Espoo, Finland, 2023

Orion’s headquarters were renovated while preserving the building’s unique atmosphere

The headquarters of the Orion pharmaceutical company were built in Mankkaa, Espoo, in 1984. After almost 40 years, the building has been completely renovated. The aim of the renovation was to update the spaces to meet modern standards. Jari Inkinen, Architect SAFA, Interior Architect SIO, of Sisustusarkkitehdit Gullstén & Inkinen Oy, was the architect and principal designer in the renovation project. Architect Rauli Lehtinen acted as the project manager.

It was important to preserve the original architecture and atmosphere of the building. The idea was to make Orion’s history visible throughout the building. Other factors guiding the work included improved user experience, sustainability and safety of the premises. The architecture of the period is strongly reflected in the façade and interior of the building: Orion wanted to retain the granite flooring and classic terracotta tiles in the entrance hall and wanted people to be able to see that the new dining area was originally a swimming pool.

Quality, timelessness and Finnishness guided the choices

The actual interior design process was carried out in active dialogue with Taru Karhusaari, who was responsible for the project on Orion’s side. Interior architect Hanna Gullstén, who was responsible for the design, and Leea Åberg, who led the project at Gullstén & Inkinen, felt it was important to create timeless spaces that clearly show you are in a pharmaceutical company. Sustainability was incorporated into all areas of the planning – existing furniture was used where possible and recycling was a priority.

The appearance of the lobby space was refreshed for the benefit of both employees and visitors. A significant change was the conversion of the offices and corridors into a flexible, activity-based office. The new premises are bright and the lush green of the surrounding nature seems to be bursting into the building. There are plenty of small break-out spaces and meeting rooms of various sizes to meet current needs. Each floor has its own break room/kitchen and there is a pleasant restaurant area downstairs.

Orion wanted the general appearance of the new workspaces to be calm and subdued in terms of colour scheme. The furniture was designed by interior architect Hanna Gullstén – the furniture was selected from Martela's extensive network of partners in addition to Martela's own range of furniture. The choices were guided by quality, timelessness and Finnishness. Easy maintenance and serviceability were also important factors, as the furniture was intended to last for decades. The employees wanted the restaurant to be more colourful than the areas that are used for working. Martela was also responsible for restoring existing furniture, recycling furniture that was no longer needed and for removals and installation services.

A former swimming pool converted into a dining area at Orion's headquarters
The old shower room of the swimming department transformed into a stylish work space

Orion employees feel at home in their renovated premises

“The entire project was implemented smoothly and to a high standard, and the Orion employees are really excited about their new premises, which is lovely to see! This is a good example of the fact that when you design pleasant spaces, people will want to use them,” says Gullstén. The company and its employees now have premises that represent them perfectly, with splashes of Orion blue throughout the interior design.

“We are very happy with the implementation of the project and with the end result in particular. Cooperation with all parties was very smooth. Orion’s employees and our numerous partners and visitors have been actively using the renovated premises and we have received a lot of positive feedback,” says Juha Paasi, Director, Facility Management & Corporate Security at Orion.

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