WARSAW – Mechanical production is at the heart of the new Trumpf headquarters in Poland, designed by Barkow Leibinger – an architectural practice from both Berlin and New York. The firm contributed to the Serpentine Pavilion in London this year, realising one of the four Summer Houses, and its portfolio boasts a myriad of projects that creatively explore the formal attributes of architecture. This Warsaw building – a blatant utilitarian box, which manages to still include a playful twist – though is in a different format and materiality to the wooden ribbon-like Serpentine installation.
Trumpf Group is a company that has laser technology (machinery and electronics) as its core business. The architects have produced a building which meets the functional needs of Trumpf’s new headquarters by providing space for training rooms, offices, technical facilities, storage, meeting rooms and think-tank spaces. The programme of the building departs from pure usefulness by introducing a visitor gallery and exhibition spaces, a cafeteria and an elevated internal courtyard that looks over a double-height showroom space. Tidy detailing and consideration of material choices and junctions reinforce the precise reality of the company’s processes.
The aesthetic of the building is not ‘showy’ in form or material appearance, while still showcasing the company’s abilities, not only spatially but also on the exterior appearance of the building. Brushed stainless steel horizontal fins, 4-mm thick and 10.8-m long, adorn two elevations not as pure ornamentation but also to provide shading and a marketable asset to what is going on within the interior space. The stainless steel sheets were pre-fabricated by the company, laser-cut and folded to produce a twisting effect which provides a shifting light across the outside surface of the building and a mediated light flow to the interior.