Page 1




Innovatin g the inno vators Centre fo r Virtual Engineer ing, ZVE, Stuttgart



& colour rt o f m o C ice in the off w with An intervie ensen and g r ø J e n n A hmidt  Michael Sc

ceResour design nt e i c i eff Office, e l c y c e R m  Rotterda



The off ice as a "Busin ess Club " DuPont d e Nemou rs, Neu-Isen burg


The office as a “Business Club”

DuPont de Nemours, Neu-Isenburg, 4

Innovating the workplace innovators

Centre for Virtual Engineering, ZVE, Stuttgart, 10




Comfort and colour in the office An interview with Anne Jørgensen, Design Director at Kvadrat and designer Michael Schmidt, 22


Resource-efficient design HAKA Recycle Office, Rotterdam, by Doepel Strijkers, 34



The office as a “Business Club“ Together with Haworth, DuPont in Neu-Isenburg have created a modern, innovative office concept

The lounge areas sport Hello leather armchairs in bright red, creating a relaxed “Business Club” atmosphere of comfort and focused creativity.



The German offices of DuPont in Neu-Isenburg

with the Munich-based design consultancy

received a makeover with the aim of creating

congena, we developed our so-called Modern

contemporary, flexible and innovative 21st

Office Concept, a contemporary office envi-

century office spaces. Together with the design

ronment consisting of flexible open-space zo-

consultancy congena, Haworth developed a

nes – we call them “the Business Club” – and

furniture concept that helped transform a con-

functional spaces such as our document cen-

ventional office setting into a creative, interac-

tre, “Think Tanks”, cloakrooms and layout areas,

tive “Business Club” environment.

as well as non-user-specific individual offices.

Great Spaces spoke to Karl Surges, Project Ma-

Furthermore, we also created meeting rooms

nager EMEA at DuPont and Project Assistant

and lounge areas in different sizes and for-

Marina Esposito, who were involved in this

mats, which are specially designed to facilitate



What were the main challenges in the re-

Who is using these rooms primarily?

design of DuPont’s offices in Neu-Isenburg?

These areas are used by all members of staff

The brief asked for a transition from traditio-

here at DuPont – and are very popular.

nal cubicle office set-up to a contemporary, flexible design, fit for the 21st century and

What changes were made to the old office

anticipating predicted changes in the way we


work. The redesign follows global DuPont stra-

We first moved offices in 2008. The Modern Of-

tegies and guidelines, but also takes account

fice Concept we chose at the time presented use-

of country-specific cultural aspects. Together

ful lessons that served as our starting point > [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


The ergonomic swivel chair Comforto 89 has been the office chair of choice at DuPont since 2008.

The new “Work Rooms” are equipped with Tibas desks, while Planes desks and Comforto 62 chairs were chosen for the meeting and conference rooms.

for further improvements in the recent office

two chairs, telephone and broadband internet

expansion, for which we once again worked

access – and as “Team Rooms” sporting three

with congena. The specific challenges this

colourful lounge chairs and offering a more

time round were the design of a large, flexible

relaxed, comfortable setting for smaller team

conference space, the redesign and further de-


velopment of our “Think Tanks” and the lounge areas. Previously, the “Think Tanks” were room-

What form did the collaboration take bet-

in-room systems, which were unpopular with

ween you as the client, the design consultan-

staff due to their unattractive design, poor

cy congena and Haworth?

ventilation and unsatisfactory acoustic perfor-

The underlying design concept, developed

mance. The new “Think Tanks” are now availa-

together with congena, formed the basis for

ble in two different formats: as “Work Rooms”

the detailed designs, carried out in close – and

– designed for quiet, concentrated work and

very enjoyable – cooperation with Haworth.

equipped with a 120-centimetre desk and

Following initial site visits and meetings to



exchange ideas and define our specific pre-

since 2008. The lounge areas were equipped

ferences and requirements, Haworth propo-

with DuPont Corian® kitchen worktops, com-

sed a number of different and highly creative

bined with Haworth products – specifically

options for the various areas. These were then

Hello leather lounge chairs in red and LTB

brought to life through computer visualisation

lounge furniture elements in different shades

and finalised together with the DuPont project

of grey.

team and congena. We chose the concept that

For the conference and meeting rooms, we

was best suited to each individual area and im-

used Planes desks and Comforto 62 chairs. The

plemented it accordingly.

