Client projects: Universal-Investment

Universal-Investment-Gesellschaft mbH (sp. z o.o.) Poland Branch

3,000 m2

Hight5ive Building, Cracow

Number of workstations:

Investment completion date:
February 2020

FBT – Pracownia Architektury i Urbanistyki - Anna Tomaszewska, Monika Tutaj-Wojnowska and Katarzyna Miastkowska - Fruit Orchard Interior Design

Extraordinary design of the Universal-Investment office in Cracow

We welcome you to visit the Cracow office of Universal-Investment, one of the leading European fund service platforms, designed by FBT Pracownia Architektury i Urbanistyki (FBT Architecture and Urban Planning Studio) and Fruit Orchard Interior Design, furnished by Kinnarps.

Established in 1968, Universal-Investment Group, based in Frankfurt am Main, is the biggest independent provider of investment products and services related to the administration of institutional investor and asset manager funds in the region of German-speaking countries. The total value of their portfolio is around 521 billion euro.

After the elaborated process of selecting the location of the branch in Poland, as part of the company’s growth plans, a decision was made in favour of Cracow, which has the potential to hire qualified employees, increasing the international competitiveness of the company. The prestigious Hight5ive building was chosen as the location of the Polish branch.

Open and comfortable

The company’s new office was designed by FBT Pracownia Architektury i Urbanistyki and Fruit Orchard Interior Design. Kinnarps was a comprehensive equipment supplier.

The Universal-Investment offices, located in one of the most modern buildings in Cracow, create a coherent whole. Anyone who enters the premises is welcomed by a spacious café-like area, with a large number of work spaces to hold discussions and meet other people. In the vicinity, there are conference rooms for creative work and tasks requiring focus.

"Our goal was to create a harmonious space that respects the diverse needs of our employees - at times individual focused work, and, at other times, collaborative team work. There is a place for rest and thought, and, most importantly for the financial industry, new ideas. The colours and quality of the furniture and materials have an impact on employee well-being. We aimed to create a place which, thanks to its comfort, quality and attention to details, encourages us to work with the same features - meaningful and of high quality"

Aneta Pilch, Country Head Poland at Universal Investment

In modern offices, where individual assignments intertwine with formal meetings and the company’s social life, space has many important roles. It is not only a tool for implementing the business strategy and emphasising the prestige of the brand, a place for performing official duties and receiving visitors, but also a decisive factor on the effectiveness and comfort of work, and quality of interactions for which it provides an inspiring scenography. The location of the rest and refreshment area, with a view of the centre of the historic city, is an example of the approach through which employees not only have a comfortable place to work and relax, but also an opportunity to get away from their routine tasks and change their perspective.

"Our cooperation included furnishing an open-space area located on two floors with 300 workstations, with accompanying meeting places and conference rooms of various sizes. In a spacious chill-out area combined with a kitchenette, there are also design elements customised according to the architect’s design, provided by Kinnarps" – says Paweł Łatka, Key Account Manager at Kinnarps Polska.



The Plus office chairs with the FreeFloat mechanism and the electrically adjustable Series [P] desks, can be easily adapted to your personal preference - for example by changing the position of the armrests, headrest or table top height. Additionally, the office chair encourages active sitting, and the desk allows you to work standing up, which add ergonomic value to the workspace.

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Design details in meeting spaces stimulate the imagination and support users in their creative work. The Fendo chairs take up little space while providing maximum seating comfort and the Oberon table makes it easier to get things done thanks to intelligent technical solutions.

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Apollo armchairs with a swivel base allow you to sit back and relax with a cup of coffee. Stackable Cap stools can be used as a table or additional seating during spontaneous meetings. The high upholstered backrest of the Apollo chair and the felt finish of the Cap stools also reduce reverberation for a better acoustic environment.

Steps towards the goal

The client appreciated the engagement, professionalism and logistic capacity of the project team, which had no easy task ahead of them. Due to the use of many products of different brands, the process of selecting particular models of furniture, fabrics, finishes and details required precision, but was very rewarding and creative at the same time. The application of many custom elements, made according to the architects’ wishes, called for the precise coordination of lead times and deliveries, which took place in stages and required supervision over construction and installation. The cooperation of all teams was very efficient.

"The Universal-Investment offices are one of the most interesting projects in which I have had the opportunity to participate. Due to the diversity of the applied solutions, it required the involvement of many people. We feel that we have fulfilled the entrusted task well. When we see the result of the whole team’s work, we are proud that together we have managed to create a great place on the business map of Cracow" – added Małgorzata Wala, Key Account Manager at Kinnarps Polska.

Elegant and energetic

The Universal-Investment offices are predominantly in shades of grey. Nevertheless, thanks to the geometric patterns of wallpapers and carpets, corresponding shapes of the furniture, various textures of the materials and very good lighting, this space is full of energy. Natural wood, used both in interior design elements and in the furniture finishing, warms up the atmosphere of the interior. The use of wood not only creates a cosy meeting and working place, but also exposes the contrast with the cold colours of the fabrics.

"The cooperation with the client was very interesting and work on the project gave us a lot of joy. As with every project, while listening to the investor’s opinions in order to meet their expectations, we learned a lot about ourselves. It was challenging to reconcile our desire to create an unconventional design with an individual character, with the client’s suggestions to tone and calm down the surface and give it a character consistent with the company’s profile. This is why we used grey colours in contrast with cool shades of blue and geometric patterns on the carpet and walls. The jewel in the crown can be found in the original graphic designs by Polish artists – Tomasz Opaliński and Sonia Hensler – on display in the office" - says Anna Federowicz-Tomaszewska, the co-author of the project.

The character of the Universal-Investment interior is emphasised by consistent colours, bold patterns and richness of textures which bring out contrasts, making the interior interesting not only for visitors but also for regulars.

Starting from the very first consultations with the client, we were thinking about the style of the Universal-Investment offices in the context of elegance and class that would reflect the character and uniqueness of the brand. The challenge was to make the interiors cosy and to create a nice place to work, while maintaining their mature character. For us, it is crucial that the office is not only beautiful to look at, but also comfortable during everyday use - adds Katarzyna Miastkowska, the architect.

Photos: Fotomohito

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