A Tour of kHaus’s New Basel Workspace

A Tour of kHaus’s New Basel Workspace

Workspace provider kHaus recently hired architecture and interiro design studio Banana to design their new workspace in Basel, Switzerland.

“Through an unconventional and future-looking design approach fueled by Studio Banana’s sustainable vision “Form follows availability”, we developed a second-cycle furniture and material supply ecosystem aimed at reusing or upcycling existing resources through a network of local and social enterprises. As part of these efforts we became members of the Smart City Lab Basel with our research project Second Cycle Office, sponsored by the Swiss Federal Railways SBB and the City of Basel.

As this building was meant to be the new home for the local community, we carried out a co-design process involving local social and cultural organisations to understand their ambitions, user needs and functional requirements. Out of this consultation process, we identified key strategic drivers that guided the development of the project Versatility of use: The new environment had to cater for multiple functional needs, as spaces are shared by diverse user groups.
Circularity at the core: This project had to commit to social and sustainable goals; caring for the planet as well as supporting the local network and resources. Respect for heritage: The Kaserne building is a prominent historical icon. The proposed design had to respect the original architectural language.

The upcycling approach

Following the sustainable aspirations posed during the co-design process, we embraced some of the principles of Circular Economy fitting out all the spaces with second-cycle products furniture supplied, repaired or upcycled by a local network of partners and social enterprises.

A complex scouting process

Building on a robust functional layout of the space with clear look & feel intentions in mind, we started the challenging mission of scouting second-cycle equipment and furniture “with a story behind” that fit into this framework. This approach turns upside down the classical linear design implementation process, transforming it into an ever-evolving cyclical process of discovery and constant recalibration; the true “design follows availability” mantra.

As a result of the careful scouting and selection process, the different spaces at kHaus offer a diverse yet coherent second-cycle atmosphere while providing high functionality and stable quality.

The multi-culti corridor allows for different working scenarios and exchanges and is composed of a mixture of pre-loved furniture and additional custom-made wood structures granting diverse configurations such as lounge corners, personal lockers or privacy dividers. Greenery in the whole project is also pre-loved, adding to the patina and stories embedded in the space.

The meeting rooms –adapted to host bigger formal encounters or smaller and agile ones– also integrate upgraded second-cycle technology. Through a mix of powerful colours, cool & chic furniture and writable walls, the informal spaces have been freely designed to boost creativity and encourage spontaneity in daily activities, with flexible elements allowing for a wide range of settings. Another social space is the community kitchen integrating storied pre-loved elements from various sources. Even the coffee machine was recovered and upcycled and found a new companion custom-made wagon.”

Breakout space
Meeting room
Meeting space
Communal space