Projects / Meetings and social workplaces, / Equality Ombudsman (DO)

Equality Ombudsman (DO)

Stop talking and start changing things for real. When the Swedish government agency, the Discrimination Ombudsman, decided to relocate, the sustainability aspect was high on the agenda. Offecct’s Lifecircle philosophy became part of the solution.

Sustainable workplace with recycled furniture
Things moved swiftly when the Equality Ombudsman (DO), with approximately 100 employees, moved to new premises. The project started in early spring 2016 and already by November that year, in the middle of the worst snowstorm of the year, it was time to move in.

“The move had been planned for two years, but when the concrete work on moving began, we knew it was going to be a quick process and it was therefore important to have a reliable partner. We could not control the weather, but even that was managed well,” said agency head Agneta Broberg.

Even though time was at a premium, the entire move was characterised by long-term planning. From the start, Agneta Broberg had a clear idea of what she wanted for the new office: to create a workplace that is sustainable in every way – environmentally, socially and economically.

“For me, sustainability is self-evident, it is a matter of survival for all of us. For an authority like DO, it is even more important to practice what we preach and to be a role model in this area. We cannot just talk about sustainability, we also have to act,” said Agneta Broberg.

Fittings that support communication
The project began when Agneta Broberg and architect Ewa Falemo visited the Stockholm Furniture Fair in early February 2016 for research purposes. Which companies could meet their clearly stated requirements?

“I was familiar with Offecct’s sustainability philosophy from before, and when I started to investigate it more closely, I realised how advanced they were. This was the determining factor, together with the high quality design and service they offered,” said Ewa Falemo.

It was also important that DO’s assignments and appearance should be reflected in the fittings. Wood elements and a harmonious, thought-out colour scheme were important factors, together with a strict and professional basis.

“For me, interior design is a strategic management issue. It must support communication in the workplace, improve our meetings, and help us to be both an efficient and attractive workplace. And of course it must be consistent with our identity,” said Agneta Broberg.

Back into the circular economy
Ewa Falemo’s aim is that the fittings supplied by Offecct and other suppliers for the project must be both visually attractive and withstand wear and tear. The furniture should be of a timeless design and sufficiently robust to withstand the intense exposure that is unavoidable in public environments.

The DO already had some Offecct furniture, for instance around 120 Cornflake chairs, which were in frequent use but still excellent furniture. As part of its sustainability ambitions, Offecct collected these chairs, reupholstered them and delivered them back to the agency.

“Many people think that it is more expensive to take the environment into consideration, but this project is a shining example of why the reverse is true. By looking after what we have, caring for it and and recycling it, we also save money. It is both environmentally and economically sustainable,” said Ewa Falemo.

The agency also had various pieces of furniture from Offecct that were no longer suitable and were not required in the new premises. These have now been returned to the company, which will bring them back into the circular economy by selling them on the secondary market. The money from the sale will be donated to one of the CSR projects Offecct is committed to, which means the furniture will contribute to social sustainability.

“Sustainability is a broad concept, involving many different aspects. I believe that this project shows the strength that comes from taking this approach from the start. It then becomes an advantage, even a prerequisite, for a successful project,” said Agneta Broberg.

Camilla Ström, Project Manager at Offecct
“The project set high standards for everything from environmental awareness and quality to design and logistics. We have been working closely and intensively together with both the architect Ewa Falemo and the head of the agency, Agneta Broberg. They have been a committed and clear client, and have constantly been challenging us. Which is something we love! The schedule was tight and the scope of the project large, involving both customised new fittings and reuse of existing furniture in accordance with our Lifecircle philosophy. What I am most proud of is that we have created a long-term sustainable solution in such a short space of time.”

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