects and Kinnarps to understand users’ needs and for the total work environment to meet high ergonomic demands as well as offering a pleasant and stimulating work environment.”

Lotta Jonson