What to do with an aging department store in an attractive Berlin location? Right: Transform it into a state-of-the-art office location. This is what happened to the former GDR department store Centrum in Friedrichshain: The complete architectural conversion resulted in the Up! - one of the most attractive and sustainable office buildings in Berlin. Our star on board: the E-Line NEXT LED. The developer of the property is Signa Real Estate, the main tenant is Zalando.

The building in direct proximity to the East Side Gallery and the Zalando Campus in Berlin Friedrichshain has an unusual past - the huge cubic structure was opened in 1979 as a branch of the GDR department store chain Centrum and after the fall of the Wall was taken over first by Hertie and then by Galeria Kaufhof. The building has now been completely "reinvented" and perfectly adapted to the needs of a new-work-world through the reconstruction according to plans by Gewers Pudewill and Jasper Architects. At the top of the to-do list was "more daylight for the interior areas." To achieve this, four "pie slices" were cut out of the monolithic facade - and the resulting canyons were individually differentiated and stepped down.

These cuts increase the exterior area of the property by more than a third, bring daylight right into the central areas of the building, and create outdoor terraces for employees on each floor. At the same time, the interior was completely gutted to create new open office spaces with collaborative areas as well as retreat and meeting spaces. The result is a new urban highlight - and one of the most attractive and sustainable office complexes in Berlin.

Industrial charm meets start-up ambience


Instead of denying its history, the Up! consciously integrates the past into the new usage concept. The visible technical infrastructure with pipes and lines and large stained concrete surfaces with rust and drill holes testify to the industrial prehistory as a department store. In combination with a state-of-the-art interior - e.g. glass bar walls and large colored areas on the rubber floor - a uniquely modern working atmosphere is created. A central building block and an important style-defining element in the interior is the lighting. In order to meet the demands of a cutting-edge and future-proof office building, it must be convincing not only in terms of efficiency and lighting quality, but also in terms of luminaire design. Here, too, the Up! sets new standards: The lighting concept comes from the renowned lighting design firm Licht Kunst Licht, which was named Germany's "Most Innovative Lighting Design Company" in 2020.

E-Line NEXT LED - stylish and maximally flexible

The task was to illuminate a total of around 65.000 square meters from the stairwell to the executive office. Always and everywhere the luminaire of choice: our E-Line NEXT LED as a continuous row in stylish black. Thanks to its modular design, the luminaire can be perfectly adapted to the various areas of application in the building, e.g. as a UGR19 variant for computer workstations. With its minimalist, timeless design, the E-Line NEXT LED harmonizes perfectly with the New Work environment - and its building-wide use acts as a connecting and identity-creating element in the Up! Another plus point is that by using the Flex variant, the luminaire modules can be positioned anywhere on the trunking rail thanks to the continuous wiring. This means that the client's requirement for maximum flexibility and freedom in lighting design can be met in the best possible way. This also applies to the 3-phase tracks integrated in some areas, into which users can also insert their own luminaires.

Smart control via an external light management or building management system is particularly sustainable. Sensors in and around the building record central parameters such as brightness, position of the sun and temperature - and use this information to regulate the lighting and sun protection. The large, wide-area window fronts for high sunlight penetration, the highly efficient luminaires and an intelligent control system are important components that make the Up! one of the most sustainable office buildings in Berlin. This means that the property is also taking a big step towards the future in terms of lighting technology.