IBC Innovation Factory

IBC Innovation Factory

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects
Kolding, Denmark
Project Year
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects


IBC Innovation Factory

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects as Architects

The IBC Innovation Factory is designed to support new ways of learning. The 12,800 square metres educational building is the result of a refurbishment project of the paint manufacturer GORI’s factory from 1978, which set new standards for factories at the time. In the spirit of the original factory, schmidt hammer lassen architects, in collaboration with International Business College (IBC) Kolding, has created the settings for a ground-breaking and creative learning environment, aiming to become the world’s best. The ambition is to be a training camp for future innovators.

With the acquisition of the GORI factory in the summer of 2010, the IBC gained access to a unique physical environment characterized by an impressive pioneering spirit and vision. It was the first factory plant in Denmark to unite production and management in one large room, allowing visual connection between the two. The large paint tanks were decorated by the French artist Jean Dewasne, in the conviction that art in the workplace would inspire employees and provide a better working environment. The same idea inspired the incorporation of badminton courts and Ping-Pong tables on the production floor for the employees.

The main task for schmidt hammer lassen architects has been to preserve and emphasize the building’s existing qualities and transform the facilities into an innovative learning environment. By using six elements – fire, water, greenery, light, sound and air – the concept for the new Innovation Factory was developed with an emphasis on stimulating the users’ senses. A central teaching facility in the shape of an indoor ‘landscape furniture’ designed in Douglas pine wood incorporates a variety of learning spaces and experiences. The wooden structure, which seems to float above a surface of water, has an auditorium, places for open study, an amphitheatre, and closed podiums for group work or quiet study time. There are green plants, the sound of trickling water, birds in aviaries and plenty of daylight from the skylights above.


Dinesen as Flooring and wood

In 1976, the wood preservation manufacturer GORI opened its new factory. With inspiration from Japanese culture in particular, everything was brought together under one roof without the traditional boundaries to separate production, cafeteria and administration. A bold and novel move for its time and an innovation in the Scandinavian countries.

After 30 years serving as the headquarters of GORI, the building was acquired by IBC International Business College in 2010. The architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen was given the assignment of converting the former factory to an educational centre. True to the original concept, innovation and creativity were key considerations in the conversion of the former headquarters, which IBC named the Innovation Factory.

In the centre of the building, the architects created a new two‐storey element that breaks free from the existing architecture and creates a new framework. An elegant combination of Dinesen Oak Natural and Dinesen Douglas serves to define the individual functions. In areas that encourage physical activity, such as the large recreational space and the walking areas, the flooring is made of Dinesen Oak Natural – and here, the badminton court has been re‐established. Dinesen Douglas is used in lounges and auditoriums and for cladding and planters. The architects’ playful use of different types of wood, levels, water ponds and streams creates spaces within spaces and encourages a spirit of free‐flowing knowledge sharing.

Today, IBC Innovation Factory is abuzz with activity in the form of conversations, education, seminars and conferences.

Products used in this project
Product Spec Sheet

Flooring and woodDinesen
Product Spec Sheet
Flooring and wood
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