Merck Innovation Center
Merck, a leading science and technology company, marked its 350th anniversary earlier this year by opening a brand new innovation centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
The Merck Innovation Center is a newly constructed building at the heart of Merck headquarters. The facility offers start-ups and in-house innovation teams a five times larger area than was formerly available for working with Merck on innovation projects outside the company’s current portfolio. Merck Innovation Center was designed by award-winning, international architecture practice HENN.
The planning for the project began in 2013 before construction started on site in October 2015. Project Director Georg Pichler said:
“Merck’s overriding goal was to open up, both visually and in gestures: The closed company site is to be gradually transformed into a campus; more structured, more attractive, more open – not only for new employees, but also for the public. The heart of this transformation is the Innovation Center with a new world of work.
“The interior is characterised by the unfolding of a continuously flowing spatial structure. Bridge-like connections diagonally span the space between the oval cores, linking the individual workspaces with each other. Steps, ramps and floor areas spiral upwards. In addition, the Innovation Center features a whole series of new Merck products and technologies in the lighting, the finishing’s and the skylight. The latest OLED technology was applied in the Light Cloud art installation, as well as the Media Wall monitor installation.”
Every level has two work areas, positioned diagonally vis-à-vis one another. Each workspace is designed to provide for a project group consisting of external and internal staff, cooperating together on innovations either on a temporary or a project basis. Concentration and meeting rooms are arranged along the façade and on the mezzanines. The ground floor contains a café, a lounge and an auditorium; the first floor a library and open workstations; and the top floor accommodates a workshop.
One of the more unique elements of the building is that it is almost a column-free structure. This has been made possible through the use of a reinforced concrete composite construction. In addition, the façades are set behind open external slats that run at varying angles, in turn giving the exterior a dynamic appearance and making the double-storey character of the interior spaces legible from the outside.
The project management of the work was overseen by baierl + demmelhuber (www.demmelhuber.de). The company, which offers integrated system solutions for interior fit-outs, also manufactured, supplied and installed the furniture. With its Bavarian roots and endowed with decades of international project experience, baierl + demmelhuber ranges among the most renowned interior fit-out companies of its core sectors.
In May this year the Merck Innovation Center was inaugurated by Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, as the representative of the Merck family and Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG, and Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA.
HENN is an international architecture practice with offices in Munich, Berlin and Beijing. Led by Gunter Henn, the practice boasts expertise in the fields of work space, culture, health, education and research.
Alongside the Merck Innovation Center, HENN has been involved in a number of standout projects including the Taiyuan Tower in China and the Hyundai Design Centre in South Korea. To view more, please visit www.henn.com/en#design.