“Think Tanks”, as I mentioned before, were reconfigured to create “Team Rooms” and “Work

How are the different Haworth products –

Rooms” with different atmospheric qualities.

Comforto 89, Hello, LTB and Planes – used?

We therefore also used different furniture ele-

The ergonomic swivel chair Comforto 89 has

ments for the two settings: Tibas desks and

been our office chair of choice here at DuPont

Comforto 62 chairs for the “Work Rooms”, and > [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


Figure 1: Hello armchairs with textile covers in orange, blue and green were chosen for the “Team Rooms�. Figure 2: LTB lounge furniture elements in different shades of grey create a relaxed and pleasant setting for the lounge areas.



three Hello armchairs with comfortable textile covers in orange, blue and green for the “Team Rooms”. These are elegantly complemented by full-length curtains in grey, white and red, as suggested by Haworth. What are the advantages of Haworth’s products in this new office context, as opposed to other products? The furniture we chose in liaison with Haworth is an exceptionally good match, both in con-

Project: DuPont de Nemours Deutschland GmbH Hugenottenallee 175 63263 Neu-Isenburg

cept and design, for our new, modern office environment. We see the result of this collaboration as a template for similar projects in the future. How did your colleagues respond to the new office design? We have been in our new offices for six months now, so I think it is probably safe to say that the response is very positive. Visitors to the office, and colleagues from other DuPont locations, too, are very impressed and like it here.

Design and project management: congena Gesellschaft für Planung, Training und Organisation mbH Baumkirchner Straße 53 81673 München Haworth products used: Tibas desks Planes conference tables Comforto 89 swivel chairs Comforto 62 conference chairs LTB lounge furniture Hello armchairs



Innovating the workplace innovators Haworth creates a stimulating environment for research at the Centre for Virtual Engineering, ZVE, in Stuttgart:

The spectacular building of the Fraunhofer IAO’s

office concepts. Team members thereby often

Centre for Virtual Engineering, ZVE, provides a

become their own guinea pigs. The underlying

fitting environment for research into the future

philosophy in all this is that work should take

of work itself – in particular into the design of

place in an environment where people feel

innovative concepts for offices and workplaces.

comfortable and which enables them to carry

The buzzword of the day here is “flexibility”.

out their tasks effectively.

Researchers at the ZVE develop future scena-

Accordingly, the ZVE was designed as a “multi-

rios based on trend analysis and technology

space office” with individual offices, offices for

road maps, and by exploring user needs and

two, team workspaces for larger project teams,

expectations. They then apply the results of

meeting rooms, and a number of furniture so-

their research, build prototypes and trial new

lutions that facilitate informal communication.



A photo reportage...

Haworth as an expert partner for innovative

ter displays. The chosen furniture system offers

office furniture solutions worked closely with

the great advantage that the same elements

the ZVE to create a work environment designed

can be used in open-plan and team offices as

specifically for virtual engineering – fulfilling

well as in individual offices. For the communi-

the ZVE engineers’ detailed user requirements

cation spaces, meanwhile, the objective was to

while also reflecting the exceptional architec-

find furniture elements that create a comfortab-

ture of the building as a whole. The result is a

le and relaxed atmosphere while still providing

fully integrated, individual furniture solution, in-

a sense of being “at work”. These requirements

corporating sound absorption, lighting, plants,

were fulfilled perfectly by the Haworth lounge

storage and technology interfaces, and offering

systems Hello and LTB. The photos on the fol-

extra-large desk spaces with integrated compu-

lowing pages give an impression.




