The new Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) campus located in Aramist Place, Menlyn Maine, is a result of a full-turnkey solution from ARCA Brandspace. Previously, Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars had shared a campus in Zwartkops, Centurion, with Daimler Truck. 

 New space, new mindset 

 Taking advantage of the move, MBSA was looking to break away from the traditional office environment by posing the question: What role does the office play in a post-Covid-19 world? Identity, promotion of creativity and collaboration amongst different departments were highlighted as important. 

 Culture shock 

 Moving from a spacious open-air campus, surrounded by lush greenery and animal life, to a traditional office block located in an urban environment posed some challenges. One of these was how to facilitate such a large shift in company culture while keeping the company heritage intact. Careful consideration of the individual experience was needed to ensure that such a radical transition would run smoothly. 

 Project description 

 Occupying two-and-a-half storeys in a multi-storey building, the design was initiated by breaking any spatial segregation between departments. With the idea of collaboration within the company in mind, each floor plate was completely opened up. Services were grouped around existing cores and open-plan seating areas were moved towards the facades. This allowed for a direct connection to the outside, with exposure to sunlight and natural greenery at all times. 

 Connective walkways 

 A continuous movement route was implemented throughout the office, with the path passing through every department and encouraging collaboration. The shape of this movement route took inspiration from the Zwartkops campus, as the form resembles a meandering path through nature rather than an office walkway. Using wood-look vinyl flooring together with natural textures, organic forms and living plants along the walkway further provided a sense of being close to nature. 

Engaging all senses for a home at work experience 

 The office space was approached as an extension of home, rather than a separate entity. With such a diverse workforce at MBSA, ARCA needed to provide for a multitude of different personality types, ranging from the most introverted people to extremely extroverted individuals. A range of working environment options was made available for people to choose from, which included height adjustable desks, private booths, collaboration areas, privacy desks and coffee areas. 

 The colour palette was established in direct collaboration with MBSA, making use of the power of sight, colour, smell and sound to diversify the work environment, catering for an array of personalities.  

 Maintaining the heritage 

 The company heritage was a crucial factor for MBSA, an issue which was addressed by means of artwork and room names. Spaces were named in line with Mercedes-Benz, as well as Zwartkops’ heritage. Artwork was curated and handpicked from the Zwartkops campus to be re-introduced in the new space, thus taking an identifiable part of the previous office and transferring it to the new. 

 Client feedback 

 ARCA shares the client’s feedback with pride: “I would like to reach out to you and congratulate you on a magnificent job with our new offices. It is really superb, and everyone is completely awed by the look and feel of the new offices. I am truly impressed by the wonderful working environment you have created for us, the immaculate execution and great atmosphere… truly befitting, luxurious and cool! Great environment for co-creation and creativity! A big thank you and well done for making it happen. We really appreciate your efforts and for going the extra mile!” – Mark Raine, chief executive officer of MBSA 

Project details: 

Name: Mercedes-Benz South Africa Headquarters.
Location: Waterkloof Glen, Pretoria.
Architects: ARCA Brandspace.
Photographer: Azenord Prime Photography. 


For more information, contact ARCA Unlimited: 

Tel: +27 12 346 4023 



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