After A LOT of work, we have at last moved into JOI-Design’s new home. Although it was sad to say goodbye to the place where we thrived for the past decade, we also were thrilled to begin this next chapter in our wonderful adventure. Now we can draw inspiration from our studio’s new location, a gorgeous 1920s villa designed by the celebrated architect Erich Elingius.
As you might expect, sifting through 10 years of work, memories and rubbish takes a bit of time – four and a half months, as it turns out. So for a while, we had two offices: one full of boxes, and the other a building site. Since the villa was previously used as a grand family home, lots of work was required to convert it into a functional office, making us simultaneously designers and employers for a little while. For generations, the estate was owned by the Blohms, the prominent Hamburg family that commissioned it in 1921. No doubt Herr Blohm would have shed a tear had he witnessed the transformation, but for me, the goal was to create a new home for the JOI-Design family — and this meant taking action!
You might expect this task to be straightforward for us, however the documents concerning our move were as big as if we were building a 200-guest room hotel. Many long discussions and difficult decisions had to be made before we could simplify the functional and financial aspects. The space is 40% larger than our current office and split across three levels. Our vision was to open it up, which meant removing as many walls as possible, clearing away the rubble, and then installing the infrastructure to support our huge materials library, printers and, of course, our designers! The hot topic amongst our team members became “who sits next to who?!”
A week before we were due to make the big move, the old office became a sea of boxes and bins. We sorted through a decade’s worth of files and samples, boxing up what we wanted and discarding two dumpsters’ worth of junk. As the debris cleared and the space took shape, our excitement grew. I was already dreaming about having a big summer party on the 4,300-square-foot grounds and rowing down the canals of the Alster River in the little boat that came with the property.
But nonetheless, as I stood in the sad, empty building for the last time, my eyes teared up seeing the place that was once so full of life, where I’d spent more time than at my own house. This phase in JOI-Design’s life was over, and although I mourned its passing, I was eager to start the next one.
Inevitably there were teething problems: The phones didn’t work properly, homesick computers refused to function on one floor, and workers were still hammering away around us. Nevertheless, we are now almost settled in our new home – onward and upward!
Next time – the view from my NEW window!