Within this spectacular building, interdisciplinary research is carried out exploring innovative workplace design and mobility.



The ZVE: four floors of research set within an architectural form that offers a breathtaking spatial experience.



You cannot help but be excited by the exceptional architecture of this building. Research labs take up two thirds of its floorspace – 100 workstations were created in total.



The elements of the furniture system are equally suitable for individual offices.



The lounge furniture elements in the various meeting points throughout the building are very popular with staff and visitors alike.



Storage units screen off the individual desks, thereby adding privacy.



Often the research staff act as their own guinea pigs in testing out innovative work environments.



The ZVE is a hub of interaction: in knowledge work especially, cross-disciplinary exchange between staff is of vital importance.



The comfortable lounge furniture creates a relaxed and inviting atmosphere and facilitates chance meetings between members of different research teams.



Project: Centre for Virtual Engineering, ZVE, Stuttgart Architects: UNStudio ASPLAN

On two floors, Haworth contributed from its extensive office furniture range to fulfil the ZVE’s objectives – as in this large seminar room with “virtual sky”.

Structural engineers: BKSi Haworth products used: Kiron desks (manually and electrically height-adjustable) Screen solutions Acoustic partition walls Individual storage solutions Planes desks Vados cupboards HC1 mobile pedestal C3 shuttle Comforto 62 swivel chairs Comforto 62 visitor chairs LTB lounge system Soft Shelter



Comfort and colour in the office An interview with Design Director at Kvadrat, Anne Jørgensen and designer Michael Schmidt

The Danish design studio Kvadrat was founded in 1968 and now counts as Europe‘s leading manufacturer of designer textiles. Kvadrat develops textiles and textile-related products for innovative architectural projects and highquality designer furniture. Haworth works in partnership with the studio, and Kvadrat textiles are available for products within the Haworth range. For example, Kvadrat’s new Collection 65 / Remix 2 – developed by Giulio Ridolfo – was used in the MeetYou partitioning system. The interior designer Anne Jørgensen joined Kvadrat in 1995 and has been in charge of the studio’s design department since 1998.



Decentralised ways of working and meetings in virtual space have become commonplace in modern office life. Yet this makes it even more important to create physical office spaces that instil a sense of belonging and support employee engagement. Using high-quality materials and distinctive colour schemes, innovative “New Ways of Working” furniture ranges support this objective. We spoke to Michael Schmidt, designer of the MeetYou partitioning system, and Anne Jørgensen, Design Director at Kvadrat, about creating attractive and comfortable office environments and the role of colour in the workplace.

code2design was founded in 1995 in Stuttgart. Its mission is to take a product beyond its mere functional aspects and allow the user to experience the inherent emotional aspects of its design. Michael Schmidt, industrial designer and founder of code2design, sees himself as a “design author” who tells stories through inspirational products. code2design has won several international awards for its work. For Haworth, Michael Schmidt designed the modular system Meet You, which is suitable for use in open-plan offices, lounge or reception areas and foyers.



MeetYou is a free-standing modular room partitioning system, designed for Haworth by Michael Schmidt.

Mr Schmidt, in a previous interview you said

the feel-good factor of furniture and architec-

that a successful product needs to address

ture. This means that office furniture has an

functional aspects as well as its user’s emo-

important role to play in helping employees

tional needs. How important are emotions

feel engaged and identify with the company

when it comes to office furniture?

they work for.

