Creating an attractive image

Denmark meets Sweden in Poland. High up in one of Warsaw’s recently built landmarks, Danish property developer Sjaelso meets Sweden’s Kinnarps. Interior design is one of several ways of creating a distinctive image for the company in this rapidly growing market.

Jan Christensen, CEO of the Polish subsidiary of Sjaelso, an international player in the area of property development, looks out over Warsaw, the city he has called home for eleven years. Outside his new offices in the centre of the capital, directly alongside the central station, history meets the future. Through a glass wall, gigantic bright-red construction cranes can be seen working on the sail-like skyscraper designed by architect David Libeskind. The other glass wall looks onto the site where another of the world’s best known architects, Zaha Hadid, will be embellishing the city with her 250 metre high Lilium Tower. There is no doubt that this area is one of the city’s most expansive, which applies equally to Sjaelso. At the beginning of 2007, three people started the company in an office of 50 square metres. Today, 17 employees share the new premises covering 500 square meters.

“Before the move, we had a wish-list based on an idea that the furniture should both harmonize with and enhance Sjaelso’s services and products – highquality residential, office and retail premises. In view of the tough competition in our sector, theoffice with its fittings and ambiance was one of several ways available to highlight our corporate vision. Good interior design enhances its attraction for both customers and employees, and we aim to project the image of Sjaelso as a young, dynamic and attractive Scandinavian company,” says Jan Christensen before continuing:

“It was, and continues to be, important to use the interior design to show that we look after our employees well, that we give them the best in terms of design, quality, ergonomics and function.We also insist on good communications, which has resulted in an open office landscape where everyone feels inteamwork is absolutely vital in our projects. If we can offer a good working environment with exceptional extras then I am convinced we will have more committed employees, which benefits the development of the entire company. For an information-oriented company such as Sjaelso it is of utmost importance to attract the right kind of staff and persuade them to stay.

A positive start
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the office design is its cosy feeling – thanks to the open kitchen, an inviting group of sofas,desk lamps at the workplaces, and elevator desks for more informal meetings. Distinguished, elegant tones in warm brown and beige are complemented by Scandinavian nuances in the form of oak and birch. One of the meeting rooms is painted bright green, which creates a dynamic contrast.

Jan Christensen tells us that the reaction of many customers has been “Ah, you really do have a wonderful place here!” which creates a very positive mood for a meeting.

“Because customers receive such a good impression of our office, it’s easy for them to assume that we deliver the same high quality in everything,” he says, and adds that the next step is to find works of art that will enhance the cosy feeling even further.

Asked about why the customer opted for Kinnarps, he replies that it was thanks to the Scandinavian style of the range together with a highly committed and dedicated interior designer from day one.

The people involved from the Kinnarps side are Kamil Kapcinski and architect Anna Kopec.

“We started in August 2007 and met almost daily for a month. Each step in the process gave us new insights and together we succeeded in taking the initial vision a step further – the end result was a positive surprise for both me and the customer. Our cooperation was characterised by a typical Scandinavian way of working – flexible and relaxed – just like the result”, concludes Anna Kopec.

Susanne Helgeson