The DayOne Lab at the Technologiepark Basel provides a new and unique place for collaboration, creation and innovation: The lab is dedicated to startups, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs and innovators in the realm of digital health who are interested in interacting with the residents at Technologiepark and keen to play an active role in strengthening the ecosystem in the Basel region.
Shared desks are one part of the offer. The vital other part consists in the Workshop Space. What strikes the visitor when entering the spacious room on the seventh floor is the splendid view over the Basel rooftops, the movable whiteboard walls and a bright blue tribune to accommodate up to 40 people.
The DayOne team created the lab together with architect Jonathan Benhamu. Jonathan is an SIA accredited architect, practising in Switzerland for over twelve years. He has worked for Basel-based Luca Selva architects, amongst others. Jonathan is the Director of Benarici GmbH, an architecture office focused on multi-team international collaborations and avant-garde design processes. After 2 years working as a teaching assistant at the Chair of Professor Andrea Deplazes at the ETH in Zurich, he is now also a lecturer at the Department of Architecture.
Flexible solutions to cater to different needs
For Jonathan, the most crucial aspect to an innovation space is debate. “Detached from the daily digital interactions that put a screen between people, an innovation space centers around the team, the people that come up with innovative ideas which in time become cutting-edge digital products.” That is why he opted for a flexible solution. The moving walls, which motivate people to pin notes, and the tribune are not only vital features to foster debate, but also strong design elements.
Another characteristic of the DayOne Lab is its flexibility with four moving walls, three sliding boards, six rolling and foldable desks, six rolling lockers and a two-piece movable tribune, all hand-picked and originally created for the space. According to Jonathan’s plans, four hot desks and a discussion space for up to six people can be accommodated at the same time. If the elements are rearranged to create an open presentation space, up to 40 people fit comfortably into the room – and there are many different iterations in between these options. This also opens up a range of different options for the use of the DayOne Lab, which can be rented and facilitated for a variety of needs, from hot desks on a short-term basis to the full package, including workshop moderation.
Minimal use of digital, maximum use of personal interaction
With regard to the digital infrastructure in a room for digital health, Jonathan says: “It needs surprisingly little: a big screen and very fast Wi-Fi. It was refreshing to learn that the start-up community uses more Post-it notes than tech. Hence, the whole space is centered around the utility walls.” While each participant brings his or her own device to the space, the medium for the meetings and workshops themselves is mostly analogue.
The design process of the DayOne Lab was a creative and collaborative process in itself and made use of VR and mock-ups from the 3D printer. Both architect and DayOne team worked closely together: “The Day One team inspired the project as it stands today by actively trying to define what an innovation space should be from the user’s perspective, and allowing the architect to give shape to the actual space.” Jonathan not only let the DayOne team act as a client voicing demands, but also made them part of the development team. “Somewhat unorthodox for an architect, but I believe we live in a time where collaboration is at the center of every truly successful project.”