The VZ Desk Project started, as many design projects do, with an invited competition for interior designers. The client: VermögensZentrum, an investment consultation and asset management firm located in Zurich, Switzerland. The architects: The multidisciplinary designers of NAU Zurich in collaboration with Drexler Guinand Jauslin Architekten. The project: The VZ Finanzportal, an activity centered lounge in which customers can intermingle digitally and physically with the company and it’s advisors. The end result: A modern, eye-catching, architectural gem. Oh, and also a dramatic, room-spanning, multi-functional, highly technical, interactive desk in the shape of the company’s logo.
The VZ Desk is literally in the shape of the letters “VZ”. NAU and DGJ have somehow managed to turn the client’s brand into a physical structure that is central to the space. When asked about the difficulties of such a task, NAU’s Head Architect Jean-Lucien Gay talks about functionality being of the utmost importance; “The client had a very precise brief, detailing which types of activities should take place in which area, so the layout of the desk had to react locally, varying in height and in width in order to accommodate different seating/standing positions.” The desks’ functionality is centered on three main activities: learning, advising, and informing, all of which are essential to the VZ Finanzportal experience.
Materially speaking, the desk is comprised mainly of wood, steel, Hi-Macs (a material combination allowing for a seamless surface), and the most up-to-date digital technology. Lighting also plays a major role in this retail-esque space. Linear LED bands, specifically arranged spotlights, and subtle backlighting on the undersides of the desk make available numerous lighting scenarios.
“In fact,” says Gay, “the suspended lighting elements work as (a) counterpoint to the desk by defining the different activity zones.” Beyond the lounge area lie the personal consultation rooms, donned with slightly warmer tones for a more intimate atmosphere and separated by use of a digital screen displaying the company’s identity.
VermögensZentrum translates to “fortune/wealth center”. Thus, it was important for the designers to instill a sense of brand confidence and professionalism to customers while maintaining the aesthetic wonder.
“Although the floating desk is the eye-catcher,” Gay says, “I really like the lounge space as a whole. In the evening, this (lighting) composition is transcended by a multimedia projection on the back wall, creating a poetic atmosphere.”