Partnership circular furnishing UMC Utrecht & Gispen


University Medical Center Utrecht and Gispen have signed a cooperation agreement in which both parties can realise their circular ambitions. As of 1 April 2017, Gispen will be UMC Utrecht’s sole supplier of circular furniture for the next 10 years. Some key words here are sustainability, high-level reuse, furniture lifecycle extension and waste prevention. The long-term partnership allows both parties to keep improving their circular operations.  

UMC Utrecht has taken the first step toward circular procurement; Gispen is the leading innovator when it comes to circular furnishing – from product design up to and including reverse logistics. After an extensive tender procedure, UMC Utrecht chose Gispen to be its partner and leading supplier. This includes standard-type furniture such as desks and office chairs, conference tables- and chairs, cabinets and drawer units but also specialised furniture for environments such as waiting areas, consulting areas and cafeterias. Gispen and UMC Utrecht have made a long-term commitment; the initial contract will have a duration of 5 years and can afterwards be extended by 1 year for five consecutive times. 


Circular furniture

Circularity is central to this new partnership. Matthijs Elsing, senior business manager Care at Gispen: ‘We assist UMC Utrecht in coming up with circular solutions. We can, for example, take components from items that we mass produced in the past and use those components to develop new furniture. A concrete example of this would be the TM Doc, a workstation for specialists that we developed together with a number of hospitals and which, with the use of existing Gispen NEXT-frames from 1994, fully meets today’s requirements.


Not only does Gispen supply new, sustainably designed and produced furniture suitable for the health care environment, it also takes care of:

    • high-level reuse of existing products, components and materials
    • adapting existing products to serve new purposes – REMADE by Gispen
    • lifecycle extension of existing furniture – REVIVED by Gispen

Applying clean, non-toxic materials and preventing waste where possible are key requirements.


Two partners, one goal

Gispen works closely together with the Reuse division of UMC Utrecht’s facilities management department. Pieter Noorlander, Gispen CEO: ‘This department within the hospital is fully committed to utilising old furniture in the most efficient way. Every single piece of furniture is used to the fullest. This is why UMC Utrecht is just our kind of client!’


Michiel Plancken, senior procurement officer, facilities management department: ‘Gispen presented great solutions to various questions that were posed in our request for proposal. They have tons of experience when it comes to furnishing hospitals. You can add their CE Design Framework, circular ambitions and proven craftsmanship in reuse to this.’

Every single piece of furniture is measured against the circular ladder of the Design Framework – a Gispen and TNO developed measuring tool. 


Maintenance, furniture management and interior advice

UMC Utrecht has also asked Gispen to carry out corrective maintenance and, if needed, preventive maintenance. In addition, Gispen will provide furniture management services and, if required, give interior advice.


Local manufacturing

Our circular methods create opportunities for the local job market. Instead of sourcing raw materials from miles away, we invest in a locally organised reuse of products. This is how new materials and products come into existence. And we try to do so as close to where these used materials are sourced in order to minimise transport and thereby CO2 emissions. Gispen’s factory is slowly changing from an automated factory into a circular centre of competence, where craftsmen make the difference. 


Photo caption:

The contract was signed at the Reuse department of UMCU.

From left to right:

Michiel Plancken, Sr. procurement officer UMCU

Marjan Mol, director facilities management department UMCU

Jeroen Paul van Driel, interior architect UMCU

Matthijs Elsing, senior business manager Gispen

Maikel Ruijs, sales manager Gispen

Pieter Noorlander, CEO Gispen

Hans van der Glind, project manager service and maintenance UMCU

Joep van Breukelen, procurement officer UMCU

Rick Veenendaal, manager circular economy Gispen

Cécile van Oppen, Copper8 consultant

UMCU logo


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