Circular Project Donders Instituut
The Donders Institute carries out research into the functioning of the brain. Groundbreaking research through a variety of disciplines with researchers of different nationalities. Offering a stimulating work environment to employees, guests and speakers from all over the world. Facilitating meetings and encouraging collaboration. These were the starting points for the designs of Croonen Architects, which Gispen translated into a multi-functional and stylish interior.
Since its establishment in 2001, the Donders Institute in Nijmegen has grown from four people to no less than six hundred employees, of which half are accommodated in one building. This enormous growth is why the Donders Institute opted for an extensive renovation. Two major requirements for the renovation of the building: a multi-functional meeting area in the heart of the building and a spacious colloquium room (lecture hall) for important presentations, speeches and lectures.
Masterplan realised in stages
Croonen Architects designed the masterplan for the renovation. The Gispen team was responsible for designing the various rooms within the research centre. Gispen interior architect Nelleke Lagerwerf worked out the atmospheres, colours and materials of the interior. From the colloquium room and the staff restaurant to waiting areas, conference rooms and the managing director’s room. We were also asked to supply special lockers with Digilocks for both employees and guests. The building was renovated in six stages. All the employees kept working there during the renovation, also because they could not do without the highly specialised MRI equipment. This demanded some clever logistical planning, with partial deliveries and without hindering the daily activities of the institute.
The client’s thoughts
‘Our research centre produces high quality results. It is important to us that people of different disciplines can enjoy working together and meeting one another informally. Gispen showed us several options for realising this vision. What I particularly liked was that they really listened to us, and really wanted to know about our working methods. And not insignificantly: when it comes to value for money, Gispen was by far the best option.’
An explosion of red
The new colloquium room is a true eye-catcher. Red is the colour that prevails here, from the walls and stage to the red Casala Cobra chairs. We equipped these chairs with writing pads – with variants for both right and left-handed people. Client Arthur Willemsen: 'We told the architect and Gispen that the auditorium should stand out. They succeeded with an explosion of red. Every single speaker who has visited us remembers this space!’
Custom solutions and special upholstery
The waiting areas at the new research centre are equipped with furniture from the Gispen Multilounge collection; striking sofas with low or high backrests and side walls for extra privacy and comfort. They immediately attract attention due to their bright colour schemes. Some Multilounge units have been upholstered in a material developed specially for healthcare applications. The material is called Silverguard and meets high hygienic standards. We used this upholstery at the restaurant too, because it is easy to clean and maintain. This is also where we installed a custom-made sofa with a round shape by Havee.
Peter van der Linden, account manager Healthcare at Gispen: 'We created various seating arrangements: from tables for four to a seating area for twenty, and from Gispen Dukdalf tables to high Gispen IC tables with bar stools. This has not only made it a pleasant staff restaurant, it also serves as a multi-functional space for meetings, relaxation, brainstorming and consultation. Fun fact: the restaurant is run by an Italian duo who give an international flair to fresh bread rolls, good coffee and real Italian pizza.’
Photography: Chris van Koeverden