The setting is the Aarhus suburb Åbyhøj. From the outside, the building is a relatively anonymous domicile situated in an area with many smaller companies. A simple and pragmatic house made of yellow bricks, horizontal window bands, a flat roof and large zinc eaves. The interior of the internationally recognized design company is a different kind of raw.

Troldtekt, Prodesign
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, architect MAA

Previously, the building belonged to the steel and engineering partner Lemvigh-Müller, but in 2006, the construction company Olav de Linde began renovating the building with a view to letting out the offices for businesses. An extra floor was added to the building as well as a roof terrace of 55 square metres facing west. One year after, the building was move-in-ready and had been transformed from an outdated industrial building into a modern two-storey office building plus a large basement.

Reversible furnishing

The concept of Olav de Linde is simple and sympathetic. The buildings are updated and somewhat furnished. The tenants can then add more furniture, partitions, lighting and ceilings. However, all of the furnishing must be reversible, which means that it must be removable when the tenants move, without damaging or changing anything of the building.

When ProDesign had to move in, the setting of the domicile on Trindsøvej 11 was a raw and naked industrial hall. The company therefore turned to the architectural office Merete Nielsen who has many years of experience with furnishing and renovation. Architect MAA, Merete Nielsen says:

“I always take the existing rooms as a starting point, and in this project, the rustic industrial environment was very inspiring. ProDesign needed open-plan offices and it was not an easy task to create a comfortable office environment in the echoing concrete halls. To me, it has been important to create a visual sense of calmness and a structure which partitions the areas into smaller sections. Furthermore, it has been important to be true to the industrial environment and the raw construction.”

Acoustic suspended ceilings

“A good acoustic environment is crucial. Therefore I have chosen to install Troldtekt which fits very well into the existing environment but also seems refined compared to the in situ moulded grey concrete. The cement-bonded wood wool panels have been installed as a suspended ceiling which helps define and partition the areas. Above each ceiling there is an integrated power point for electrics and lighting from ‘On The Spot’. The panels are framed by a standard edging profile."

“If we had installed the Troldtekt panels everywhere, the result would be dull. The limited area of the suspended ceilings allows the concrete to be seen, and at the same time, it is very easy to remove the panels later. Moreover, the lines of the corridor ceilings are kept clear, and here, the lighting is also different. This creates variation in the experience of the rooms. A few light partitions have been placed around meeting rooms and offices but in fact, it is an open-plan office. The partitions are primarily transparent glass walls, and those that are are more closed still have glass at the top between the ceiling and wall.”

Remarkable difference

The mood is informal and you clearly sense that the employees are comfortable in the bright rooms. Creative Director at ProDesign A/S, Allan Rasmussen, is very excited about the acoustics:

“It’s fantastic! It’s incredible how great the effect of the panels is in a house like this with hard concrete surfaces and glass walls. In the other end of the building, we have a showroom where Troldtekt has not been installed – and the difference is remarkable. In December, we had a Christmas party with children, where we danced around the tree and ran around the house singing. In the large, open room, the sound was very bad and there was a horrible echo. As soon as we ran into the office space with the Troldtekt ceiling, the sound was completely different. When you stepped into the room, the acoustics changed significantly. To me, this was a very convincing experience.”