We have broken new ground with our real estate in the Bockenheim district of Frankfurt. We want to find out how start-ups work, and what needs they have in terms of the design of their offices. Our aim here is to learn more about future working models and office environments.
The collaborative spirit that defines the way start-ups work was the leitmotif for the name and conceptual development of VABN (pronounced “Vaben”; the word “Waben” is German for “honeycombs”). The honeycomb – which also features in Bockenheim’s coat of arms – aims to symbolize their networking and collaboration: it stands for structure that provides space and protection, yet also facilitates cooperation. The abstract spelling “VABN” aims to convey the creativity that is being displayed in the implementation of the project and in its subsequent use.
As part of a design competition, the University of Applied Sciences, Mainz and Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT Stuttgart) came up with innovative room designs for one of the floors in our building. Covering an area of around 570 square meters, the idea was to create a working environment in which new entrepreneurs can develop and grow. The winning design was implemented in around a year, together with architecture firm meyer schmitz-morkramer.
Another competition was held in fall 2016. This time, start-ups were able to put forward their business ideas and apply to move into the converted property. What awaited the eight winners was pretty special: they didn’t need to pay rent for nine months, and enjoyed a range of benefits such as consulting services and free software programs.
VABN was officially opened in January 2017, with the eight winning start-ups moving into their new workplaces.