Groglass Offices Reflects Their Product And Business Transparency

When renovating their Riga, Latvia offices, the use of glass throughout the space was important to Groglass to reflect their values and products.

Groglass is a nanotechnology company based in Latvia, producing anti-reflective and UV-protective coatings for glass and other materials. The first Groglass manufacturing facility in Riga has always run alongside the office space, but never have they been as connected as now. The office space is separated from the manufacturing facility with large glass windows, giving office workers an uninterrupted view into their manufacturing hub. The Groglass office serves as the planning, research and operational hub for the company, but it is also a space where all employees can take a break to reflect or socialize in the common areas.

A new concept of office space

The fundamental concept of Groglass operations and products is – see what’s important! This concept is well-reflected in the new and renovated office space – a semi open office with glass partition walls, diverse space utility and a light overall design. The materials used in the renovated office space reflect and compliment the
manufacturing facility, uniting management and production in a coherent ensemble.

The new design of the office space draws parallels to the product and its qualities. Pastel blue hues, employed throughout the design, hint at the ethereal qualities of glass and add an elevated lightness to the already transparent office partition walls. Stainless steel applications provide a smooth finish and additional functionality to the space. The production process is also accentuated through the pinewood textures that are not only characteristic of the Baltic Sea region but are also used in the packaging and shipment of Groglass products around the world.

The balance between shared space and privacy

The office layout was designed to give a sense of openness while accommodating areas for uninterrupted focus and concentration. The glass partition walls create divisions between departments and employees, without blocking any of the surrounding light. Additionally, there is a variety of spaces designated to meetings, conferencing and phone calls that encourage the exchange of ideas and collaboration.

More than just a space for productivity

As we spend a considerable part of our time in the office, it has to be more than just a space for sharp focus. Our office provides a balanced environment, where everyone has the opportunity to take a moment for reflection. The integrated recreation areas, or our meditation room for those who are seeking solitude, provide a comfortable and adaptable environment for every employee, no matter what the time of day.

The value of aesthetics

It is important that our office reflects our proximity to art and portrays a confident sense of aesthetics while remaining subtle and inviting for our employees and visitors.

Uniting productivity and management

The Groglass office is directly linked to the production facility, with shared areas for interaction and recreation. Large windows that connect the manufacturing floor and office space create a sense of connectivity between the facilities. This gives the opportunity for office employees to gaze upon the technological and operational processes that represent the foundation of our unique business.

When was the project completed? 

2020

How many SF per person?

Total area: 785 m2

How many employees work here?

67 – office and administration employees

176 – office and production employees combined

What is average daily population?

Since the implementation of a hybrid work model, there are between 24 and 32 employees working form the office space each day. Depending on the schedule and operations, this number changes also throughout the day.

Is there a remote work or work from home policy? If so, what percent of employees are remote workers?

During the first COVID-19 outburst in 2020, Groglass introduced a fully remote work policy for its office employees.  As the pandemic gradually became more manageable, some employees went back to working from the Groglass office, while others continued to manage their tasks and responsibilities from home/ remote office spaces.

Currently, the company has adopted a hybrid working model that allows employees to choose where they work from, and are able to adjust this schedule, depending on their planned meetings, commitments, and responsibilities. Most employees choose to come to the office 2 to 3 times per week – with the flexibility to spend either full day or part of the day in the office. All meeting and conferencing rooms are equipped with teleconferencing aids that assist with mixed-attendance meetings.

Describe the work space type.

The fundamental concept of Groglass operations and products is – See what’s important. This concept is well-reflected in our office space – a semi-open plan office with glass separation walls, diverse space-utility, and light overall design. The materials used reflect and compliment the manufacturing facility, uniting management and production in a coherent ensemble.

Groglass has always practiced a clean table policy, and with the introduction of the hybrid working model, it has become even more important. While internal departments have established tables and areas, the desk assignments are not fixed, and employees can also choose to use the department spaces as collaborative work areas.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?

Our office layout was designed to give a sense of openness, while accommodating areas for uninterrupted focus. The glass separation walls create divisions between departments and employees, without blocking any of the surrounding light. Additionally, there is a variety of spaces designated to meetings, conferencing, and phone calls that encourage the exchange of ideas and collaboration. The integrated recreation areas (or our meditation room for those who are seeking solitude) provide a comfortable and adaptable environment for each time of the day and for every employee.

