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German design to make you feel comfortable during the colder months: Canadian Centre for Architecture shows working environments from Germany as a component of happiness
Munich, 14th June 2019 – All over the world, the role of materials, design and location in improving well-being is being explored again. Up until 13 October 2019, the Centre Canadien d'Architecture / Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal is hosting the exhibition “Our Happy Life: Architecture and Well-Being in the Age of Emotional Capitalism”. It includes architectural work by the Munich-based company CSMM, which has been advising Marsh & McLennan Companies on office design since 2016. As a corporate consultancy on quality of life in cities, subsidiary Mercer is also participating in the exhibition.
“How do we measure the quality of our lives? What is the data behind happiness?” are the questions posed by the exhibition in Canada. The background for it is the research carried out in recent years about how perception and design change our spaces. According to the Canadian Architecture Centre, the critical driver behind this new view of well-being is the re-thinking of GDP as a measure of social progress. An initiative to collect national statistics on well-being has also put the measurement of happiness on the global agenda.
Design principles are reappraised against this backdrop – from approaches to sustainability to security measures. Current perceptions of comfort are also explored, including gaining a deeper understanding of the relationship between work and free time.
Part of the exhibition addresses the issue of the influence studies and ranking lists have on design. As publishers of the ‘Quality of Living City Rankings’, Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) and Mercer improve the quality of life in cities. And the company itself also pays attention to the atmosphere created in its working environments. Out of all of the MMC locations, the curators therefore chose a particularly successful office to use as an example for the exhibition. This was the Munich office designed by CSMM.
Ever since their first collaboration with Timo Brehme in 2006, Marsh & McLennan Companies have commissioned CSMM to design their offices in Germany. Most recently, CSMM supported Mercer’s move to the Kastor Tower in Frankfurt am Main. “Once the decision to relocate was made, it was clear to us that our official office standard should also be applied to the new rented premises. The change from a highly subdivided office to a modern open office concept with a balance between areas for open communication and those for retreat and greater privacy was very much welcomed and accepted by employees,” explains Timo Brehme, Managing Partner of CSMM. The architectural firm conceived and designed the new space, including the planning and design of bespoke carpentry solutions. Mercer Deutschland GmbH has declared its mission as being the improvement of people’s health, wealth and productivity worldwide. Accordingly, the focus in the new office was also the well-being of its own employees. Solvent-free paints and adhesives, as well as wooden partition wall systems were as much a given as a pre-check by CSMM ready for certification by the German Sustainable Building Council. After a Mercer office CSMM architects are currently designing the new office for MMC subsidiary Oliver Wyman in Düsseldorf. “The Munich project has now made it into the museum exhibition because it touches on a key aspect of what makes people feel comfortable,” enthuses CSMM architect and Managing Partner Sven Bietau, who created the new space with his team.
The “Our Happy Life” exhibition is about architectural solutions that have the goal of making people feel happier. The exhibition see itself as a work that explores and interprets how the latest paradigm shift is shaping the current perception of place. It shows how materials give private spaces a different identity, how working environments are being reinvented and how development itself is transforming city planning.