ADAC Headquarters Hamburg with Furniture made of Solid Surface Material


In autumn 2013, the new ADAC headquarters opened its doors in Hamburg. The centrepiece of the new building is the Service and Travel Centre on the ground floor. Spacious and modern with elegantly curved furniture made of solid surface material, it was designed by Ninous Tatari Architects and fabricated and assembled by Rosskopf + Partner.

For the 40-year-old ADAC headquarters in Hamburg, a decision was made to construct new offices instead of completely restoring the existing facility. Due to the significantly high cost and energy that would be incurred to renovate the architecture of the building that was erected in 1971, the Hansiatic City of Hamburg commissioned the architectural firm Störmer Murphy and Partners to design and plan a new, contemporary facility at a business location in the immediate vicinity.

The heart of the new office is the Service and Travel Centre which covers more than 460 square meters of floor-space in a single-storey pedestal construction. Instead of a cramped customer-booth atmosphere, the rule here is the flair of a stylish lounge. The Bremen office Ninous Tatari Architects is responsible for the design. "It was important for us to create an inviting ambience with flowing contours – without corners or edges," explained architect Nada Radan. "Visitors should be generously welcomed and guided gently to the centre, instead of meeting directly behind the entrance door at a customer booth barrier."

Two organic-shaped advisory islands form the open floor plan; the travel centre is in the middle of the area, which is surrounded at a generous distance by the service area. The highlight: the dramatic flower-petal white countertops made of elegantly glistening solid surface material curve to the side and gradually reach upward forming integrated wall and cabinet surfaces. This gives the impression of self-contained islands, whose access in the rear can be seen only on close inspection. Acoustic ceiling sails assimilate the shape of the two counters and almost appear to be floating below the full-surface hanging ceiling because of the lighting surrounding them. In addition to the furniture, the walls and ceilings are almost completely preserved in pure white. Only isolated colour dabs in ADAC yellow and a lounge area with colourful seating set well-positioned accents.

The Schumann furniture workshop in Altenkirchen was commissioned to construct all the furnishings, including the extraordinary advisory islands. In choosing the material for the table sculptures, the architects and interior builders deliberately selected silky matte solid surface material and our company as a partner for processing it. Because of its thermo-formability, it was also possible to fabricate the unusual three-dimensional creations using solid surface material without any difficulties.

Its smooth, pore-free surface lends the composite material, which is made of approximately 75 percent natural minerals together with acrylic and colour pigments, a high-quality visual appearance and a pleasant warm feel to the touch. Solid surface material is also extremely hygienic and easy to care for; any dirt can be easily removed with water or a mild detergent. If, after a long period of use, small signs of wear appear, they can be easily polished away with fine sandpaper. Therefore, solid surface material is ideal for use in everyday office and work environments and remains attractive and inviting for both staff and visitors.

Our material experts first examined how the two- and three-dimensional designs from Ninous Tatari Architects could best be realized using solid surface material. After the team of experienced engineers and craftsmen completed the fine-tuning phase of their plans, they created detailed 3D models as well as the final design plans.

More than 50 individual parts were machined at the Hennersdorf facility in Saxony that would form the sheathing to enclose the advisory islands and the two lighting columns with solid surface material. Altogether, more than 40 continuous meters of the robust surface material are used as cladding for the service centre and 30 continuous meters of the material encase the travel islands. Rack frames made with OSB boards form the load-bearing skeleton of the counters, on which the countertops as well as the side and back panels of solid surface material are attached. Additionally, an effective lighting system with LED light strips is integrated into the table base.

In order to make everything look as if it were made from a single mould, the individual solid surface material parts had to be milled to millimetre perfection, bonded together, and then sanded. This was done already to some extent in the factory – the furniture workshop, Schumann, performed the final assembly on site. The Managing Director and Project Manager, Gert Schumann, reported: "A particular challenge was to combine the cabinet units in the back with the counter systems made of solid surface material into a harmonious unit. For this purpose, the surface of the varnished wood materials was matched in visual appearance, in terms of colour and degree of gloss, with the solid surface material."

Our high degree of competence in processing this innovative material can be seen not least in the fitting of the perfectly milled shelving surfaces and the elegant seating cocoon with classic ADAC-yellow upholstery, which is also integrated on the back of the travel islands. Furthermore, lighting is integrated into the base of the counter using LED light strips in such a way that the islands appear to be lifted up from the floor and floating in the same way as the ceiling sail separates them from the ceiling.