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Ritter Sport employs colour blocking for new Waldenbuch HQ

Drawing from the company’s distinctive branding, Ippolito Fleitz Group create a vibrant workspace for a team of German chocolatiers.

03/04/2024

2 min read

Photography: Philip Kottlorz


Nestled in the quiet, unassuming hills of Waldenbuch, Stuttgart-based design studio Ippolito Fleitz Group has re-envisioned a bold, diverse and flexible HQ for German chocolate brand Ritter Sport. The multi-disciplinary studio – who develop architecture as well as products and communications – worked alongside local firm ARGE architekten grebner + amann to extend the original 1980s building, creating a larger footprint for the confectionary brand to develop new and improved headquarters for its 130 employees.

When creating the design concept for Ritter Sport’s new Schokozentrale (or ‘Chocolate Central’), Ippolito Fleitz looked first to the company’s signature branding, whose square shape and colour block packaging (used to denote different flavours) is instantly recognisable to much of the German public. The studio transferred this ‘bold and impactful identity’ onto the spatial design for the family-run company, pairing a vibrant palette of colours with a varied choice of agile workstations and social hubs. The new extension by ARGE architekten grebner + amann is connected to the original main building with a glass joint, creating a bright, light-filled communal space where employees from across different teams can meet and exchange ideas or simply socialise with their colleagues.

A cafe with its own theme sits on each floor, with the Chocolate Café on ground level ready to welcome guests with a cup of coffee or, of course, hot chocolate. On the first floor, the Dialogue Café acts a place to work and collaborate between meetings, while one floor up, the Fernweh Café (or ‘Wanderlust Café’) offers a place for employees and visitors to let their gaze wander across Waldenbuch. The Marketplace (or Marktplatz) acts as the heart of the workspace, featuring a kitchen counter, cosy alcoves, a mobile bar table and a generous auditorium-like space where conferences and small events can be held under an illuminated ceiling. A fantastical Chocolate and Cocoa Workshop is also located right next to the in-house research and development department, inviting employees to develop and taste their own flavour creations all the way from development to production.

As a nod to the company’s roots, suspended above shared lounge areas are sets of statement pendant lights taking the shape of cocoa beans. These playful details are also joined by thoughtful additions like the semi-open Ideas Garden, a lush, green space with two garden arbours full of air-purifying houseplants. Accommodating the company’s hybrid working policy and preference for hot desking, Ippolito Fleitz incorporated both formal and informal meeting spaces, as well as quiet zones for retreat and concentrated work, offering both acoustic privacy and flexible configurations.

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