Shaping the future: Opening of the NanoFactory in Haar

Official ceremony at the new headquarters

With the ultra-modern NanoFactory in Haar, Munich nanotech specialist attocube systems and its neaspec subsidiary are setting out on a path into the future hand in hand with WITTENSTEIN SE, the parent company. Less than two years after the ground-breaking dig, the new headquarters in Eglfinger Weg 2 were officially opened on October 11, 2018 at a formal evening event in the presence of international guests, customers and other close associates.

The motto for the evening – ‘grow up. stay young. shape the future’ reflected the spirit of the new building and also the rapid evolution of the two nanotechnology firms, both twenty-first century startups. Around 150 people have meanwhile moved into the NanoFactory premises – including the sales team of WITTENSTEIN alpha GmbH, who until now have been based in Ottobrunn – with more to come. Against the background of double-digit growth rates over the last ten years, the new headquarters offer the Group – and attocube systems AG in particular –ample space to accommodate new employees and state-of-the-art production equipment. The first occupants moved into the building, which was designed by Munich architects HENN Architekten, at the beginning of September. About a hundred attocube employees now have their place of work there; they were joined in early October by neaspec, an attocube subsidiary, and WITTENSTEIN alpha’s Sales Office South-East will follow in the next few days. 

Room for synergies and creative thinking

The infrastructure and work processes at the new headquarters – for which the unusual and decidedly challenging geometry of the “Haar triangle” lot evidently provided inspiration – are optimally adapted to each firm’s respective needs. The NanoFactory provides sufficient space to grow even closer together, both within individual teams and across company boundaries, and to simultaneously capitalize on synergies – while continuing to ride the success wave with a blend of innovation, creativity and business performance. This was also highlighted by Peter Kraemer, Chief Executive Officer, in his welcoming speech to roughly 180 invited guests: “We all know the old adage ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body’ – and team spirit, too, needs a suitable habitat in which to thrive. The NanoFactory is more than simply a new building; it’s a vision for unlocking the potential of all employees and for fostering team spirit.” The planners devoted considerable attention to open communication spaces, more intimate encounter spaces and a creative interior design as well as to quiet retreat rooms and soundproofed offices. The aim was that employees should feel at ease and have places where they can get together to develop innovative ideas. “We are convinced,” Kraemer added, “that business enterprises also profit from a creative space in which team spirit can thrive.

Investment in the future

The WITTENSTEIN group invested around 20 million euros in the new building, which offers space for up to 300 people. Futuristic working environments are linked together there on 9205 square meters of floor space. The entire architecture is subordinate to the goal of strengthening cooperation both among colleagues and with customers and business partners. The open, brightly lit building will promote close relationships with international clients in industry and leading research institutes – employees, customers and business partners will hopefully all feel equally at home here.

In her opening address, Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein of the WITTENSTEIN SE Management Board passed on congratulations from the other Group companies as well as from the WITTENSTEIN family. She described how the new building provides ideal conditions in which to continue growing together and how it symbolizes the successful union between the WITTENSTEIN group and its subsidiary, attocube systems: “We both aspire to the same high standards of precision and excellence with our products. Or, put another way, the aesthetics and language of the buildings in which we work are a conscious expression of our corporate culture – the way we work.

Gabriele Müller, Mayor of Haar, stressed the NanoFactory’s immense importance for the town: “When a company at the cutting edge of technology like attocube chooses Haar as the location for its headquarters, that clearly underlines our municipality’s attractiveness for businesses. It was obvious even during the construction phase that you want to be a part of our community family. attocube will enrich Haar and the local region.”

Culture of repair

Professor Wolfgang M. Heckl, Director General of the Deutsches Museum in Munich and keynote speaker, emphasized the major contribution an inventive spirit, courage and curiosity make towards the success of a company and drew fascinating, plausible and entertaining parallels with the ‘culture of repair’ of which he is a staunch advocate: “If you take pleasure in making and mending things when you’re young, you’ll grow up to see repairs as a rational, iterative process. You’ll learn that it’s worth daring to try something new, stick with it and – should you happen to fail – search for feasible alternatives.” 

Short lines of communication 

When planning the building, particular attention was paid to short lines of communication as a way to ensure leaner processes. For example, the offices, laboratory areas, Development, Sales, Production, Quality Assurance and Incoming / Outgoing Goods are all ‘workflow optimized’.

A technological oasis of well-being 

The NanoFactory building combines both: a modern high-tech working environment and a warm, open atmosphere that allows plenty of freedom for an international team spirit to develop. The green rooftop terrace, the spacious outdoor areas and the bistro on the first floor provide opportunities for informal exchanges among employees and their guests as well as a convenient place to eat and drink. The future “atomic kitchen”– which, incidentally, will also be accessible to the general public – will open at the end of the year.

This balancing act is traditionally one of attocube’s success factors. Professor Khaled Karraï, meanwhile Scientific Director of attocube systems AG, and Dr. Dirk Haft of the WITTENSTEIN SE Management Board, the company’s joint founders, recalled the exciting moments they shared during attocube’s early years and in conversation with Andrea Grießmann, who hosted the NanoFactory opening on Thursday evening, reported that it was always their goal to stay flexible and agile – no matter how rapidly their business grew. They explained that innovation needs openness and unconventional ideas, the courage to think outside the box and a dynamic spirit. However, a growing enterprise also requires structure, organization, processes and a clear focus. “We’ve succeeded in reconciling these two demands with the NanoFactory and in providing room for this vision to take shape.”

The official part of the ceremony was punctuated by dancing and cloth waving by “Dance of Light Performance” as well as music from the “Monaco Swing Trio”. Interested persons later had an opportunity to discover the world of nanotechnology at various stations scattered around the building, with presentations of the different business segments.

The official opening of the NanoFactory marks the start of a new era in the history of the company. The new building will not only strengthen cooperation between employees; it will also promote interactions with customers and partners. The foundation has now been laid for further growth.

Photo 1: Exterior view of the NanoFactory
Photo 2: View of the atrium from above
Photo 3: Offices
Photo 4: Manufactory and testing room
Photo 5: 3rd floor: Open space
Photo 6: Group photo (from left to right): Professor Wolfgang Heckl (Director General of the Deutsches Museum in Munich), Professor Khaled Karraï (Scientific Director, attocube systems AG), Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein (WITTENSTEIN SE Management Board), Peter Kraemer (Chief Executive Officer, attocube systems AG), Gabriele Müller (Mayor of Haar), Dr. Dirk Haft (WITTENSTEIN SE Management Board)
Photo 7: Peter Kraemer, Chief Executive Officer, attocube systems AG
Photo 8: Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, WITTENSTEIN SE Management Board
Photo 9: Andrea Grießmann in conversation with (from left to right): Dr. Dirk Haft, Professor Khaled Karraï and Gunter Henn (HENN Architekten)
Photo 10: Professor Wolfgang Heckl, Director General of the Deutsches Museum in Munich
Photo 11: NanoFactory – interior view
Photo 12: NanoFactory – exterior view