The Sparkasse’s headquarters on Schweriner Strasse in Bielefeld are a landmark from the 1970s and visible from quite a distance. Built in 1977 to plans drawn up by Bielefeld architect Hellmut Streich as a horizontally structured concrete building typical of the time with vast pergolas and parapets all the way round, it was considered a prime example of a good urban planning project back then. It constituted a “definitive landmark” (as it was described when opened) for the town’s new Sieker neighbourhood. Around 40 years later, however, the building (and above all the interior) no longer fulfilled the requirements of a modern banking building. Sparkasse Bielefeld commissioned local architects bhp brüchner-hüttemann pasch to remodel the entrance facade and the entire entrance and gut the interior. This affected the self-service areas, the conference room, the company restaurant and café.
The result is an interior with a completely new impact that’s invitingly appealing to customers and employees as a comfortable and pleasant place to be. The architects from bhp moved the interior from the 1970s building into the 21st century by creating clear zones and a bright concept for the paint and materials. Oak and white as the key colour for the ceilings, walls and in-built furniture, as well as accent colours in anthracite and the corporate colour red, lend the space an attractive look and generous-sized panes of glass between each of the rooms ensure transparency and a feeling of spaciousness. Large pieces of furniture, such as the reception counter in the lobby or islands of seats in the café or company restaurant, give the space structure and help make navigation intuitive, which is aided subtly by changes of material in the flooring and ceiling.
As a contrast to the perpendicular nature of the 70s building, the architects chose fluid lines that reach their stylish climax in the café: here, the walls are merely clad with slender oak louvers that conceal ventilation and acoustic equipment. Round red rugs form islands for large groups of seating with Wilkhahn’s Occo chairs (design: jehs + laub) with their counterparts in the form of rings of pendant luminaires in the spacious lounge-like area. The stylish Occo open shell-structure chair is a perfect match for the classy interior. The architects chose it in white and anthracite – each with light-coloured or dark-grey seat cushions – also for the interior of the company restaurant. The furniture was delivered by pro office Lemgo / Bielefeld.
They designed the large conference and presentation room as a clearly defined rectangle. The space has Wilkhahn’s white Sito cantilever chairs (design: wiege), which on their own or in groups cleverly match the lines of the room. An ingeniously designed feature determines the appeal and comfort of this cantilever chair: similarly to bridge construction, the forces in the underframe are conducted away via braces so that the cross section of the tubing is smaller and the rocking effect increased at the same time. For this space, bhp’s architects selected a model with light grey seat cushioning and added a few odd red covers as discreet hints to the client’s corporate identity