CBRE Art of Space Awards announces best office, retail and industrial spaces in the Czech Republic. Where will the trends in commercial real estate take us in the post-coronavirus era?
The CBRE Art of Space Awards, continuing in the tradition of the five successful years of the CBRE Meeting Room of the Year awards, has announced the winners. The ten-member panel of judges headed by the renowned architect Eva Jiřičná chose them from almost 250 applications in the 6 main categories across the entire spectrum of commercial properties. The evaluation criteria were current trends reflected in practical utilisation, design, new technologies and environmental-friendliness. The awards went to projects from various fields across the entire Czech Republic. CBRE is already planning the next year of the awards, and it will be interesting to see how the current coronavirus pandemic will affect the trends that commercial real estate will see, not only from the perspective of the architects, owners and tenants in an economic context, but also of the regular users with regard to their health and safety. The awards were organised by the Czech branch of CBRE, the world leader in the area of commercial real estate services.
We had planned a gala evening for the announcement of the winners and the award ceremony, the competition certainly deserves it! The number and quality of entrants exceeded our expectations - even in the categories of retail and industrial real estate, for which we have newly expanded the competition. It is gratifying to see the growing interest of companies to create a truly high-quality and inspiring environment in the Czech Republic. In our opinion, this will not change post coronavirus, it has only shown the direction in which the design and functionality of commercial real estate will need to move to meet the new needs and requirements of its users.
“New standards in working styles will dictate considerable changes in the designs of commercial spaces. There will be a considerable increase in home office work and companies will have to adapt their offices to the new requirements. We expect there will be an acceleration of work with “big data” from mobile phones, and there will also be new sensors in the spaces themselves. There will be a greater emphasis on the quality of the interior environment, the movement of the individual persons and their habits and basic health information such as body temperature. The potential is huge, with a great benefit for companies and users. On the other hand, it also brings many challenges that will have to be reflected in the design of commercial spaces. And sooner rather than later,” added Filip Muška, a Workplace Consultant in CBRE. Deciding on the winners was no easy task for the ten-member panel of judges.
The CBRE Art of Space Awards is a wonderful event that shows how the approach to commercial spaces is constantly changing in the Czech Republic, just like our entire way of life is changing. Every year you can see a shift in how we approach the design and interior environment of the buildings in which we work. Most of us spend much more time in their interiors than anywhere else. Often including home. Meanwhile such little attention was paid to it for such a long time. Our health and the quality of the place we work are more important now than ever before. This year’s award-winning projects are proof of that.
In the category of Workplace Design in the office segment, the jury awarded the spaces of Deloitte in Prague 2 (author of design: Atelier Kunc Architects). They are a combination of a working and homelike environment. Employees have several cafés, co-working spaces, quiet zones for undisturbed work and an outdoor relaxation zone at their disposal. They did not forget about their clients, either: meetings often take place on the spacious terrace. The prize in the industrial segment in the same category went to Kloboucká lesní in Brumov-Bylnice (author of design: Ing. Pavel Srba, Arch. Ivan Bergmann). Its production hall, which is part of the company’s entire timber-processing complex, has kept the environment and the surrounding countryside in mind. And thanks to a unique architectural design, it also fits in well with its environs. It features a wooden trellis on the façade, wood chips for heating and a photovoltaic system as a source of energy.
Most Attractive Meeting Point
in the category of the Most Attractive Meeting Point in the office segment the award went to NN IT Hub in Prague 5 (author of design: Ing. arch. Aneta Coufalová), where the employees themselves decided on the meeting rooms. The design of the meeting rooms includes state-of-the-art technology and stimulates productivity. In one you can plunge into the clouds, in another a hero of arcade video games awaits you, elsewhere a living wall resembling a jungle. In the same category in the retail segment, the Olympia Plzeň shopping centre (author of design: not specified) was victorious. Here the interior is complemented by moss, live plants and an industrial atmosphere that refers to the local industry.
Healthy Environment & Sustainability
In the Healthy Environment & Sustainability category, the winner was Doosan Bobcat in Dobříš (author of design: Červený klobouk ateliér). The manufacturer of construction machinery included everything close to its heart in its new European headquarters: e.g. raw materials like metal, concrete and stone. It placed an emphasis, for example, on spatial acoustics, proper lighting and greenery. The evaluation of the category was based on an expert assessment of the professionals from the Czech Green Building Council, which was the guarantor of this part of the competition and performed the audit of the interior environment for the candidate projects. “When compared with recent years, we can see that there are fewer interiors that work with an obvious designer wow effect and there are more quality, conceptually-designed spaces. The proof is this year’s winner, which received the highest marks from the jury for the spatial concept and the good air quality. The offices were well regulated from the perspective of CO2 concentration and air humidity, which is still not always the case. The jury also highlighted the intensive greenery incorporated into the design of the offices,” stated Simona Kalvoda, the Executive Director of the Czech Green Building Council, adding: “The demand for a healthy internal environment will remain high. The often forgotten air quality will get more exposure. If the humidity is not sufficient, it intensively increases the probability of infection. We believe that the lessons from the coronavirus pandemic will lead to an expansion of healthy internal environments throughout all the sectors of commercial real estate.”
Coworking & Flexible Office
In the Coworking & Flexible Office category WeWork in Prague 1 (author of design: Krists Ernstsons) placed highest. Shared offices have become a hit in recent years and not even the post-coronavirus period will change this trend. In this crisis, on the contrary, flexible offices were seen to play a strategic role in the life of a firm, not only from a financial perspective, but also as part of company policy or the possibility of spreading risks. And the sky is the limit for workplace concepts in the five-storey WeWork coworking building. It is possible to rent an entire office, but also just a desk or even a mere chair.
Retail Space Design
In the Retail Space Design category, Kovárna in Čeladná (author of design: Ing. arch. Romana Mališ Bílková, RMBA Architekti) took home the award. According to the owners, it brought a bit of Prague punk to the Beskid Mountains. You can come here for a coffee or to enjoy the view of the mountain panorama over a glass of wine. The architects also have their atelier here.
In the category of Brownfield Revitalisation the award went to the former sausage factory transformed into offices in Prague 4 (author of design: Atelier Hoffman). Augustín Šebek’s original renowned sausage factory was replaced by a modern four-storey office building, the author of which managed to not only retain the original smokestack, but also the entire genius loci of the locality.
Special Jury Prize
The Special Jury Prize has become a separate category of the CBRE Art of Space Awards. It went to the Cyberdog project in Prague 13 (author of design: David Černý and Tomáš Císař). It is full of a sophisticated design and shows what artificial intelligence can do. You order at the bar using a tablet and the drink is prepared for you by an unusual waiter: a robot. It then sends your order to your table using a trolley track. “Some buildings simply just defy categories and limits. And we decided to award such a project. The main role here is played by technology, which is changing the world. And commercial real estate with it,” the professional jury commented.
Public Choice Award
The general public was also involved in the awards. In online voting, which took place on the awards’ web pages, the public chose the best project in the Retail Space Design category. People could choose from all 50 cafés, restaurants and shops that applied to the category. The winner of the Public Choice Award went to Preciosa Lighting in Prague 1 (author of design: Michael Vasku and Andreas Klug), which presents iconic chandeliers and Czech crystal in a combination with modern trends in the exceptional spaces in the historical centre of Prague.
All the winners, including the architects, received original designer awards from the Czech company Sans Souci, which focuses on decorative lights and lighting design and provides original interior decorations in the most luxurious destinations of the world.