Located right next to Berliner Platz in Essen, just across from the Colosseum Theatre, the two buildings have proved to be real head turners since their construction at the end of 2018: On the left side is Medienhaus 1, a futuristic complex with a black façade that provides a good contrasting backdrop to the red and white FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE logo. To the right of that building is the media tower, a round tower structure with a silver façade. It’s more dainty than its counterpart with its polar opposite design, but it is by no means any less exciting. The FUNKE NewsWall on the upper half of the exterior has a small but subtle touch of Piccadilly Circus about it, bringing London to the middle of the Ruhr valley. This 180° LED ad space measures 7.5 metres high and is located on the side of the building facing the public. It displays information such as domestic and international news, sports results, celebrity news, upcoming events and the weather.

Building with strong symbolism

“The two buildings’ architecture tells a story,” reveals Heiko Hansler. As Head of Real Estate and Facility Management at FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE, there’s no one else who knows more about the new headquarters than him. “The black exterior on Medienhaus 1 represents both black coal beds, showing the link to our region, and black print, alluding to our newspapers,” says the head of the relocation project. In contrast, the media tower’s bright design is reminiscent of a printing cylinder, which combined with the state-of-the-art LED billboard, creates a visual representation of the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE core business: print and digital. As you enter the black building complex, you immediately spot another special feature: Information is displayed using LEDs just like the NewsWall on the outside of the media tower. However it’s not a wall that’s the backdrop, but the stairs in the middle of the foyer. The steps lead up to the first floor, their colours changing constantly as you ascend in response to the video projected onto them. Waiting for you at the top is another highlight, which the Melle-based company ASSMANN played a key role in bringing to life: the NewsDesk.

True to style

The department looks just like the newsrooms you usually see in films: One wall is covered in screens, flickering with the latest news from the region and from across the globe. In front of that lies a close-knit grouping of white desks where editors sit, preparing news reports that have just come in for publication in a variety of print and digital media that FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE produces. Employees call these desks “dragon desks” as they are arranged in such a way that, if you use your imagination, they look like a dragon slithering its way through the room. The desks are from the ASSMANN range and provide workspace for 30 journalists. The NewsDesk isn’t the only place where office furniture systems from Melle are used. Strictly speaking, all 1,200 employees working in the new two-building headquarters use ASSMANN sit/stand desks with electric height adjustment. The offices where the editor-in-chief of WAZ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and the sports and local news editors work, as well as the FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE IT, logistics, controlling, marketing and HR departments, are all open plan. The ergonomic workstations add an extra advantage that employees really appreciate. Roomin- room solutions were installed to ensure that employees can hold meetings or make telephone calls in peace despite the open-plan space. Manually adjustable Pontis desks with round desktops are used in these areas, offering ample space for notebooks, laptops or a cup of coffee.

Experience speaks to quality

There was also space for Allvia sliding cabinets in the new premises. Featuring generous storage space, they have an extra use as room dividers to create different working areas within the open-plan office. They are completely white just like all of the other ASSMANN desks in the two buildings, which was a conscious choice: “We wanted to cre-ate a cheerful, work-positive atmosphere,” explains Heiko Hansler. “And since the plan was to make the floors dark, meaning they’re less likely to show wear and tear, we chose brightly coloured furniture to contrast”. This furnishing concept also reflects the exterior designs of the two buildings. It’s no accident that ASSMANN systems were the furniture of choice: “We just love the functionality, price and design of the products,” explains Heiko Hansler enthusiastically. It wasn’t the first project between FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE and the Melle-based experts in modern working environments. They first made contact through Essen-based specialist partner Beck Objekteinrichtungen GmbH & Co. KG, but in some cases they got in touch ASSMANN directly. “We came to know the company as a decent and highly qualified partner through our first collaborations together,” says the project manager. “We had a great time working with them again this time too”.

You’re always on equal terms when you work with ASSMANN – it’s extremely professional.

Heiko Hansler, Head of Real Estate and Facility Management at FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE

Open to the outside world

While the offices are furnished to contemporary standards in design and functionality, there is one place in Medienhaus 1 that seems to have been frozen in time: The historic “Founders’ Room” on the fourth floor is a faithful reconstruction of the room from the old publishing building, using all original furniture and equipment. The room’s location in the building is deliberate: It’s on the way to the new FUNKE lounge, a venue used for exclusive events. The design of this events space contrasts sharply with the Founders’ Room next door. Positioning the two rooms so close together is another hidden symbol in the design of the building, Representing the close connection between vision and tradition at FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE. Spread over a total of 36,000 square metres, the buildings at Jakob-Funke-Platz 1 host even more facilities: The ground floor of the media tower recently became home to the FUNKE kiosk where visitors can buy tickets for events and flick through the company’s range of publications while enjoying a delicious Italian ice cream or coffee. Employees have access to a super stylish restaurant with outdoor seating, a gym and massage room in Medienhaus 1. The buildings also include spacious meeting rooms. Other businesses will soon benefit from these huge new headquarters as the company leases floor space to quite literally open the building up to the outside world. A creche has been the first to take up the offer, and Heiko Hansler expects more organisations, companies or start-ups to follow suit.

Open-plan spaces accommodating 1,300 employees from various departments were to be furnished with furniture and decoration in a uniform design.

The furniture should create a friendly, work-positive atmosphere and enable employees to work ergonomically.

Furnishing the newly built headquarters

Specialist retail partner:
Beck Objekteinrichtungen GmbH & Co. KG, Essen

Client details:
FUNKE MEDIENGRUPPE is a media company with sites across Germany. It covers regional media, women’s magazines and TV guides, as well as digital publications.