M. Schmidt: Every product tells a story, which speaks to the people who own or use the

How can office and furniture design support

product on an emotional level and prompts

this sense of identity and strengthen emplo-

them to behave in certain ways. A product is

yee engagement?

successful when its design communicates this

MS: First of all, it needs to speak to people

story and its implied possibilities especially

on an emotional level. And it needs to inclu-

well. These emotional aspects of a product are

de an element of choice – the ability to take

also important in the office, as they determine

control of your own space. Choice starts with



Kvadrat’s Remix 2 colour range features 21 new shades, ranging from red and orange to charcoal and greys, in addition to its 28 original colours.

flexibility in your working hours, having a say

MS: Comfort and wellbeing are important

in where you work – both within the compa-

aspects in the design of workspaces. But, of

ny and in a more general sense – all the way

course, they only make sense in contexts whe-

down to being able to modify your individual

re an attractive and comfortable environment

workstation to suit your personal tastes and

supports the objectives of the moment: for

needs. In other words, well-designed yet ad-

example, in meeting spaces where you get to-

aptable work environments are important for

gether to discuss things in an informal, more

employee engagement. Studies have shown

personable setting. Conversation flows more

that this has beneficial effects on employee

freely and creative ideas come more easily in a

satisfaction and performance.

space where you feel relaxed. But a comfortable and relaxed environment is also appropriate

How important is comfort in the workplace

in temporary workspaces designed to support

and how can you design for it?

quiet, focused work. [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]

> 25

Ms Jørgensen, the feel and colour of a pie-

minimalist weave, which further enhances

ce of furniture are no doubt important for

its contrast and depth of colour. In addition,

the feel-good factor, especially in the office.

Remix 2 contains 90% wool – a natural fibre

What makes fabrics from the Haworth Coll.

with many excellent qualities. The fabric is soft

65 (Remix 2) range particularly interesting in

and breathable and feels nice to the touch. It

this respect?

also has insulating and moisture-absorbing

A. Jørgensen: Remix 2 is an upholstery textile

qualities, which means it is perfect for all tem-

made from blended wool yarns. The combi-

peratures: on hot days it will feel pleasantly

nation of different-coloured yarns gives the

cool and on cold days it feels warm. Remix is

fabric a special depth that only becomes ap-

a versatile upholstery fabric that is as suitable

parent at close range. It’s not just the colours

for offices and semi-public settings as for the

that make this fabric special, but also the cha-

home. It is a comfortable, yet highly durable

racteristics of the material: Remix 2 has a tight,

and hard-wearing textile.



Giulio Ridolfo’s design approach, and the resulting colour combinations, make a clear statement – a conscious choice that creates highly individual and unmistakable colour ranges.

Mr Schmidt, what is the main challenge in de-

attract the best talent to the company in the

signing an attractive and comfortable office?

first place.

MS: The challenge lies in creating the right mix of different work settings. These days we see

Kvadrat is traditionally positioned at the

more and more so-called “multi-space offices”.

high end of the market, both in terms of qua-

We now have infinite ways of organising our-

lity of materials and in skills and workman-

selves at work. It is possible to work practically

ship. To what extent are changes in the world

anywhere. Yet this poses new challenges for

of work responsible for Kvadrat’s decision to

the designer – and, indeed, for the business

revisit its designs for office textiles?

owner. It means that today it is more impor-

AJ: We are seeing a clear move away from the

tant than ever to create an attractive office en-

cubicle office towards open-plan and multi-

vironment, so your employees enjoy coming

space environments. The design of workspaces

to the office, and also because this is how you

will have to focus more on flexibility and > [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


become part of an overall creative concept

as such. We see ourselves as consultants to our

that supports communication. We see this de-

clients and offer individual advice according

velopment with many of our partners, inclu-

to each specific situation, rather than simply

ding Haworth with its “New Ways of Working”

responding to dominant market trends. Our

range. The logical consequence of this is that

collection is also extremely wide-ranging and

office design in future can no longer be domi-

comprises a number of different styles, wea-

nated merely by functional and technological

ves and colour ranges, so we are able to cater

considerations, but has to focus equally on

for the whole gamut of contemporary work-

the comfort and wellbeing of the workforce.


We work closely together with our clients and are very much aware of these developments.

How do you ensure that your designs achie-

Nevertheless, we don’t see the need to com-

ve the right balance between comfort and

pletely revisit our whole office textile portfolio

efficiency in the office?



