Innovation, partnership, excellence and responsibility are the four pillars of doing business at the Schüco Group: we visited the Bielefeld Campus that tells more than 70 years of history

What makes a company, a great company? The ability to be able to look into the future and sometimes even beyond. The speed of change pushes us to be ever more efficient, to go beyond, to do things as best we can in the moment, but with an enlarged view, looking at the present but above all at the future.

70 years of growth

This is the "positive" atmosphere that one perceives when visiting the Schüco Campus in Bielefeld, Germany, the Group's international headquarters, which comprises a series of buildings and operational blocks including Schüco One (HeadQuarter office building), Schüco Welcome Forum (an exhibition and visitor reception area hosting product showrooms and machinery showrooms), Schüco Competence Center (dedicated to training), the Schüco Technology Center test laboratory and Schüco Logistic Center. A project that recounts a process of expansion and growth that has been going on for over 70 years: Heinz Schürmann founded Schürmann&Co. in 1951 in Porta Westfalica (to produce windows, awnings and aluminium roller shutters), which later became Schüco. The aim of the Campus is to provide visitors, customers, architects, investors and employees with spaces designed for work, but also places for reception, inspiration and information.

People at the centre

The changes in this first two decades of the third millennium have been rapid, and the development of sustainable architecture and construction, which guarantee high performance in every building, passes through products that respond to the increasingly demanding requirements of designers, builders and customers. But it is not just a question of products: it is people who make society. Even the most technologically advanced machine runs the risk of not penetrating markets if it cannot count on employees capable of working with professionalism and passion. Aiming at the centrality of the human factor, on the valorisation and training of collaborators, as well as on a chain of relationships with window and door frame and design partners, are the key factors that have allowed the Group to establish itself all over the world. With Schüco Italia among the most virtuous realities.

An ambitious mission

"We are proud to belong to a Group that has dedicated significant investments to the development of the well-being of employees and people who come into contact with us," says Roberto Brovazzo, General Manager Schüco Italia. "We have done this by working together, pursuing what is and will be our mission in the world: to shape the best environments of the future, where living and working in well-being and respect for the environment, with our solutions for architecture". Innovation, partnership, excellence and responsibility define the four pillars on which the Group's entrepreneurial philosophy is based. The Group is a competent partner for investors, architects, and window and door fitters from all over the world and achieves excellence by offering certified quality and design, protecting resources and taking responsibility for people and the environment by making sustainable products. "We apply a networked business model," explains Thomas Humpf, Head of Sales Europe MB. "Schüco is the 'brain' that develops systems involving supply chain and partnership, offering solutions (attitude, consultancy, research and development, patents, projects) for living comfort. We design on the basis of what is needed, customising as much as possible'.

Schüco One: architecture shapes behaviour

Together with engineer Brovazzo and the management of Schüco Italia, we visited the Campus buildings. Starting with the flagship, the brand new Schüco One, designed by the Danish studio 3XN to house the HQ, based on the concept "architecture shapes behaviour": the architecture of spaces shapes behaviour and influences people's attitudes. Developed on seven floors, fluidity of form and osmosis between spaces are reflected in the architectural structure: a glass bridge on five floors acts as a link between the new and existing parts of the building soon to undergo restyling; on the façade, the alternation of open and closed elements dynamises and lightens the volume, which recalls the sinuosity of an accordion. Movement that is replicated in the interior design, characterised by clean lines and harmonious aesthetics.

Creative workspaces

The structure was created to encourage dialogue and sharing between people: several workstations have been made available so that everyone is free to choose how and where to work according to the needs of the task at hand. Fixed workstations are rare in favour of creative workspaces, arranged everywhere, even outdoors in the terraces on the third, fifth and sixth floors. Regardless of where the workstation is located, it is always necessary to pass through the central hall to reach it. In this way, a continuous flow is created that fosters interaction, encourages informal relationships and the exchange of banter between colleagues.

Sustainable systems

The building is characterised by an innovative design concept based on the use of sustainable systems for high energy efficiency and durability. With this in mind, thanks to the thermal, acoustic and ergonomic performance of the aluminium solutions, energy requirements have been reduced: aluminium, a recyclable material in a continuous cycle, guarantees durability and protection of natural resources. The advantage is twofold: reduced consumption and care for the environment.

Transparency and customisation

At the grounfloor, the envelope is transparent on all sides and takes the form of a glass plinth, on top of which stands a folded sculpture. The other six levels are made up of customised ribbons of windows: in addition to characterising the building's external appearance by the particular broken shape of the façade, the intervention was designed to favour the exposure of the blind parts to sunlight and maximise the supply of natural light, while reducing the resulting thermal load and preventing the rooms from overheating.

Shading, ventilation, home automation

The same applies to the glass roof over the central atrium, for which a solution with a motorised skylight system was used. Solar shading is provided by SageGlass electrochromic glass that darkens to regulate heat storage, but always remains transparent so as not to obstruct the view outside. Half of the transparent mirrors have doors that can be opened for ventilation; domotically connected to the heating and cooling system, when opened they regulate the shutdown in the floor partition. The mirrors are also equipped with blinds operated by sensors connected to the domotic system that come into action according to sunlight, wind and rain.