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We refurbished 200 patient chairs for Bravis hospital in Bergen op Zoom. These Kembo Kion patient chairs are used at the patient rooms and living rooms of the closed ward. Bravis wanted to get rid of the wooden armrests; any damages to the armrests increase the risk of contamination and thus the potential infection of patients. Marie-Thérèse Fleuren, project coordinator at Bravis: “Due to the increased risk of infection, we wanted the chairs to be fitted with plastic armrests. A practical temporary solution while we wait for our new building to be ready (approx. 2025). This way, we won’t have to buy brand-new chairs.” An added bonus in terms of circularity: by reusing most of these chairs, we are reducing waste production.



Peter van der Linden, Business Manager Healthcare at Gispen: “Replacing the armrests was a challenging and remarkable process that was realised in collaboration with MarcelvangalenDesign. We implemented an innovative technique, which was a first for the Netherlands.”

  • The armrests have been manufactured by means of 3D-printing technology, based on virgin material (testing with recycled materials is undergoing).
  • We also applied direct value engineering: the wooden armrests left a gap in between the bottom of the armrest and the frame, in which dirt is easily collected. The 3D-printed armrests have solved this problem because they fit better.


Peter: “We developed and tested three different versions of the 3D-printed armrest. A solid armrest, one with a honeycomb structure and a hollow one – to save weight and printing material. We settled on the solid version; because it’s the strongest and most stable version of the three.” Bravis was presented with trial designs. This was followed by additional tests on strength and cleaning, production preparations, final designs for 3D printing and, finally, manufacturing. Peter: “In order to unburden Bravis for as far as possible, we collected the patient chairs from all the departments, which was done in two batches of 100 chairs. We then replaced the old wooden armrests with the new ones on site. The final step was to return all the chairs to their original locations.”

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The Kembo Kion patient chair with the old wooden armrest on the left and the new 3D-printed version on the right.


We can look back on a very successful refurbishment project with a satisfied client. Marie-Thérèse Fleuren: “These chairs get used all the time, especially now they’re fitted with these fancy anthracite armrests. Where the old armrests showed dents, scratches and cracks, they now look brand new again! An added benefit is that they are easier to keep clean.” In the meantime, others have picked up on the project. Peter: “We are also planning on offering this solution to Leiden University Medical Centre. And I see many more possibilities!”



Would you like to learn more about innovative solutions in refurbishing used furniture? Find out more about these inspiring examples from other Gispen clients.

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