KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Finland. It is an international engineering and service company with a century-old history. After entering the Chinese market in 1996, KONE built its world’s largest production and R&D base in Kunshan with its strongest R&D capabilities, and has one of the world’s highest elevator test towers there.

That’s where VIRTUARCH and its expertise in workspace design enters the scene. The Swiss architecture firm was commissioned by KONE to provide interior design and realize it in cooperation with a local decoration company. The 3,000 sqm office in the vicinity of their factory will mainly accommodate employees responsible for corporate financial affairs. KONE aims at realizing contemporary workplaces integrating co-working spaces to see more vitality in this centennial brand.

Combine Trending Co-Working Spaces and Traditional Financial Back Offices

In line with the global vision, KONE is implementing new office concepts with co-working spaces. VIRTUARCH proposed combining the heavy industry and Scandinavian background of KONE with an urban and fashionable touch as part of the design concept. With reference to the design guidelines of the KONE headquarters, VIRTUARCH developed an office layout combining traditional workspaces and co-working spaces. These shared spaces allow for a more collaborative and agile work process and contribute greatly to the wellbeing of KONE’s employees, which is a key concern for KONE as an international employer with high corporate social responsibility standards.

Co-working lounges in different corners

The offices occupy the 10th, 11th and 12th floor of a high-rise building. The space is bright with a stunning view over Kunshan. The building is a typical high-rise typology with a central core including facilities and the vertical circulation, surrounded by flexible space to allocate offices around the core. VIRTUARCH consequentially concentrated all the functions not necessarily requiring daylight, such as meeting rooms, storages, phone booths and copy rooms, etc. around this core, connected them with a circular corridor area and grouped the workplaces along the facades.

Layouts and functional analysis of KONE Kunshan project

Despite the digitalization of office spaces, this workspace is mostly dedicated to accommodating finance personnel of KONE, and a large number of physical documents will still be handled in future. VIRTUARCH proposed fixed workstations with enough cabinets in the open spaces for staffs and private offices for the managers.

Open office spaces and meeting spaces aside the building core

Effective Cost Controlling Measurements under Current Conditions

The client had a very limited budget for the realization of this office space. The strict budget required the designers to effectively use the existing conditions to control costs. With the original ceiling of the office building and the MEP installations being in good condition, VIRTUARCH proposed a cost-saving open ceiling concept, which was then implemented with an impressive effect: This option not only overcomes the challenge of the low floor height, but it is also consistent with the overall contemporary feeling KONE was looking for.

Open ceiling in harmony with the Scandinavian style of KONE

Based on Scandinavian Lifestyle

With reference to KONE’s corporate image, that is deeply rooted in its Nordic origin, VIRTUARCH focuses on the Scandinavian look and feel when it comes to the company workspace design. Wooden materials bring the Nordic vibe into the office. In combination with the dominating colours white and blue, an atmosphere is created, in which the employees feel comfortable.

Contrasting open office spaces and social areas

VIRTUARCH pays attention to every detail of the project, and therefore designed unique elements to match with KONE products and corporate image. Looking at the glass partitions, visitors will find the geometric patterns inspired by the vertical movement of elevators, which relates to KONE’s core competence.

Geometric patterns inspired by the vertical movement of elevators





PROJECT SIZE: 3,000 sqm

PROJECT DATE: 2020-2021


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