Perfumery & Beauty Manufacturer

Firmenich project Torre Realia 37

At Area, we have had the privilege of working alongside a leading fragrance and flavour house and manufacturer, on an exciting project that has redefined their workplace and innovation capabilities.

Our client, a Swiss family-owned business with a rich history spanning over 125 years, has firmly established itself as a global powerhouse in the creation of fragrances and flavours for the world's most prestigious brands. With a workforce of 10,000 employees, 46 manufacturing plants, and six research and development centres across the world, including their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, our client is a true industry leader.

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Laboratory Design, Office Design, Construction


38,000 Sq ft


Barcelona, Spain

Firmenich project Torre Realia 780

The Challenge: Creating a Global Hub in Barcelona

The task at hand was to develop their new Barcelona headquarters, a sprawling 38,000 square feet office space, spread across three floors, catering to approximately 200 staff members. The client's initial brief outlined a series of critical requirements: (a) showcasing industry leadership – the client sought to encapsulate their status as the largest company in their industry, (b) expressing brand and culture – the workspace needed to reflect their brand identity and corporate culture, and (c) global standardisation – the new office had to align with the client's international workplace standards.

In collaboration with Area and 360 Workplace, our client embarked on a journey to embrace significant cultural change during their move to the new Barcelona office. This transition involved consolidating their operations from two separate buildings into a single, agile workspace that departed from traditional offices and isolated teams. Instead, the new design emphasised open-plan neighbourhoods, incorporating meeting rooms and phone booths to promote collaboration and flexibility.

The Three-Tiered Design Concept

Tier-One - Organic Workstations: These workstations are strategically placed at the perimeter of the floorplate to maximise natural light and offer breathtaking views. The design also emphasises future flexibility, enabling a higher person-to-desk ratio. Lockers, handbag trolleys, and a 'work from any desk' policy further promote agility.

Tier-Two - Collaboration Huts: This tier features a 'street' of collaboration huts and various spaces for agile working, fostering creativity and teamwork while circling an inner core.

Tier-Three - Inner Core: The inner core houses essential support elements, including meeting rooms, breakout areas, and tea points, facilitating a holistic work environment.

Gary Chandler, Area CEO, highlighted, "Reflecting the client's brand, a natural, organic, and elegant concept was applied to the workplace design. This was achieved by incorporating perfumery and flavour ingredients, large-scale graphics, and a centrepiece blossom tree in reception."

Firmenich project Torre Realia 170
Firmenich project Torre Realia 340

Innovation at the Core: Laboratories and Sensorium

As pioneers in their industry, our client is constantly pushing the boundaries of fragrance and flavour innovation. To support their groundbreaking work, the new workplace features state-of-the-art laboratories and a sensorium. The specialised laboratories spaces area equipped with central lab benches, cold storage, write-up areas, health and safety showers, and air-conditioned storage facilities for high concentration flavours and perfumery to prevent cross-contamination. Additionally, evaluation rooms and a dedicated baking room enable comprehensive testing and experimentation.

The project's successful delivery was not just about meeting deadlines but also about exceeding expectations. A Senior Project Manager from the Fragrance and Flavour House shared, "The project has been delivered on time, and the employees' feedback is extremely positive. Area designed an inspiring and vibrant workplace, thanks to continuous close and enthusiastic collaboration."

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