Creating innovation spaces for clients and developers: CSMM de-signs the new Reply Lab in FIAT’s legendary Lingotto building
Munich, May 31.l 2022 – Reply tasked the architecture and consulting firm CSMM with developing a distinctive corporate interior design for its headquarters in FIAT’s former Lingotto factory in Turin. A section of the new office known as “Area 42” features co-design workshops where Reply clients can collaborate with the Reply development team on building and testing prototypes in a real-world environment. The interior design of these innovative research, recreational and office spaces expands on the concept CSMM has already introduced at six other Reply sites, including the Munich office. From the outset, the goal has always been to translate the Italian IT consulting firm’s brand identity into successful workplace design. As such, “Area 42” is a visual rendering of the innovation potential of Reply’s client solutions utilising state-of-the-art technologies from robotics and next-generation mobility to virtual reality.
This is the latest workplace to open in the gradual roll-out of the corporate interior design CSMM developed in 2016 and has continued to further refine across all the firm’s locations worldwide. With roughly 10,000 staff, Reply has become one of Italy’s fastest growing companies since its founding in 1996. The 18,000-square-meter workplace recently opened at the firm’s new Turin headquarters is the perfect synthesis of a historic milestone of Italian business history with the new work vision of an up-and-coming tech company. Showing true Italian “grandezza” and the regalia of its iconic business history, the Lingotto was considered the world’s most modern automobile factory when it opened in the 1920s.
Referencing Turin as the home and birthplace of the iconic Fiat brand
The project managers at Reply see the former FIAT headquarters as an inspirational springboard for their visionary workplace. “Developing the concept for “Area42” is just one part of our wide-ranging redevelopment project in Turin,” explains Reply CEO Tatiana Rizzante. "We have honoured the demands of the architectural heritage authorities in the renovations of this icon of modern Italian architecture and created satisfying as well as stimulating spaces for day-to-day work, an exchange of ideas and serious research.” One of the most challenging aspects for CSMM at the new Turin offices was the structural fabric of the building, some of which is protected under heritage conservation.
CSMM’s concept included widening the corridors to make room for spacious open-plan layouts and interior landscapes that reflect the firm’s functional hierarchy. There are various focal areas for solo or team work, such as co-creation workshops, retreat spaces for deep-concentration work and research labs. These state-of-the-art labs and research facilities are a defining element of this experiential office design. Different shapes and colours are repeated in the furnishings, right down to the choice of materials and the wall and floor coverings. The distinctive colour palette makes the office immediately recognisable as a Reply workplace for staff as well as clients; the communal spaces such as lounges and social hubs share the “look and feel” with other Reply offices. CSMM’s concept for the Reply corporate interior design received the German Design Award in 2020.
Strong corporate interior design as a growth factor for both clients and staff
To date, CSMM has designed and furnished more than 38,000 square metres of office space for Reply in Munich, Gutersloh, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, London, Berlin and Turin. “Throughout this gradual roll out, Reply has acknowledged the role this innovative office design plays in strengthening client relationships,” says Sven Bietau, Managing Partner at CSMM. “Our corporate interior design project for Reply has focused on people and research since the start. Working on the latest programming and coding languages, prototypes and digital gaming really gets the creative juices flowing – and that demands the right kind of work environment.” The Reply Labs are designed to allow the clients to slip into the role of developers and experience first-hand the way the firm’s innovative solutions will work for them.
The real power of co-creation is its ability to inspire – not only the clients, but everyone on staff as well, and this has always been a key driving force for the firm. Reply staff have access to a wide range of recreational activities in the communal areas of the office, while the hospitality spaces encourage social interaction and a vibrant exchange of ideas. As the Reply team sees it, “Our workplace is an active and constantly evolving ecosystem that should be as inspiring as it is relaxing for our staff.”
Bietau agrees: “In this digitally dominant era, the new work order has changed our understanding of the office: we now see it as a place to develop both professionally and personally, a place to be socially active and to find inspiration. The key driver for Reply’s impressive growth in the consulting industry is its people – and to develop the smart solutions that have become their brand signature, they need the right environment and equipment. The Reply Labs are experiential spaces designed with specific topics in mind, where teams work on ground-breaking R&D and envision the future.”
And at a time when effective employer branding is the key to recruiting success, candidates chose a prospective employer based on their prospects for job satisfaction and career development. “Our architects and workplace design specialists at CSMM have seen the positive effect it can have on employee motivation when the workplace design is spot on,” says Bietau. “In other words, when we succeed in translating our customer’s business philosophy into an experiential workplace. Just like we did in for Freeletics in Munich, where the workout and recreational spaces in our workplace design make everyday working life at this FitTech start-up more stimulating and inspiring. In the case of Reply, our design turns high-tech innovation into the day-to-day lived experience for both clients and staff.”
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