Munich RE Offices – Johannesburg

  • Client Munich Re,
  • size 26,910 sqft
  • Year 2022
  • Location Johannesburg, South Africa,
  • Industry Insurance,
  • Trend Group was approached by Munich RE to assist with their office relocation in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Munich RE is a global provider of reinsurance, primary insurance and insurance-related risk solutions. In keeping with its status as an international blue-chip company, Munich RE has displayed a global appetite for enabled workplaces for the future across its portfolio. Munich RE of Africa (MRoA) has followed suit in seeking to develop a vision of the future for its business and workforce through a comprehensive redesign of its Johannesburg head office.

    For MRoA, it is of primary importance to meet the challenges of the future head-on by creating a modern and flexible work environment. The timing of this project has been such that MRoA’s vision of work transformation is tied to crucial decisions related to the office location in Johannesburg. This will define many parameters of internal and external space and amenities that will shape employees’ experience of the space for many years.

    There were many contributing factors that influenced the decision to move offices. There was a desire for a location close to public transport, a more modern and energy-efficient building and space to work in, as well as a fast-developing business hub with ease of access to convenient amenities. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many of the trends already present in the market: it changed the way in which people work and motivated the move towards a more fluid and flexible working environment. All of these factors combined had one critical and overarching goal: retaining talent and improving staff happiness.

    Trend and MRoA worked closely together with the relevant business units and leaders to understand the needs of their staff and teams when it came to selecting an office that would foster efficient, flexible and productive working in a world-class setting. 110 Oxford Street in Rosebank was ultimately selected as the best option as it was close to the Gautrain and Rosebank mall. The building also has a panoramic 360 degree view of Johannesburg.

    MRoA occupies the second and third floors for workplace uses, and utilises the fourth floor exclusively for client and staff events.

    Trend was tasked with developing a flexible working spatial layout whereby each department could be placed a ‘neighbourhood’. Each neighbourhood would be in close proximity to a collaborative area as well as to semi-formal meeting rooms. The second floor accommodated a ‘back-of-house’ setting while 50% of the third floor accommodated a client-facing experience, including various sized meeting rooms as well as a 14 seater boardroom along the north westerly side of the building.

    The breakaway space, entitled the Lifestyle Centre, plays a significant role in allowing staff to take a break and relax in a café-style setting, complete with a barista. Whilst the primary purpose of the Lifestyle Centre is as a breakaway space, it is also hoped that staff will use it as an informal meeting space.

    The interior design can be described as tranquil with a modern touch. The look and feel is light, bright and modern incorporating a large amount of greenery. A neutral colour palette has been created through the use of concrete and warm colour tones, contrasted with pops of colour in the furniture and décor items. A colour scheme incorporating blue, green, terracotta and yellow tones was used strategically throughout each floor to add modern flair but also to evoke the appropriate mood for each workspace environment. Blues were used to create a peaceful mood in areas of focus, greens were used in semi-focus environments and terracotta/yellow tones in open, fun and collaborative settings.

    Warm timber textures and patterns can be seen throughout each floor in elements such as furniture, fittings and planters. Nature-inspired patterns in floor rugs, muted geometric wallpapers and carefully curated artworks add a subtle but lively touch in select places. All this creates a calm yet inviting setting for open collaboration. The result is a balance of sophistication and fun which provides MRoA with a world-class office space which can be referenced in future designs for Munich RE.

    Design: Trend Group
    Photography: Sarah de Pina