Canal-side buildings in Aarhus make for a striking office complex by C.F. Møller

International architecture firm C.F. Møller
International architecture firm C.F. Møller has completed the new office headquarters for Danish company Bestseller, set by the canals of the city of Aarhus
(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

Three years following the completion of Bestseller's logistics centre in 2012, Aarhus-based architectural firm C.F. Møller created their second significant project for the family-owned Danish clothing company's core operation. Located in the Aarhus port and surrounded by canals and lakes on all four sides, this complex functions as a 22,000 sqm commercial office for 800 employees, as well as a 24,000 sq m goods reception, car park and plant.

Reflecting Bestseller's scope and worldwide reach – eleven brands available in over 3,000 branded stores across 38 markets – the construction constitutes of a flotilla of buildings at different levels, ranging from one to twelve storeys. Devised as 'a town within a town,' these are interconnected through several open-air atria, courtyards and roof terraces, all of which are reached by a bridge-like entrance.

C.F. Møller, best-known for cultural projects such as the National Gallery in Copenhagen, the Darwin Centre at the Museum of Natural History in London and the compelling Sogn & Fjordane Art Museum in Førde in Norway, has stayed true to the firm's ideals of simplicity and clarity, creating a striking and intriguing bilateral framework. The south and north facades, made up of deep window niches built in natural stone from Sicily, give off strong graphic visual vibe, creating a sharp contrast to the sleek, transparent glass facades facing east and west.

Inside, the building's ground floor is split in two halves by a strut-friendly runway 'street' and indoor plaza. From there, employees can access office spaces, showrooms, experimental store environments, photo and film studios, meeting rooms, an auditorium and a canteen. Natural stone lays the foundation for most of the interior, which is combined with dark oak to add warmth and texture. 

The office complex's showstoppers are the many staircases interlinking the building's many levels, with the opening look being the magnificent dark oak stairway found just beyond reception. Another stringent and rigorous design expression is the modular concrete steps with floating treads, as well as the cantilever concrete staircases featured outdoors.

In line with C.F. Møller's aim to take social and environmental responsibility, the office complex is a low energy class 2015 building and uses seawater cooling and solar energy. And despite just having been finalized, the building has already been awarded Aarhus Municipality Architecture Award 2015.

The scheme comprises a mixture of buildings of different sizes as well as several outdoors spaces for the employees

The scheme comprises a mixture of buildings of different sizes as well as several outdoors spaces for the employees

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

The buildings' south and north façades have distinctive reliefs, created in natural stone from Sicily

The buildings' south and north façades have distinctive reliefs, created in natural stone from Sicily

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

Inside, the architects paid the same attention to detail when articulating the interiors

Inside, the architects paid the same attention to detail when articulating the interiors

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

The buildings range in size from one to twelve storeys high, making for an interesting composition.

The buildings range in size from one to twelve storeys high, making for an interesting composition. The indoors are similarly thought through, with a generous atrium at the complex's heart

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

Natural stone is also used indoors, combined with dark oak and light metal surfaces

Natural stone is also used indoors, combined with dark oak and light metal surfaces

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

The complex includes ample office space, showrooms, photo and film studios...

The complex includes ample office space, showrooms, photo and film studios...

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

An auditorium and a generous restaurant area

...as well as an auditorium and a generous restaurant area

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

The headquarters is home to some 800 employees, who can make use of the several outdoors options

The headquarters is home to some 800 employees, who can make use of the several outdoors options

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

Various atria, courtyards, terraces and roof gardens are available throughout the complex

Various atria, courtyards, terraces and roof gardens are available throughout the complex

(Image credit: Adam Moerk)

INFORMATION
For more information on C.F. Møller Architects visit the website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Adam Moerk