Client projects: BSBI - Berlin School of Business and Innovation

Project facts

Client:
Global University Systems (GUS)

Construction time:
15 months

Area:
5,000 m²

Completed:
July 2023

Photographer:
Annika Feuss
Angela Elbing (Portrait Roy Lavian)

Innovative educational design

BSBI creates a future-proof campus with Kinnarps

The face of education has changed in the fast-paced age of digitalisation and globalisation. But this change isn't just affecting teaching methods and curricula. The physical space where learning takes place has also undergone a transformation. At the new campus of the Berlin School of Business and Innovation (BSBI) in Berlin Neukölln, Kinnarps has helped to create a learning environment that allows students to immerse themselves in the world of their future workplaces.

Old building – new use

On a corner, diagonal to Karl-Marx-Straße in the busy district of Neukölln, lies the listed “Alte Post” building that used to house the post office. Its striking red brick facade has been shaping the character of the neighbourhood since 1899. The front sides have striking gables and are aligned to the two roads. Large, semi-circular window fronts with elements in renaissance style, as well as elaborate design elements from different eras make the building a major eye-catcher.

Letters no longer start their journey to destinations all over the world from this building. The site is now used by international students who attend lessons there in various courses of study. Global University Systems (GUS) group of companies has rented 5,000 square meters over three floors for its private university BSBI to create an innovative learning environment for 1,200 students and around 200 administrative employees. GUS, which owns 32 brands worldwide and runs 89 locations in 48 cities over 450,000 square metres, searches for, rebuilds and designs educational facilities to the highest professional level. Both management and academic leadership have their own requirements, which are used as a basis for making decisions on a new location.

”Stop, breathe and think about the environment...”

One of the most important decision criteria in every selection is sustainability, says Roy Lavian, Head of Property Development at GUS. The architect sees the reuse and continued use of existing buildings and their layouts as an important new architectural movement. "If you want to take responsibility for the planet and the environment, you have to adopt this approach, even if you have to make a few compromises along the way." For example, at BSBI Campus, instead of everything being split up, torn out or rebuilt, many of the existing offices were preserved, interior walls were retained and floor coverings left in place. Together with furniture from Kinnarps, the campus offers a harmonious mix of modern aesthetics and sustainable design that creates a sense of well-being for all users. Existing structures and materials were preserved and reused. "The main goal is to reduce the environmental footprint," says Roy Lavian. This "reuse" approach is more than just a trend; it's a statement.

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Space utilisation with Foldex tables and Leia chairs.

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Foldex tables are easy to move around, and can be folded to take up as little space as possible.

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Space utilisation with Leia stools only.

Flexibility and sustainability

The decision to choose Kinnarps also fitted in with this idea. Kinnarps impressed with its high-quality, durable and flexible product range. The tables, such as Foldex, are modular and mobile, making them easy to customise for different learning situations. They are equipped with castors and can easily be moved to other locations or folded away to one side.

The Origo desks was also an easy choice for the decision-makers, as a hook on the side allows students to hang their handbags directly next to them, increasing safety and comfort.

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The Fields series are available in different modules, with armchairs, sofas, pouffes and tables that can easily be adapted to different spaces. Chairs in the canteen, like Anagram, can be hung on the desks while, for example, cleaning the floor.

"The collaboration with our contact at Kinnarps was very harmonious, he always understood what we wanted and needed"

Roy Lavian – Head of Property Development at GUS

In addition to the product range, the decision-makers were also impressed by the interaction with the Kinnarps team: "The collaboration with our contact at Kinnarps was very harmonious, he always understood what we wanted and needed", says Lavian.

The fact that Kinnarps’ furniture is so flexible also supports the interior design concept. This is based on the approach used in gyms, where the arrangement of the devices is changed every three to six months to prevent visitors from getting bored. Based on this methodology, the aim is to regularly change the furniture in classrooms, so the learning environment remains interesting and motivating for students who spend several years there studying for their bachelor’s degree.

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Instagrammable

Kinnarps has furnished all areas, from the classrooms to the waiting areas, the lounges, the cafeteria, and the offices. Students want the place where they study to look good. "We have made sure that many areas are 'instagrammable' and we also offer our students a visual platform where they can share their experiences," says Roy Lavian.

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Learning spaces with modern office design

The educational facility has also been developed to resemble modern office design. The private university is no longer reminiscent of old universities with white tables and black chairs arranged on grey floors in many places. Instead, it wants to be a pioneer in design and functionality: "With us, students are based in learning environments that resemble modern office spaces and therefore help to prepare them for their future work environment," adds Lavian.

 

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The Space storage modules also move away from the traditional white finish. Fine, dark colours were chosen, despite the fact they require more care. This is also a statement. Many students and teaching staff spend more time at university than at home and there is a strong desire for a pleasant, homely atmosphere, which is why design was given priority over practicality when selecting the colour concept.

So, it’s no wonder that everyone feels comfortable here and expansion plans are already being discussed at the site.

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Sophisticated colour concept

The colour concept also contributes to this new impression. Ambience plays a key role in conveying knowledge. A common scenario: Students and teachers move furniture, which often leads to a chaotic environment. Roy Lavian and his team at BSBI adopted an innovative approach to counteract this chaos. Instead of relying on traditional white furniture, which is often perceived as monotonous and even tiring, they opted for a diverse range of colours. The classrooms have been designed in a harmonious colour combination of peach, coral and medium grey, as well as medium blue, light blue and medium grey in other spaces. A mix of different chairs always creates a good overall impression and a friendly and stimulating atmosphere. The red and blue concept has also been adopted in the other areas – red reflects the colour of the brick building, which projects its light through the windows, and medium blue absorbs the colour of the BSBI logo. Kinnarps Colour Studio (KCS) has a wide range of colours to choose from.

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