In April, the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) began
working in entirely renovated premises on Kumpulantie in Helsinki. The transition brought the entire agency under the same roof for the very first time.
“In a way, this is a new beginning for the whole agency,” says Matti Luopa, who is responsible for legal and administrative services at Trafi. The comprehensive renovation created a spacious and flexible entity that contains both open areas and places for team work. Glass walls increase spaciousness while movable walls and workstations ensure flexibility.
Practicality, durability and beauty
Carola Rytsölä, the interior architect involved with the project, worked according to the strategy of three values – practicality, durability and beauty.
“Everything is based on practicality. We made great investments on designing the workstations and focused on making them functional and ergonomic,” Rytsölä says.
Durability is most visible in the choice of materials. All the materials used in creating the premises endure time.
The purpose was to create timeless elegance instead of a trendy look. In this way the premises serve the next occupant, which might possibly come after Trafi.
“The owners were also satisfied with the flexibility and the combination of colours,” Karlsson says.
Natural fibres and light
Both Trafi and Sponda are part of the WWF Green Office network, in which companies make efforts to decrease their ecological footprint. The aesthetic choices, too, were guided by environmental values. This is indicated by the pistachio green theme colour in the premises, for example.
The intention to minimise the environmental load affects all decisions. In the interior design, old furniture from the previous locations has been used as much as possible. In the textiles, energy-efficiently manufactured technical fabrics and long-lasting natural fibres such as wool have been most popular. The attempt to save energy is also evident in the use of LED lighting.
In designing the lighting, Carola Rytsölä has given much thought to changing situations: At lunch time, the dining hall requires a different lighting than when there are evening guests, so both occasions have their own tones and level of brightness available.
A dynamic pioneer
Trafi is the technological pioneer of its industry. This should show in the office premises, too.
“Our guests have already noticed, for example, the advanced technical solutions in our conference rooms. We have six video conference rooms in which we have meetings with international operators as well as personnel from our own locations,” says Karlsson.
The technical solutions are also visible in the acoustic arrangements, which were designed to merge into their surroundings. The intention was to merge the acoustic elements into the surroundings.
“We have constructed the workstations acoustically without it being visible. This is Carola’s field of expertise,” Karlsson says, offering his praises.
In the conference rooms we have acoustic panels on the walls to take care of the acoustics. In the workstations there are partition walls made of wool felt fabric, which effectively absorbs sounds. There are also several other soundproofing elements in the premises, such as acoustic boards.
The Trafi personnel were surprised about the rapid progress of the project, especially because the project involved two properties. The work, which would usually have lasted one and a half years, was carried out in an intensive spurt that took only six months.
“This project was an exception because everything proceeded according to schedule,” Luopa states.
According to Karlsson, the cooperation with Sponda went without problems. Especially appreciated was the owner’s genuine interest and sympathy during the project.
“We reached a mutual understanding with the owners very quickly about what kind of premises we wanted for Trafi. We really understood each other. Of course, there could always be more time,” admits Karlsson, Unit Manager.
Premises as the business card
The Trafi premises express the collective values of the renewed agency. According to Karlsson, the new look intends to communicate openness, green thinking and uniformity.
“The new premises act as the business card in, for example, recruiting events. The new generation coming into the labour market demands new kind of solutions when it comes to work spaces and they use the premises in an entirely new way. They are also interested in environmental values,” states Luopa.
“To the personnel of the agency we want the premises to signal uniformity and equality in the work community,” Karlsson emphasises.