‘Upgrade our building and its interior aesthetically, functionally and technically’

‘Upgrade our building and its interior aesthetically, functionally and technically’

Arla Foods

An extensive renovation of an aging building at the production site of Arla Foods in Nijkerk led to a modern and fresh work environment for the Sales & Marketing department. ‘The before and after pictures show nothing less than a complete transformation!’ Gispen utilised a work process scan in order to produce an interior design and furnishing with new, reused and second-hand furniture in Arla style. Including project management and the coordination of all preparations for the renovation. The result is a new work environment that was kept within budget.

Lunch & Tell sessions

Client Harry Veldman, Manager Warehouse at Arla Foods: 'It was a long-cherished wish of ours to reconfigure a rather outdated building to the requirements of current times. Another reason for the renovation was that we didn’t have enough room for meetings. The first question we asked ourselves was: how are we actually using the property and how do we want to be using it? We asked Gispen to carry out a work process scan. Marieke Kamperman, interior designer at Gispen: ‘In conducting the work process scan, we go room to room and scrutinise the activities that take place as well as the employee attendance rate. Discussions with management and a digital survey showed that the sixty employees would fit perfectly in the building, with room for expansion if spaces would be used more flexibly.' A preliminary design showed what this could look like. In so-called Lunch & Tell sessions, extensive discussions were held with employees about the new concept and the effects of agile working. 

The client’s thoughts

‘Gispen presented many suitable ideas for a completely new interior design and layout of the Sales and Marketing department. We took our time to fine-tune these ideas. What helped us in making the plans more concrete, was a reference visit to another Gispen client. By making clever choices in close consultation with Gispen and our own fitters, we have managed to realise a fantastic new office, all within budget. The result is fantastic.’

Harry Veldman Manager Warehouse at Arla Foods

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Industrial look with Arla DNA

The ultimate goal was to create a high-quality and pleasant work environment for both present and future employees – including climate control, a good lighting plan and pleasant acoustics. The main starting points: an environment that has the Arla DNA and a colour scheme with many greens and yellows. Many Arla offices have large visuals on their walls, which they also wanted to apply here but with a twist; they now include the Arla brands in addition to landscapes. The commercial office is located at a production site; they wanted to tie into that with an industrial look. In terms of sustainability, it was Arla’s wish to reuse furniture and materials wherever possible.

Preparing for the renovation

The new plans demanded a major renovation. Arla Foods asked Gispen to coordinate the preparations: who else do we need to take on board? And how can we come up with well-thought-out and feasible plans in consultation with all parties? Nico van der Wilden, project manager at Gispen: ‘We held several sessions in which we explored the possibilities together with the contractors and the Arla Foods fitters. By investing a lot of time in this preliminary phase, we were able to map out all the options and outweigh the risks. This made it possible for us to carry out the renovation within 10 weeks and to stay within budget. I also believe this is the most sustainable end result we could have delivered: the building has been improved aesthetically, functionally and technically. A dedicated project leader from Arla Foods, Peter Berk, was responsible for the renovation. A winning combination.’

Stylish combination of reused, second-hand and new furniture

The new workspace has been kept as open as possible, with the exception of some rooms in which employees can withdraw. At the centre of the building, you can find the Living Room where you can have lunch or hold an informal meeting. There is also a Club Desk, which is a good meeting point, as well as a copy room where people walk in and out all day. The outer zones accommodate collaboration and holding meetings, or concentration and working individually. The new workstations include components from the old height-adjustable desks, as well as office chairs and cabinets that have been reused. Marieke Kamperman: ‘For the furnishing of the Coaching Room, I went looking for second-hand sofas, coffee tables and a desk. We even went as far as using cheese-aging shelves as wall panelling. The cheese stains are still there! These liven up the place and are well suited within a dairy manufacturer’s work environment.'


The newly installed products include Gispen TM dual and individual workstations. The Gispen MultiLounge seats allow for more casual meetings. The TM conference tables and Turn chairs make meetings as comfortable as possible. Desso rugs and Roels sofas create a homely atmosphere in the centre of the building. Acoustic canvases with visuals and foils are made by Mcart. Gispen also installed all the lighting in collaboration with Eikelenboom and provided custom solutions in collaboration with interior designer Het Woud. These include two pantries, an interior design unit for copying – where the same cheese shelves were used – and a communication compartment.

The architect’s thoughts

‘Together with the Arla Foods employees, we put a lot of thought into the creation of the new work concept and the more open-plan, flexible workspace. If you identify and solve any possible issues beforehand, it will make the transition much easier. At first, I had planned on including some fixed workstations in addition to the agile workstations, as was requested. But in the end, everyone has committed to the agile working concept! This is a good example of change management: by taking the time and seeing how it works in practice, all employees were convinced of the benefits, even those who did not like the new concept at first.'

Marieke Kamperman Sr. Interior Architect / Change manager at Gispen

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Are you satisfied with the result?

Client Harry Veldman: ‘Our new work method is in full swing now. We could not be more pleased with the result, both in terms of aesthetics and practicality. Our ideas have been perfectly integrated into the design. We took quite some time assessing everyone’s opinions on the new concept. At times, this may have hindered Gispen’s plans. However, we really needed to take our time and Gispen managed to hit a home run in the end.’

Photography: Chris van Koeverden

Products included in this project