‘Brand-new, lively and multi-functional area’

‘Brand-new, lively and multi-functional area’

St. Antonius Hospital, Staff Restaurant

It all started with the renovated reception area of the St. Antonius Hospital in Utrecht. A new Birth Centre in Utrecht was soon added. And now a new staff restaurant, which is called ‘Zuster’ (sister), has arisen in Nieuwegein. Interior architect Anne Blussé van Oud-Alblas enjoys realising such projects in multi-disciplinary teams, with Gispen as their permanent sparring partner for the interior design.

Multi-functional staff restaurant

St. Antonius Hospital has several branches in the province of Utrecht. Anne Blussé van Oud-Alblas and her company Lab3 and Gispen have already transformed many interior features of this hospital. Now it was time for the staff restaurant Zuster in Nieuwegein to be overhauled. The hospital set out conditions for the renovation of the restaurant, which stated: create a brand-new, cheerful and attractive space, with more seating options within the existing 700 m2, in addition to maintaining the intimate atmosphere. The space also had to accommodate more than just breakfast, lunch and dinner. In other words: design an attractive place where people can spend time throughout the day.

A place where people can withdraw

After extensive consultation with the employees of the restaurant, the interior designer got to work. The conditions were clear to her: create a place where people can withdraw from the clinical environment for a while, but with a twist. ‘I tried to capture the personal atmosphere in staged photographs of situations that occur in this restaurant. These situations are amplified with a nod to the hospital itself. Examples include a business meeting, a sandwich, a celebratory gathering or a business dinner. The images also include hospital-related items such as a staff badge, key ring or doctor's coat. All the images are integrated into a hanging light panel, with digital prints on a canvas of 7 x 1,80 m.' An added benefit of this light panel is that it is easy to change. Around Christmas, for example, life-sized Santa Clauses are displayed on the canvas.

The architect’s thoughts

‘Ik werk graag en veel samen met Gispen. De mensen bij Gispen zijn kundig en de lijnen zijn kort. Ze doen wat ze beloven, zonder dat je er achteraan hoeft te rennen. Het St. Antonius Ziekenhuis werkt overigens zelf ook graag met Gispen, dat al vroeg in het proces betrokken werd. Dat was fijn, omdat er veel maatwerk bij kwam kijken. Mede 'I enjoy working with Gispen, and I have done so on many occasions. The people at Gispen are skilled and the lines of communication are short. They keep their promises, and you don’t have to remind them of their commitments. The St. Antonius Hospital itself is also keen on working with Gispen, which was involved in the project from an early stage. We were lucky to have them, because the project demanded many custom solutions. It is also thanks to Sabine van den Berg (Gispen), Walter Sant (Sant Interiors) and Herman Veldhuijzen (Havee Meubelen) that we have achieved something this beautiful.’

Anne Blussé van Oud-Alblas Interior architect and owner of Lab3

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Long-lasting and multi-functional use

Different seating options will almost automatically ensure a longer-lasting and multi-functional use of the staff restaurant. The staff members can sit on round benches, train benches, extremely long benches, hanging benches, armchairs, regular chairs, high and low stools. ‘Since its opening, people have used the new restaurant for both formal and more informal meetings. At both ends of the restaurant, we installed homely chairs in which employees can relax. In some cases, the furniture layout even forces staff members to mingle: a surgeon sitting next to a nurse, or an administrator in between two specialists... Everybody is equal here.'


This project required a great many custom solutions, which is why the realisation team was made up of professionals from various sub-disciplines. This resulted in remarkable pieces of furniture. Take the tables , for example: Gispen frames with tailormade tops with a digital print on HPL. Almost everything at the staff restaurant is made to measure. Mainly the chairs come from standard collections: Hay, Muuto and Gispen.

Utrecht might follow

The fact that the furnishing meets the requirements in various ways, does not only hold true for the staff restaurant Sister in Nieuwegein. The responses of both the staff and the client have been positive. The new restaurant is in use for almost the entire day. This is where receptions, parties and meetings are being held. People have a cup of coffee or hold a short meeting, relax a bit and listen to music or work at the long laptop table with charging points. The success has not remained unnoticed. The Utrecht location is also interested in renovating their staff restaurant.



Photography: René Gonkel Photography

A word from the interior contractor

‘It is in these types of projects that we can really show our added value: thinking along, providing a full service, making sure every last detail is right... Due to my background as an interior architect and our knowledge of materials and experience in interior construction, we are able to be productive and effective in working as a team. Despite the tight schedule, we were able to build and supply all the custom solutions according to the architect’s design. And the fact that the staff restaurant is being used so intensively, is of course the best compliment we could receive!’

Walter Sant Sant Interiors

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Products included in this project