MS: In situations where effective performance

creates highly individual and unmistakable co-

and concentration is needed – whether indi-

lour ranges. A coherent colour scheme in the

vidually or as a team – a comfortable, relaxed

workplace is indeed a relevant factor and has

setting may not necessarily be the prime ob-

proven beneficial effects on staff wellbeing.

jective. On the contrary: here the emphasis may be on efficient technology, with compu-

Mr Schmidt, the new focus on communica-

ter screens and flexible workstation set-ups..

tion also has a bearing on office acoustics. How are the requirements of EN ISO 3382-3

When talking about workspaces, many peo-

reflected in the design of the MeetYou range?

ple will think of their own individual desk

MS: Speech intelligibility and the behaviour of

area. The ability to personalise your own

sound were very important considerations in

space in the office is more limited in our mo-

our development of the MeetYou range. As a

dern, decentralised working world. How can

result, we came up with the curved L-shaped

contemporary office furniture make up for

elements, which create a sheltered, secluded

this lack of personalisation?

space. All the components in the MeetYou

MS: The “multi-space office” offers a wide varie-

units, whether straight or curved, are designed

ty of different spaces where workers can make

to be sound-absorbing on the outside and to

themselves at home. In future, the office will

enhance speech intelligibility on the inside.

have to serve as a “home from home” and a

This automatically makes you speak more soft-

marketplace all at the same time.

ly. It also means that our partners supplying the textiles for our “New Ways of Working” fur-

Ms Jørgensen, clear, atmospheric state-

niture elements have a vital role to play here.

ments, rather than highlights picked from a colour chart – is this how you would sum-

How significant has your partnership with

marise your objective in collaborating with a

Kvadrat been in this respect?

highly regarded colour expert?

MS: During the early stages of product deve-

AJ: Giulio Ridolfo’s design approach, and the

lopment we spoke to a number of textile ma-

resulting colour compositions, are anything

nufacturers. It was clear to all of us from the

but traditional. They do make a clear state-

outset that something as complex as the Mee-

ment – a conscious choice through which he

tYou range could not be limited to a choice > [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


MeetYou has been developed to create completely new working environments that encourage communication and support the exchange of ideas. Here MeetYou is shown in combination with elements from Haworth’s Hello and LTB ranges.

of eight colour designs. MeetYou is not a simp-

Ways of Working” furniture ranges, such as

le partition wall that just needs to correspond

MeetYou and LTB?

to the upholstery of the office chairs. Rather,

AJ: We have long been aware of the trend

the MeetYou units are independent architec-

away from individual offices towards open-

tural structures and need to allow scope for

plan spaces. But over recent years, demand is

design variation. Kvadrat were especially

also increasing for flexible workstations, whe-

open to this concept, and their Remix 2 range

re workers can communicate with each other

offers precisely this sort of variety – not least

informally. The “New Ways of Working” ranges

because the colours combine with each other

are therefore very much in tune with the times.

extremely well.

But functionality is not everything – design is also an important aspect. The workplace can

Ms Jørgensen, what contribution does Coll-

act as a multiplier of sensory perceptions and

ection 65 / Remix 2 make to Haworth’s “New

as such can carry certain messages. Remix



end-of-life reusability of materials – the Cradle-to-Cradle criteria in other words? MS: In our product development, sustainability issues are an increasingly important consideration. In developing the MeetYou range, we had to give equal ranking to many different factors, such as energy use in production, weight, fire resistance and 3D-formability. With upholstery products it is also important to ensure that fabrics can be removed at the end of the product’s lifecycle, and that everything can be disassembled into its individual material components, in order to guarantee recyclability. At the same time, designing for longevity and a long product lifecycle is, of course, always our first objective. 2 combines a calm surface with exceptional

The link between colour and subjective

depth of colour, which only becomes apparent

wellbeing in terms of indoor climate has

when seen up close. Expressive textiles such as

not been scientifically proven. Nevertheless,

Remix 2 can support and stimulate creativity.