What other kinds of support or amenity spaces are provided?

Our canteen is designed as a communal employee dining space around a long table. It can also be used as formal or informal meeting area outside the lunch time. Additionally, our employees also have access to an outdoor terrace, just next to the office building.

In addition to the rooms and areas that have functionality for work purposes, like our archive area and printing/ office supply storage spaces, the employees also have a chance to take mindful breaks in the meditation room.

Suitable work clothes and protective equipment is essential for anyone working with glass, and Groglass has always provided our employees with protective clothing, equipment and appropriate footwear for handling glass. All manufacturing employees also have access to showers and changing rooms, as well as lockers for their personal belongings.

What is the projects location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?

Groglass office is located just a 20-minute drive away from the heart of Riga. It is easily accessible to those who prefer using public transportation, as the nearest buss stop is just around the corner.

The office’s proximity to one of the largest shopping centers in Riga allows for easy access to restaurants, cafeterias and shopping. Groglass office is located between three large living areas, making the office easily accessible by car, bike or even on foot.

How is the space changing/adapting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Before the pandemic, every employee used to have a designated working table. With COVID-19 and the switch to the remote office policy, we had the opportunity to rethink our general office arrangements and arrive at a hybrid model that allows flexibility in terms of working spaces and seat arrangements.  Now there are less people inhabiting the office spaces every day, but the areas have become more fluid and collaborative.

Was the C-suite involved in the project planning and design process? If so, how?

The C-suite worked extremely close with Brigita Bula Architects team to monitor every step of the designing process.

CEO brief:

  1. Transparent – symbolizes both the product and the way we manage our operations
  2. Sustainable – air recuperation, CO2 monitoring, sustainable materials, refurbished furniture
  3. Local materials

Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.

Incorporation of our anti-reflective glass product in the overall design was of high importance. The design research and development process had to find solutions to seamlessly integrate separation walls and some pieces of furniture made from the invisible glass that the company produces.

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?

  • Sustainable and natural materials
  • Ergonomic furniture, meeting spaces that allow for both sitting and standing positions
  • Mediation room for physical and mental relaxation
  • Real-time monitoring of the CO2 levels in the office

Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?

The materials used in the new office space design draws parallels to the product and its qualities. Pastel blue hues, used throughout the design, hint at the ethereal qualities of glass and add an elevated lightness to the already see-through office separation walls. Stainless steel applications provide a smooth finish and additional functionality to the space. The production process is accentuated also through the pinewood textures that are not only characteristic to the Baltic Sea region, but also used in the packaging and shipment of Groglass products around the world.

For specific examples, please describe the product, how it was used, and if it solved any specific problem.

Prominent use of glass throughout the office space – reflecting our product and business transparency, and providing a feeling of lightness and spaciousness to the overall space. Glass is also used to provide an open view over one of the manufacturing facilities, which is connected to the office space. That way, the office employees can be even more connected to the manufacturing process and our large-scale operations.

What products or service solutions are making the biggest impact in your space?

Each of our meeting and conference rooms has a running reservation system, integrated with the employees’ calendars, and ensuring that room planning and scheduling is as smooth as possible. Our meeting rooms are equipped with teleconferencing tools that allow meetings to run smoothly with both remote and in-house participants.

We have also refurbished our old Steel Case desk chairs and given them a second life. But the solution that makes the biggest impact to the well-being of our employees is the system that regulates CO2 concentration. The freshness of the air our employees breath is around 400 ppm – which is considered to be close to the air one gets by the seaside.

What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?

The story of Groglass is inseparable from aesthetics – we produce glass for a flawless viewing experience. Our production is used to display and protect cherished collections in the most prestigious museums around the world. Therefore, it is important that our office reflects this proximity to art and portrays a confident sense of aesthetic while remaining subtle and inviting for our employees and visitors.

What is the most unique feature of the space?

With the usage of glass separation walls we have maintained the feeling of an open office with its spaciousness and lightness, though provided comfort and intimacy for the individual departments.

Are there any furnishings or spaces specifically included to promote wellness/wellbeing?

Our meditation room is widely used for that extremely necessary mindfulness time. It is a space to relax, take a nap or just to reflex on what`s been done or what`s ahead. We have also installed CO2 systems throughout the whole building to promote fresh air and comfort for our employees.

Who else contributed significantly to this project?

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