OnLabs is On’s new global headquarters in the heart of Zurich West. The premises set new benchmarks for future working environments. On has taken the conscious decision to remain true to its Swiss roots, and its new innovation campus offers space for 1 000 employees. On Labs will be the company’s heart and soul, not only for product design and development but also for innovation on all further fronts. The new work ecosystem features state-of-the-art technologies and ultra-modern design that are specifically intended to promote creativity and support social interactions, with employees’ contentment and well-being placed firmly centerstage. Parts of the new premises are also devoted to the first On Flagship Store in Europe and to ‘roots Kitchen’, the continent’s first vegan corporate restaurant.
“Nobody’s going to come back to the office for their own desk alone,” explains On co-founder David Allemann. “At our new On Labs the focus is clearly on the social interactions within our diverse team. Because by living our shared culture together, we’ll keep ourselves creative and innovative, too.”
Spatial design as innovation catalyst
On is convinced that working together and maintaining strong social interactions within a diverse team is the best formula for promoting and supporting innovation. So the design of the interior spaces within its new On Labs premises sets new workplace benchmarks. In collaboration with reputed architects Spillmann Echsle of Zurich and Specific Genericof Stockholm, the project team headed by David Allemann has created a unique workspace that clearly bears the On design signature while meeting all the On teams’ functional needs and aspirations for a contemporary workplace environment.
Key elements of the ‘social office’ and an allegorical journey
The whole On story began on a hike through small villages up to a mountain in Switzerland’s Engadine. That founding experience has been mirrored in the new On headquarters, too, where a very special path – The Trail, which consists of various staircases – leads up from ground level through a number of ‘Villages’ to the 17th floor. Like a mountain path, The Trail begins spacious and wide, but narrows increasingly as it ascends. And along its route through the various floors, The Trail constantly offers employees a series of ‘Gems’ of a functional or an inspirational nature.
As has been the case at On to date, no desks or workstations on the new premises are permanently assigned. But to give the company’s more than 600 employees a sense of home and belonging, a series of ‘Villages’ has been created. Every team member is assigned to one of these Villages, each of which extends over three floors and accommodates some 250 ‘inhabitants’. This is the employee’s ‘home’. But the Villages are also intentionally overpopulated, to encourage people to venture beyond their own three floors. The result: even more encounters, more interactions and ultimately more innovation.
Piazza and Welcome Area (Ground Floor):
The new On Labs premises at Förrlibuckstrasse 190 are entered from a spacious piazza, in the middle of which stands the CollectiveBakery. Under the expert stewardship of award-winning barista MattWinton, the Collective serves freshly baked delights and some of the best espressos in town. Matt’s fine coffee concoctions are also available in the ground floor Welcome Area within the new premises.
The ground floor is also home to ‘roots Kitchen’, Europe’s first-ever vegan corporate restaurant, which offers both a space for meet-ups and events and healthy food and drink creations to recharge the batteries. High-performance runners and high-performing teams all need energy, too, to reach their goals. So nutrition is a further key element in the On Labs [PD1] concept, and a wide range of options are available to keep everyone well-nourished and energized all through the day.
Earth Lobby (Meeting Space and Conferencing, 1st to 3rd floor):
The first few floors of the On Labs building are entirely devoted to communal activities and contacts with outside guests. Key features include space and facilities for indoor sports (including showers and lockers), presentations and events, along with meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art conferencing technology. This is the place for meeting and interacting with external guests or companies from the local neighborhood and the wider running community.
OnLabs & RnD Space (1st to 3rd floor):
The centerpiece of the new building’s product development facilities is a full sports science and athletes’ center. The highlights here include an eight-meter-long touchscreen wall to make online meetings with partners feel even more real, along with a dedicated event space, creative rooms and the ‘Makers Space’, smartly accommodated behind semi-transparent and characteristically orange glass to give adequate confidentiality to the innovations of tomorrow.
Play Area & Rooftop (5th floor):
Ample room has been provided for a new living and dining area in the new building, too. And right across from this is a unique rooftop terrace complete with herb and berry garden, which offers the space and the surroundings to relax, regenerate and enjoy a time-out for all the senses.
Forest, Lake and Mountain Villages (4th and 6th-12th floor):
The remaining floors are home to the actual workspaces: meeting rooms, connect boxes for undisturbed phone calls and ‘hack garages’ for meet-ups, brainstorming and smaller team events. In addition to a wide range of individual workplace options – standing desks, traditional office desks, couches and more – these floors also offer several further inspirational or functional ‘Gems’ such as a library with literature on various topics, an indoor garden and the HangingAlpineTree, an art installation crafted from a real tree.
The first On Flagship Store in Europe
The new On Labs ZRH further houses the first On Flagship Store in Europe, a 350-square-metre shop offering the widest range of On products and a truly personalized On shopping experience.
The store is far more than just a place to buy On items, though: it’s a community center, too. The extensive premises are 90% modular, with walls and installations that can be freely rearranged to host a wide range of events.
This unique hub offers the room and the facilities to host courses, presentations, and community activities, all true to On’s core commitment to providing integrative and accessible spaces to bring together people with the most varied interests and abilities. Wednesday, for instance, is the day for the RunClub, complete with hydration station, try-on shoes, lockers and more.
OnScan – a shortcut to the perfect running shoe
The On Flagship Store’s high-tech OnScan facility uses run analysis technology to compare a customer’s individual running style to those of some 52 000 further runners. It’s the ideal way to gain an insight into your personal running style and thus into the On products that are best suited to your running. The SizeScan, meanwhile, uses a specially-developed invisible foot scanner to determine the perfect shoe size.
The Boulder is a homage to On’s Swiss roots: an upcycled replica of the rock in the Engadine where the original On idea was born. The creation of artist LucasMunoz, The Boulder is both a reminder of On’s alpine origins and a pointer to its future as a market leader in sustainable design. The outer shell consists of reused R&D prototypes, while the rest of the piece is made from a combination of recycled materials from deconstructed shoes and apparel. And integrated into the artwork is a 24-hour sound feature that is played in four different directions.
Showroom also incorporated into the store is a special digital showroom for On’s retail partners.
Commitment to Zürich
In siting its new headquarters in Zurich, On has made a conscious commitment to Switzerland as its future corporate base. While the company has evolved into a genuinely global brand, its roots are firmly Swiss. And all its future research and product development will be conducted in its Zurich home.
Parallel to this, On is also opening new Innovation Offices in Berlin (Germany) and Portland (OR, USA).
High-resolution visual material is available here.
On was born in the Swiss Alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running by empowering all to run on clouds. Twelve years after market launch, On delivers industry-disrupting innovation in premium footwear, apparel, and accessories for high-performance running, outdoor, and all-day activities. Fueled by customer recommendation, On’s award-winning CloudTec® innovation, purposeful design, and groundbreaking strides in sportswear’s circular economy have attracted a fast-growing global fan base — inspiring humans to explore, discover and dream on.
On is present in more than 60 countries globally and engages with a digital community on www.on-running.com.
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