The Biosintrum in Oosterwolde – knowledge centre, breeding ground and meeting point for all that concerns the Biobased Economy – is one of the most sustainable and innovative buildings in Europe. Awarded with the Nederlandse Bouwprijs 2019 (2019 Dutch Construction Prize), over 80% of the building consists of biobased materials, and the interior had to live up to that, of course. The request of the Municipality of Ooststellingwerf stated the following: 'An interior consisting of biobased materials and a design that is based on the cradle-to-cradle principle for as far as possible. Gispen provided both the interior design and the entire furnishing, in collaboration with project upholsterer Iedema and interior builder Dengo.
Where education, business and government come together
An inspiring and sustainable environment where students, companies and municipalities share expertise and exchange ideas on the Biobased Economy, in line with the vision of the municipality of Ooststellingwerf. This is the Biosintrum in a nutshell. Ivo van der Reijnst, Biosintrum Project Manager of the Facility Management and Property Management department: 'As a municipality, we want to play an active role when it comes to the Biobased Economy. We consider the Biosintrum to be the centrepiece of the Biobased Economy in its region. It is where education, business and government come together.’
Ivo: 'We involved as many local parties as possible in the realisation of both the building and its interior. Architectural firm Paul de Ruiter designed the sustainable eyecatcher which is beautifully embedded in the natural environment. The furnishing was a co-creation of project upholsterer Iedema, interior builder Dengo and Gispen. It was based on the interior design by Alice Tabak, who operates from Gispen's office in Groningen.
The client’s thoughts
‘I have learnt that Gispen feels responsible for the entire process. Gispen has proven to deliver excellent quality in design, to be helpful in coming up with solutions when it comes to financial frameworks, to be versatile and to deliver according to schedule. Therefore, I can safely say that I’m very positive about our partnership. The fact that we have won the Dutch Construction Prize with the Biosintrum is the icing on the cake for all those involved!'
Open-plan office with an abundance of seating and conferring possibilities
When entering the Atrium, where all the meetings take place, you will directly enter an open-plan office with various seating and conferring possibilities. The tree-surrounded sofa, which is placed right in the centre, was realised in collaboration with students of ROC Friese Poort Drachten and Dengo Oosterwolde. The sofa is surrounded by round Gispen Dukdalf tables and De Vorm LJ felt chairs made from recycled PET bottles. A bit further down in the open space you will find large, comfortable Pod Chairs by De Vorm, which have higher sides for extra privacy. There are also high stools for those who want to sit at the bar. All these different seating options allow the users to select a spot that suits their activity best. On the ground floor, there is a large conference room that includes a raised platform, which can be used for guest speakers. There are also conference rooms available for the business community.
Gispen REMADE cabinet used as a telephone booth or workstation
The first floor houses both office space and a large conference room. When entering this floor, you will find an open space with different study and workspaces around the Atrium with a view of the ground floor. The first floor also includes Gispen REMADE cabinets. Interior architect Alice Tabak from Gispen: 'These can be used as a telephone booth or workstation. Circularity at its best: the shells of old filing cabinets have been reused and the back panels have been made out of pulverised jeans fabric. Local residents were asked to hand in their old jeans. In addition to its application in the REMADE cabinet, the fabric is also used as an insulation material in all kinds of places throughout the building.'
The conference tables are a good example of the application of biobased materials. For the fabrication of the frames we used old desks from the municipality of Ooststellingwerf, to which solid Woudhout© oak tops were fitted. This wood type is harvested from forests in the Netherlands and Germany that are managed by the Natuurmonumenten foundation. Alice: ‘A fun detail: the coordinates of the trees that were used in the project are milled in the edges of the tabletops. Another biobased product is the acoustic panelling on the walls of the Atrium, made from a mixture of materials based on mycelium (fungal threads). Circular products include the Nomi chair with a recycled plastic shell, clothes hangers from old solid-core desktops and Desso Airmaster Sphere carpet, which is cradle-to-cradle certified.
The architect’s thoughts
‘I think it's important to respect the architect's design. I translated this design into the required atmospheres, products and materials of the interior. Considering the fact that we were dealing with an educational environment that was originally intended for conventional teaching methods, we recommended a more versatile interior design. Future-proof, suitable for group work and not only appropriate for teenagers but for adults as well. Due to the folding tables and rollable benches, the layout of this room is now easily changed.'
Are you satisfied with the result?
Ivo van der Reijnst: 'I could not be happier with the result that we have achieved together. And I am certain that visitors and users will also be quite satisfied. The official opening of the Biosintrum took place in June 2019. Various educational institutions and companies in the region have rented rooms for the coming years. In addition, there are still plenty of agile workspaces available. Due to the short lines of communication, we have decided that we will continue our partnership with Gispen, for the municipality of Ooststellingwerf.’
Photography: Chris van Koeverden