Deutsche Bahn enhances quality of stay at stations
Railway stations are often seen as hectic and poorly planned places. In the innovative project entitled “Zukunftsbahnhöfe”, Deutsche Bahn is testing new solutions at a number of stations across Germany to find out what makes spending time at a station more pleasant, easier and more useful for both travelers and visitors. As part of the project, two major stations have now been furnished with new seating landscapes from Vestre.
Deutsche Bahn (often known simply as Die Bahn) is the world's second-largest transport company and the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europe. It has over 320,000 employees and around two billion passengers are transported on Deutsche Bahn's railway network every year.
This throughput of travelers naturally necessitates durable, comfortable and well-designed furniture on platforms and in waiting halls. This is also why Deutsche Bahn asked Vestre to furnish the two recently refurbished stations, Berlin Südkreuz and Cottbus Hauptbahnhof.
What makes a good stay?
Through better service, connectivity and new solutions, the idea behind the Zukunftsbahnhöfe project is to make the stations pleasant places to spend time at, even if you are just dropping by for a coffee, sitting down for a moment to work, or meeting friends there.
At Südkreuz Berlin, Vestre has delivered a “co-waiting space” on the platform, while in Cottbus Hauptbahnhof, the entire waiting hall over two floors and the forecourts have now been upgraded with Vestre furniture. The latter station has undergone a comprehensive transformation in recent years and, in September 2021, Cottbus Hauptbahnhof was voted Station of the Year by the German Transport Alliance (Verkehrsbündnis Allianz). The most recent refurbishment, which began in 2020, focused on creating an even better experience at the station, with new interconnecting tunnels, heated waiting halls and more space for restaurants and shops.
Sustainable, regional and innovative
Cottbus Hauptbahnhof is located just south of Cottbus city center and welcomes almost 15,000 travelers and visitors every day, the majority of whom are commuters and students. The new concept deals with the topic of “quality of stay/waiting”, and efforts have therefore been made to develop solutions that are sustainable and regional, while at the same time meeting the needs of time-sensitive commuters in innovative ways.
“The main station building was erected in 1978 as a terminal. In the 1990s, additional shops were incorporated, which fundamentally altered the structure. Advertising systems in particular led to the creation of a restless atmosphere. The aim of the ongoing refurbishment that began in 2020 was to create a harmonious image and emphasize a stronger connection to the region, and to improve the quality of the stay with new and innovative seating furniture,” says Markus Baumeister, Project Manager for Product Concepts and Strategic Station Development at Deutsche Bahn.
Furniture for all needs
In the courtyards, the seating landscape from Vestre considerably improves the stay experience. The urban furniture is also complemented by natural plants, which in addition to adding an aesthetic value, also have a cooling effect on hot summer days. Vestre's furniture can also be found throughout the waiting hall, where the idea is that the new furniture and seating landscape will offer something to everyone and cater for all needs, regardless of whether people just want to sit down for a quick snack, work on their computer, or simply wait for their train.
The seating landscape primarily comprises furniture from our modular and flexible series VROOM and CODE. In addition, bar tables and bar chairs from our APRIL series has been put to well use, as well as round seating modules and planters from the STRIPES series. All furniture is made from highly durable wood and steel and comes with a lifetime guarantee against rust. A perfect match for a busy train station.
“The new seating has been very well-received by travelers and visitors alike, which has also been confirmed in our surveys. When combined with the real plants and USB charging options, the new seating furniture offers a new and very high level of comfort, even during long waiting times in the winter,” says Markus Baumeister.
Some of the specific challenges of refurnishing a railway station include the need to give careful consideration to fire protection. Close coordination with store owners is also essential.
The outcome of the new furnishings is that the stay experience has now been enhanced on many levels, which was also the overall goal of the entire Zukunftsbahnhöfe project.
“The collaboration has also been very uncomplicated and unbureaucratic. Deutsche Bahn, our partner agency Stationova and Vestre formed a super-triad, and we are therefore very much looking forward to future joint projects,” says Markus Baumeister.