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Mar 29, 2016 - Building

Inspiring Light Scenarios for a Novel Office Experience

The flexROOM® variable room concept guides innovative lighting designs in Philips’ new construction.

Philips, the technology company, has created not only a highly modern workspace with creatively themed areas at its DACH regional headquarters in Hamburg, but the building is also a display piece for innovative lighting technology. The variable solution for building automation, flexROOM® from WAGO takes on the complete automation of rooms in the six-story venue, which covers an office area of 13,500 m2.

“Work Place Innovation” (WPI) is the key word, which played an important role during the design of the new headquarters for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH). With WPI, Philips is demanding efficient, results-oriented, and flexible working methods, and is creating more space for a better work-life balance. The design includes spaces that are equipped with advanced information and communication technologies to be functional, inspiring, and suitably configured.

During a tour through the building, the associations with this claim become clear: the employees have open team work areas available, which are in turn surrounded by focus rooms for concentrated activities and confidential discussions. Meeting rooms and creative spaces invite discussions and brainstorming. In addition, so-called “breakout areas” offer the potential for less structured get-togethers, as they are styled with a maritime flair, a forest ambiance, or the Hamburg red-light district.

A Journey of Discovery Focusing on Light The topic of light played an important role in the successful realization of the 40 million euro project, which was developed, planned, and carried out by ECE Project Management from Hamburg, in collaboration with the engineering firm Plegge Plantener GmbH. “Our goal was to configure the spaces to be lively and to provide the employees with a comfortable atmosphere and a completely different office environment,” explains Rainer Barth, LiAS Manager – Lighting Application Specialists and Design at Philips. “Therefore, we created the building as a show case for employees and customers. It is a lot of fun, it inspires us to go on exploratory journeys, and it allows our energy-efficient LED technology to shine.”

Three years of design time were allotted to the construction project. The celebratory opening in October 2015 had been fixed for a long time, while Philips worked in parallel on the development of specialized pendant lights for the building. These pendant lights unite direct and indirect illumination with accent lighting and a presence sensor. The indirect portion of the light passes through the color spectrum, from warm to natural white, over the course of the day. This makes it possible to change the character of a room and to copy natural light ratios in the building’s interior. Additional features of the design include lighting components for wall washing in all rooms and hallways, which underscore the area-dependent color configuration in the various floors.

Intelligent Room Automation using flexROOM®

Around 600 sensors were installed to regulate the lighting in the building. Controlling more than 10,000 communication-capable lighting elements is quite complex. Simultaneously, the time pressures on the project began to accumulate. Therefore, Philips decided to implement the room automation using WAGO’s flexROOM® System Distribution Boxes.

flexROOM® is a proven, intelligent solution for flexible automation of lighting, sun-shades, and individual room controls, which include heating and cooling. The idea behind this concept is to consistently use standardized hardware and software, which simultaneously allow sufficient flexibility in order to satisfy the requirements for specific projects. Therefore, flexROOM® is based on the WAGO-I/OSYSTEM 750, which, depending on the application, can be combined with the necessary components, like power supplies, switches, relays, junction boxes, and rail-mounted terminal blocks, as well as WINSTA® connectors, to form complete system distribution boxes.

The flexROOM® concept is oriented according to room segments. A segment is the smallest common denominator and represents the part of a room that has a window. Each room segment includes functions for controlling lighting, sun protection, and temperature regulation. The system software runs in a decentralized manner on the individual controllers, can be called up by any internet browser, and enables easy and quick parameterization of segments, thanks to a user-friendly graphic interface.

Consolidated under One Source – Using Only Four Types of Distribution Boxes

In order to operate all necessary functions in the Philip’s headquarters, WAGO designed four different flexROOM® Office Distribution Box variants, which each cover 16 room segments. Around 110 distribution boxes are deployed throughout the building. In addition, there is a flexROOM® Weather Distribution Box installed on the roof, which detects, processes, and provides weather data to the office distribution boxes.

One challenge of the project consisted in merging the different systems in the building. Thanks to the flexROOM® concept, it was possible, and easy, to design a simple solution: while the lighting is implemented using DALI, flexROOM® communicates via KNX for the room control and via SMI for setting the blinds and shades. The individual office distribution boxes exchange data via Modbus/TCP, and communication at the management level is carried out using BACnet/IP.

After release of the functional specification document in June 2015, the installations for the building automation were available a mere four months later. Thanks to good preparation and the advantages of the flexROOM® concept, the project came in on schedule and according to plan.

Lighting: Individual and Sustainable

The Lighting Specialist, Barth, declares himself satisfied with the result, “We are proud to have created a high-tech campus with modern and attractive working areas, which support the process flows and the future needs of our company.” A highlight of this is, in his opinion, the unique lighting design, which can elegantly create multiple lighting scenarios with the aid of the pendant lights, up to and including night service in the office areas. “After the end of the regular work day, we can switch the indirect proportion of the pendant lights to blue. Any observers traveling along the main highway from the Hamburg airport to the Inner City see the building lit up in ‘Philip’s blue’,” he explains happily.

At the same time, the innovative lighting concept is setting standards for energy efficiency and sustainability at approximately 6 W/ m2. Since the lighting is controlled as a function of daylight and human presence, the energy consumption actually lies at around 50% of this value. The lights are virtually always run in a dimmed state. This saves energy, protects the lights, and the environment. The lighting experts assume that the LED modules will require almost no maintenance during their lifetime of at least 25 years of operating time. For its high ecological standards, the building has already received a silver certification from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

TEXT STEPHAN LAMPE | WAGO
PHOTO FABIAN SCHINDLER | vor-ort-foto.de
FR ANK VON WIEDLING | PHILIPS

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