It’s poetry in motion. The elements in harmony. One part collaboration, one part agility, and a dash of talent. Innovation doesn’t just happen. It’s a process flush with uncertainty and risk. But the formula behind Sika’s Zurich lab was no surprise: it was designed for breakthroughs.
In 2016, Sika sought a space that would get the best out of the brightest, which could bind its teams as strongly as its adhesives. It would – above all – enable innovation.
So that’s what architects Itten+Brechbühl imagined while drafting the lab at our Zurich headquarters, a complex that includes production, a service center, a multi-story car park, sales and marketing departments, and training facilities.
From inception, the lab was designed to:
- Increase employee satisfaction and productivity
- Promote collaborative working, knowledge sharing and innovation
- Support flexibility in working practices
- Attract and retain staff and customers
- Increase sustainability by improving resource efficiency
Sunny and open, with as much natural light as possible, the lab provides ample space for collaboration, information flow and – most importantly – innovation.
The Innovation Recipe
Knowledge, technology, curiosity, timing, and luck: the innovation recipe is complex, and stems from the many interactions between people with diverse ideas, cultural backgrounds and egos. Striking the balance is like walking a delicate tight rope.
The lab has done just that. “It’s inviting. The rooms are flooded with light, the noise levels are pleasant,” Urs Burckhardt, Head of Research at Sika, said. Employees rave about the highly competent teams, functional labs with top notch equipment, key services on site, and short distances between colleagues from all departments. Flat hierarchies promote harmony that is key to the "Sika spirit," and as a result, the average tenure is high.
Take Burckhardt, who has worked at Sika Zurich for the past 24 years. “The canteen on the top floor is a great meeting place, with terrific views and food,” he said. “It’s a great location close to the city center, on the riverbank with a vineyard in view.”
Sika Solutions from Floor to Ceiling
The lab is designed for sealing and bonding, waterproofing, liquid applied membranes and refurbishment – all of Sika’s core competencies have been materialized in this space.
For example, the floor was made with Sikafloor® PurCem® HS-21 Gloss and Sikafloor-264-Universal Components based on epoxy resin, and the roof was coated Sikagard®-551 S Primer ́ Sikagard®-675 W ElastoColor, among other Sika products used in the building process.
The Zurich lab is just one of 21 Global Technology Centers (GTC’s) worldwide. Sika employs more than 1,200 R&D experts who work closely with clients to find the best solutions for their projects. Since 2015, Sika has filed hundreds of new patents and innovation disclosures. Sika continuously develops new technologies to advance the circular economy and helps achieve not only the sustainability goals, but also those of the clients.
Ultimately, the Zurich HQ lab design reflects the values and strengths of Sika, and especially the company’s pioneering spirit. For the past 100 years, Sika has been committed to providing the most advanced technologies via its relentless pursuit of science. With its state-of-the-art Zurich lab – which promotes innovation and talent through its collaborative design – Sika is helping to foster breakthroughs for the next hundred years.