From a Cellular to Open-Plan Office Layout


Even in an era of remote and hybrid working, the office still plays a key role. Because people can virtually pick and choose where they work, companies are focusing even more strongly on making offices pleasant places to be.

As part of the revamp of a 1990s office building in Mainz, financial services provider Coface wanted a versatile room structure and office furniture that boosts employee well-being, productivity, and health.


At a glance


The team at designfunktion, commissioned with the project’s interior design, pondered how to turn the new premises into intuitive-to-use, hybrid spaces to reflect a human-centered workplace.

These criteria took the planners straight to Wilkhahn. After all, at Wilkhahn, people and their needs have always governed the development of new furniture. The company’s maxim has always beenthat anyone who designs furniture or spaces, designs the environment and relationship of people with each other.

The art of redesigning the Coface space from its cellular layout to a modern open-plan office involved, above all, using versatile office furniture that meets personal and communal needs and has a consistent design throughout.

We wanted our offices to be open plan and tweaked to allow new styles of working. We didn’t want any walls, doors, or obvious hierarchies. Wilkhahn’s office furniture with its crisp forms and broad color palette was ideal for the modern, new-work interior-design concept. The furniture has featured in our company for many years, ultimately because it’s such good value.

Mario Salzmann, Coface’s facility manager

Multipurpose furniture for changing settings

For the redesign of its office premises in Mainz, Coface is aiming for a modern working culture, flat hierarchies and an open-plan office space

  • Rooms to retreat to for deep work
  • Rooms to relax in and chat – from meeting rooms to kitchens, a cafeteria and lounges, project spaces for co-working and networking
  • Settings for more physically active days at the office
  • Multipurpose Occo conference chairs
  • Ergonomic AT Mesh office task chairs for dynamic sitting

People involved in the project liaised closely with the team at Wilkhahn and an interior design concept for Coface was born. The goal was to create an open-plan space to work in that could be used in different ways and whose smart design encouraged people to change locations frequently and literally add more movement to the working day.

In terms of creativity and productivity, this aspect was crucial to the planners because it prompts those chance encounters and chats that are so invaluable. Wilkhahn’s furniture was ideal for the dynamic design of the interior. The items are lightweight, versatile and stand for well-being, collaboration, identity, and a sense of purpose in the workplace.

A chair for any occasion: At Coface, the Occo multipurpose chair is impressive for its attractive shape and fresh colors in any setting. Photos: Andreas Rudolph

Versatile seating with plenty of customization options

The planners picked the perfect match for the new premises in Mainz in the shape of Wilkhahn’s Occo multipurpose chair – and not just because the shell-structure chair is impressive for its ergonomic comfort. The chair range by designer duo Jehs + Laub is conceived as a modular solution and offers a wide choice of over 70 models. The planning team collaborated with Wilkhahn to produce customized versions that match the company’s corporate identity.

Depending on where it’s placed at Coface, the contemporary Occo comes with an aluminum star base, or as a four-leg chair and sometimes a task chair with or without casters. As a result, there’s a pervasive design, from the cafeteria to the conference rooms throughout. Photos: Andreas Rudolph

AT Mesh – a healthy, ergonomic option

Designfunktion even picked a superbly comfortable office chair for the traditional desk-based areas. The chair had to meet the criteria in terms of ergonomics and a consistent design language. The planners placed top priority on encouraging people who spend all day at desks to move about. Wilkhahn’s product developers have been grappling with this issue for decades. Following case studies carried out with the German Sport University Cologne, they produced three-dimensional seating based on free-to-move kinematics. The latest AT Mesh model with its mesh-covered backrest is a typical example and quickly became the favorite for the new office environment.

Healthy working in motion: AT Mesh’s free-to-move flexibility helps prevent backache and improves health, well-being, and concentration. Photo: (left) Andreas Rudolph / (right) Wilkhahn

The planning team was particularly delighted with the “intuitive comfort” because the AT Mesh office chair provides healthy and comfortable seating to co-workers – however tall they are or whatever they weigh . Thanks to the tiltable backrest bearer with an automatic weight adjustment mechanism, AT adapts perfectly to the weight of the person sitting on it. What’s more, the seat shell is suspended in a self-centering manner so that the body always maintains its center of gravity, whatever the posture adopted. People just need to sit down, adjust the seating height and they’re done! The result is that users automatically reap the benefits of dynamic sitting, which improves circulation, concentration, well-being and keeps backs healthy. Another advantage of AT Mesh is its breathable and practical mesh covering.

Wilkhahn’s dynamic seating has helped make Coface’s new workplace a motivating and appealing place. As a result, the new offices offer identity in times when workspaces are flexible.

Used in the project:

Occo conference chair

AT Mesh office chair


Further inspiration:

How to use the Occo modular chair system

Healthy, future-proof office working


More in-depth info:

Wilkhahn free-to-move kinematics in collaboration with the German Sport University Cologne


Further information:



Jehs + Laub


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