psychological comfort is no doubt affected

As I mentioned earlier, Remix is made of 90%

by the surrounding colour scheme. How

wool fibre, a natural material with outstanding

does Kvadrat approach this subject?

characteristics. Amongst these are sound-ab-

AJ: At Kvadrat we are very aware of the in-

sorbing qualities, so it also contributes to im-

fluence colour has on moods, emotions and

proved office acoustics.

behaviour. There is evidence of synaesthetic effects, whereby colours stimulate your

Mr Schmidt, do these innovative products

other senses and evoke tastes, smells, tem-

also meet the requirements for environmen-

perature, tactile or acoustic impressions. You

tally friendly production, sustainability and

can also use colour contrasts in order to > [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


Generously dimensioned panels with high-quality textile covers ensure excellent acoustic performance. MeetYou thereby creates a space for concentrated work while maintaining the connection to the surrounding office environment.

achieve deliberate effects or an element of

What made you certain your new designs

surprise. Of course, you need to assess indi-

would be able to express the essence of com-

vidually whether these kinds of effects are

munication and inspiration?

actually desired in a given context. There is

AJ: Our designers take their inspiration from

a fine line between designing a space that

a multitude of different disciplines. Many of

supports and enhances creativity and one

them are leaders in their field, be it graphic

that hinders concentration. This needs to be

design, architecture or, in the case of Giulio

carefully balanced.

Ridolfo, fashion design. This makes our collection so rich and diverse, and ensures that we

Ms Jørgensen, how did you know that your

can offer a wide range of different styles and

interdisciplinary approach, for example your

colour combinations to suit different contexts

collaboration with the world of fashion,

– including the context of a contemporary of-

would be successful in a furniture context?

fice environment.



Mr Schmidt, when it comes to colour choices,

signs with a total of 3,550 colours. It therefore

do you have any guiding colour schemes,

allows for a considerable range of suitable co-

for example based on their psychological

lour schemes for interior designs.

effects, or do you develop the colour range along with each individual product?

Mr Schmidt, how do you deal with situations

MS: A bit of both. The choice of colour is an

where there is a conflict between a colour

inherent part of the design process. After all,

scheme that ensures a pleasant and comfor-

our aim is always for a product to tell its own

table office environment and a company’s

story. At the same time, especially with our

Corporate Identity requirements?

more technical products, we also need to

MS: In some cases you have to explain to the

make sure that our colour choices match the

client that their corporate colours may not be

materials used in the product. When it comes

the ideal starting point when it comes to the

to upholstery, on the other hand, we want to

design of their offices – not if the aim is to

offer a wide range of colours. But here, too, we

create a comfortable, effective workplace that

have to consider preferences that arise from

promotes high performance. If, for example, I

the shape and form of the product.

want to create a bright, sunny atmosphere in the office, I will need yellow and orange to-

In terms of colour ergonomics in an office en-

nes. And if the existing setting or CI guidelines

vironment, the objective is to avoid colours,

don’t permit this, we need to talk to the client

surfaces or textures that interfere with the

and offer convincing arguments. At the centre

users’ ability to concentrate. How does Kvad-

of all our designs are the users – and the ef-

rat approach the development of new colour

fects our designs have on them. There’s always

ranges? Are there any colours that are taboo

room to reflect corporate identity in signage

in an office context?

or other visual elements.

AJ: Generally there are no taboo colours as such. Though, of course, you can’t go too mad

Ms Jørgensen, Mr Schmidt, we thank you for

in your colour combinations. Certain combina-

this interview.

tions or hues can be perceived as loud, quiet, pungent, brash, subtle, sweet, tart, warm, cold, soft or hard. Our collection consists of 215 de[GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


Resource-efficient design HAKA Recycle Office, Rotterdam, by Doepel Strijkers

Creative, leading-edge, innovative and environmentally friendly – Doepel Strijkers have transformed an old factory building in Rotterdam’s Merwe Vierhavens area into a co-working space for clean energy and water management businesses. What makes this development special is that all the interior elements are made entirely from salvaged materials from demolition projects. The result is a remarkable example showing how architects can use whatever materials are to hand as their starting point and design inspiration.

Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

juvenating old buildings, closing gaps in the ur-

The German Pavilion’s slogan at the 13th Interna-

ban fabric and, not least, salvaging and re-using

tional Architectural Exhibition at La Biennale di

materials from demolition projects are high on

Venezia 2012 has become the new guiding prin-

the architectural agenda. The scope here ranges

ciple for the re-use and recycling of waste mate-

from simple restoration of old buildings to com-

rials, especially in architecture and construction.

prehensive remodelling. But no matter how big

At a time marked by dwindling resources, clima-

or small the project, one thing applies to them

te change and economic austerity, architects and

all: the fewer changes and alterations are made,

designers are constantly looking for meaningful

and the less energy is used in the process, the

ways to address these concerns. Reviving and re-

leaner and cleaner the result.




Doepel Strijkers generates innovative interiors, architecture and urban solutions. Through a process of analysis and a clear understanding of spatial typologies, the practice creates solutions that are characterised by a uniform approach to a complex situation. Within the context of challenges such as climate change, resource depletion and massive urbanisation, Doepel Strijkers seeks solutions that generate social, ecological and economic returns. Giving form to the process, its organisation and financing, are just as important as the design itself. All the projects are an intersection of communication, social structures, ecology, economy and use.



White and orange fluorescent tubes marking the entrance to the new co-working space celebrate the industrial aesthetics of the 1930s factory building.

Welcome to the Machine

industrial units within a new context.

A perfect example of sustainable architecture,

The ambition is for the redeveloped wharf to

in the true meaning of the word, is the HAKA

attract businesses in the renewable energy and

Recycle Office by Duzan Doepel and Eline Stri-

water technology sectors. The HAKA building

jkers in Merwe Vierhavens, Rotterdam’s former

on the main access road marks the entrance to

fruit wharf. The masterplan for the 500-acre site

Rotterdam’s new development hotspot.

proposes a mixed-use development, combining

Designed in 1932 by the architect Hermann

residential homes and a “Clean-Tech Campus”,

Friedrich Mertens, the historic “De Handelska-

re-using and revitalising the old warehouses and

mer” (HAKA) building was the first in-situ con-



The interior design concept is based on the use of recycled materials from demolition projects in and around Rotterdam. Here, office ‘cubicles’ are created from old wooden slats and window frames.

crete building in the Netherlands and, like the

been transformed into an experimental, tem-

nearby Van Nelle factory, is considered an icon

porary co-working space with offices, an exhibi-

of Dutch Modernism. But while the famous for-

tion area and a lecture space, using almost exclu-

mer tobacco factory – Van Nelle Ontwerpfabriek

sively recycled materials.

– was converted into creative offices in the mid-

Conceived as a metaphor for the industrial age,

1990s, the HAKA building has been earmarked

the architecture paraphrases the production

for a special pilot project, demonstrating low-

processes and tasks that were to take place in-

cost sustainable design and construction. The

side the building in its function as headquarters

1,000-square-metre ground floor area has now

of a wholesale cooperative – with offices, [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]

> 37

The furniture in the lecture hall is made entirely of recycled timber slats, which have been glued together to form benches and a podium. The lectern folds down into the podium whenever an open stage is needed.

sto rage silos and packaging halls. In their refur-

evolving and becoming. For example, a raised

bishment project, Doepel Strijkers picked up on

platform on the ground floor is set to become a

this theme. The new users, businesses with an

restaurant in phase two of the project, while its

environmental and sustainability focus, can see

future kitchen is already being put to good use

their philosophy reflected in the architecture of

as a tea kitchen and lunch area.

