i29 interior architects, in collaboration with VMX Architects have developed a new office building for the Social Workplace company Combiwerk Delft. The company is known for finding custom work to people who, due to a physical, psychological or mental limitation, are not able to find a regular job. The new construction was intended to reflect the green and environmental attitude of the company, as well as the positive culture it portrays. The new building had to convey attention and involvement, in order to stimulate a sense of pride in its users.
The building was designed by VMX Architects and has a total surface area of 8500 m2. For the interior, which includes 4000m2 of office spaces, a company restaurant, the career square, entrance ways and a lobby, i29 interior architects was consulted. The central space is a large atrium where the restaurant, the career square and the reception are situated. The building itself is a completely closed, grey monolithic shape. The same grey can also be found in the walls, floors and ceilings of the interior.
When you come in, you are surprised by colourful islands, which are placed freely in the space and which only show themselves after you enter the premises. In an almost fairytale-like way, the building contains a secret garden full of colour and vitality, which is, of course, a wonderful reference to the contrast between external appearances and inner richness.
Everyone at Combiwerk is unique and special, nuanced and varied. We have translated this theme into the interior in an abstract way. The custom-designed furniture contains many ‘boxes’ where every user (so to speak) can tell his own story. In various colour nuances and variation possibilities, together with the carpets, they form colourful islands in an otherwise grey world.
We were going to create a completely new environment for people who generally are not fond of change. That is why an important point of departure in the design was that, in tandem with all the new things, old and authentic elements also had to return. This led us to the collection of over 250 different second-hand wooden chairs that were restored and re-used. Not only can everyone pick their favourite chair, they are also a nice analogy for the variety of the unique people occupying the space.
The concept for a social environment was the main starting point for all the parties involved. i29 aimed for creating a serious and distinguished interior. The team introduced fun colours that speaks to the company’s attitude to work. Keeping in mind the importance of sustainability, i29 used recycled materials, as well as second-hand furniture.
All the wooden chairs in the atrium were bought second-hand and restored by another SW-company, just like all the furniture for the 4000m2 office space, including desks, chairs, cabinets and filing drawers. A new colourful top layer was applied to the re-used furniture so that they are as good as new and also fit beautifully into the colour spectrum in combination with the carpets.
*All images and information courtesy of i29 interior architects.