“A reflection of life”, w&v, 2020

By Peter Hammer

A design studio is not just any place. It is not just about providing employees with an adequate, or in other words, pleasant and functional environment. Or to confront visitors with the topic “design”. Perhaps even to provoke. There are many more different aspects to the concept of living, the managers of Blackspace said to themselves when the plans for the new domicile were drawn up. Now the Blackhouse is ready. The new “office” for the 60 employees in the heart of Munich comprises six floors. Three are reserved for meetings and three for “doing”. And no two rooms are the same. Nor are the rooms in which the employees stay, work, exchange ideas or simply catch their breath.

Flooding with beauty

People spend around a third of their lives in the office. That’s where almost all important decisions are made. “Why not flood the office with beauty then?” asks founder and managing director Michael Keller. “Beauty” has many facets. On one floor, for example, floors, walls, ceilings and other surfaces are covered with carpet material. Not off the peg, of course. Even the rolling container for the post office is not exempt from this. The interior design focused on mid-century objects with clean lines, organic shapes and streamlined design. “They all have a history,” says Keller. They were chosen not only for their sustainability, “but because they’ve been around for more than 50 years. And that speaks of quality and durability.”

The Blackhouse tries to depict life with its functions and needs. So office home instead of home office. That’s why there is a bar, a lounge, several kitchens, a cinema and even a garage with e-scooters. A special feature is “The Fuld”. This is a fully equipped apartment that can be rented for business or private events. An alternative to sterile hotel rooms and anonymous meeting rooms.

Labs on two floors

Meeting and dialogue are two elementary needs for the creative process, they say. The Blackhouse wants to be open for this, host both individuals and groups of various kinds. Michael Keller: “That is why we invite people to workshops: Green City, Cultural Talks, International Patrons, or we bring in organizations like 2 Grad. These people can change the world.”

The task is completely different in the labs, which are housed on two floors. New ideas are developed there. The Blackspace formula for this is called “Re-Invent the Experience”. “Re” means listening, understanding the other side. “Invent” asks what is the idea that helps the organization, the brand and the product. And “the Experience” stands for the implementation. “Sounds simple, but is the one that takes the most energy.”