their new offices. Flexibility is key. Spaces are deliberately left incomplete, to be added to as and

The “Toolbox� as a design inspiration

when demand increases. The building is there-

The Rotterdam-based architects used an expe-

fore in a constant state of flux, slowly and gently

rimental and undogmatic approach to breathe



A platform made from old wooden shipping crates offers space to set up temporary workstations as and when needed. In the next phase of the project, this space is to be converted into a restaurant. The kitchen has already been built and is made from recycled greenhouse frames.

new life into the historic building. They salvaged

crates, even 8,000 kg of old clothes, were thus ef-

items and materials from demolition sites in and

fectively and imaginatively repurposed. Instead

around Rotterdam. These were then catalogued

of “supply and demand”, the team adopted the

in a so-called “Toolbox”. Everything was analysed

principle of “supply and design” as interior de-

as to its possible uses, quantities were logged

signs were created based on the salvaged ma-

and transport distances minimised.

terials available. As the whole building is listed,

The CO2 emissions, energy and effort involved in

it was also important to keep interior structures

recycling or re-using materials were to be kept

flexible and reversible. None of the furniture or

to a minimum. Old doors, glass panes, roof slats,

other structural elements that were added have > [GREAT SPACES UPDATE #04.2]


The exhibition area is separated from the auditorium by a mobile acoustic partition wall made from 8,000 kg of old clothes, which were pressed into nine movable frames. Their different colour schemes allow them to be arranged in ever-changing combinations. The display desks are made from corrugated iron with glass tops, the benches from compressed honeycomb panels.

been permanently fixed to the building envelo-

ly thought out and construction had to be as

pe. Everything is built as a free-standing “room-

straightforward as possible. The result is an extra-

in-a-room� structure.

ordinary, highly unusual interior landscape with

The approach to the construction of these ele-

an edgy, experimental look, which at the same

ments was equally innovative: instead of emplo-

time features imaginative, almost poetic details

ying contractors and tradesmen, ex-offenders

that could never have emerged in a conventio-

were given the opportunity to learn new skills

nal construction process.

as part of a rehabilitation programme. This meant that detailed designs had to be meticulous40


Objekt: HAKA-Recycle Office, Rotterdam, refurbishment of an old factory building Clients: Estrade Projecten, Rotterdam Vestia Groep, Rotterdam, Architects & Designers: Doepel Strijkers, Rotterdam Design: Duzan Doepel, Eline Strijkers mit Chantal Vos, Stefan van der Weele und Lieke Genten Floorspace: 1,000 square metres, including auditorium, exhibition space, meeting room, kitchen and flexible office spaces Old doors salvaged from the original HAKA offices and set into a wooden frame combine to form a meeting room. All the interior elements are free-standing “room-in-aroom” structures.

Research: Doepel Strijkers and Cor Luijten (Rotterdam City Planning Department) and Otto Friebel (van Gansewinkel) Developer: Stadthavens Rotterdam Photographs: Interiors: Ralph Kämena Portraits: Lukas Göbel



Published by: Haworth GmbH Communication Center Am Deisterbahnhof 6 31848 Bad Münder Germany Telephone +49 5042 501 0 Fax +49 5042 501 200 Editor in chief: Michael Mattern (V.i.S.d.P) Telefon: +49 5052 501-224, Production, project management and design: Konradin Relations GmbH, Leinfelden-Echterdingen Internet: Jennifer Bühling, Annette Genkinger, Copywriting, editing, project management and design of this issue: Iris Darstein-Ebner, Translation: EUROCAT Translations Picture credits: Pages 4–21, 24, 26, 30 and 32 © Haworth GmbH Page 22 © Poul Ib Henriksen Pages 25, 27, 31: © Kvadrat Page 23: © Michael Schmidt, code2design Page 28: © Kölnmesse, ORGATEC Page 35: © Lukas Göbel Pages 36-41: © Ralph Kämena

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the editor and the publisher.

Great Spaces Update #04 2  

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