A Citizen at the Office

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The Citizen model represents a landmark in the history of office design - implemented in its first iteration at the turn of the century in the Vitra Campus at Weil am Rhein, it remains as relevant today as it was then. The Citizen Office as we know it has only gone through minor updates throughout its lifespan - its longevity is owed to London-based architect Sevil Peach, who in collaboration with Vitra, hit the nail precisely on its head in her design. 

In a radical departure from the then-ubiquitous territorial office, Vitra and Peach opted for a flexible approach, focusing on freedom of movement. They set out to change not just a design style, but a mindset: instead of giving employees a single spot/workstation to personalise and identify with, they extended this process of identification to include the entirety of the space. 

This way of thinking enabled employees to think of themselves as citizens of the office became their home-city. As such, the individual ownership of the workstations became obsolete: why not work someplace else for the day, if you could? This opened up a whole new type of social interaction, while also empowering employees to view their space with new eyes. 

The configuration of the Citizen Office takes a page out of city planning - the various spaces are organised as ‘neighbourhoods’ gravitating around a central area. In the case of the original Office in the Nicholas Grimshaw building at Weil am Rhein, this area takes the shape of a forum - a large-scale gathering and discussion space for all employees. It can, of course, take any other shape according to the clients’ respective personalities and needs. The neighbourhoods take turns in fulfilling the other requirements in an office: workstations for short- and long-term tasks, for individual- or team-work, meeting spaces for various numbers of people, and of course, break ‘rooms’ where employees can retreat and recharge between tasks. 

Check out our work for projects inspired by this concept - we are excited to show you how it’s done!


Citizen Office, Vitra Campus, Weil am Rhein, Vitra.

Breathing Offices: A Studio Visit with Sevil Peach, Vitra.

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