IBM Watson IOT Headquarters

Munich, Germany

156,500 SF

2017 New York Design Awards, Gold

A new global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things explains the complex nature of IoT and AI using cognitive physical installations, digital themes and experiences.
The new global HQ for IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) is a center for customers looking to transform their operations using a combination of IBM IoT and Watson technologies. This living ecosystem, IBM's first global headquarters outside the United States, consists of more than 10 floors in Munich's iconic Highlight Towers. The program consists of conference rooms, open area workstations, private offices, a cafe/bistro on the 26th floor, with executives situated in open areas. The Design of agile spaces provides a balanced ratio between collaborative spaces and fixed work stations.

"Quiet rooms" were designed, which utilize a Switzer custom made yin-yang shaped work area to accommodate privacy/focus needs. Adotta top acoustic wood panels were used throughout the space. The Switzer Group also collaborated with a German-based lighting engineer to design and install a 500 lux lighting system over all workstations.

A new design language was developed to represent IBM Watson IoT and an approach to explaining the complex nature of cognitive computing and the Internet of Things using physical installations and experiments rather than over-use of screens. Server rooms are left visible to show the technology driving the experiences. Lighting and natural material choices provide a warm environment for presenting and discussing Watson IoT technology.

In the Lobby, a large Communal Table functions as a reception desk and workspace with a built-in espresso machine. Tables around the perimeter show Watson IoT Stories. An interactive art Installation embodies the scale and growth of IoT.

Development of the design, architecture and experience for the ground floor Lobby and 20th floor Client Experience Zones showcases Watson IoT technologies, presents case studies and co-creates with clients. The Lobby and Client Experience zones cover an area of 2,250 square meters. Design and construction was completed within one year.

IBM wanted to apply Feng Shui philosophy to the design. The Switzer Group worked with a Feng Shui consultant to develop a color scheme that reflected the tree of life. Floors on the lower level are warm-earthy tones while middle and top floors are a combination of greens and blues to represent leaves and the sky.

Project Team: The Switzer Group; VOK DAMS Event GmbH; Ce+Co MAP - Industrial Design; Universal - Architecture

“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

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