Student-proof and circular
The circular ambition and requested warranty period by Koning Willem I College was one of the reasons why Gispen was awarded the contract through a mini-tender. Rob Stöver, account manager at Gispen: 'In the education sector, furniture has to meet high durability standards. School furniture depreciates over a period of around fifteen to twenty years, which means that everything in the classrooms has to be of very high quality and should be able to withstand heavy use. I think it's great that Koning Willem I College is not only concerned with their furniture being student-proof, but that they also think about circularity, by opting for circular conference chairs such as Gispen NOMI, for example.
Gispen has honoured the sustainability ambition of the college by extending the warranty on the supplied furniture from the usual ten to fifteen years.
Gispen also fulfilled the college's wish for flexibility; all the separate pieces of furniture had to be easy to move around. To ensure that we could meet all the requirements, a trial setup with different furniture was placed at the college. The choice ultimately fell on Gispen computer tables and mobile computer chairs with wooden shells, NOMI chairs and IC tables.
Gispen often supplies bespoke furniture in projects of this nature, but for this project this was taken one step further. Rob: 'The custom pieces have been designed by recently graduated students from their own Furniture Design programme. We think it is a very powerful statement for an educational institution to really involve its students in the development and interpretation of their learning environment. Koning Willem I College has done so in a truly special way. Graduate Anissa Jans designed wooden 'houses' in the open study areas, for example, where students and teachers can meet or work together in peace and quiet.'
A joint effort
Sustainable education with consideration for social development does not only take place at the college. At our furniture assembly line we strive for social return on investment, where we work closely with Presikhaaf School Furniture. Rob: 'This sister company employs technical workers who are disadvantaged in the labour market. A team of Gispen and Presikhaaf workers assembled the chair frames and gas struts, tables and desks at the college itself, and then took care of the final assembly. This partnership and the flexible and understanding approach of Koning Willem I College ensured that all students, teachers and office workers could sit comfortably on the first Monday after the summer holidays.’
What do you think of the result?
Client Alain Laaper: 'You see both students and teachers making optimal use of the building, the rooms and the furniture. It was a comprehensive and intense project. It is a pleasure to work with a partner like Gispen. The lines of communication are short and they have the ability to respond very quickly and adequately to get everything done as agreed upon and within schedule. That wasn't easy, because Gispen had to deal with delivery problems and raw material shortages due to the pandemic. It was fantastic to see how they pulled out all the stops and assembled the chairs and tables on-site. On the first day of school everyone was able to sit on proper chairs at beautiful tables, in an inspiring learning environment.'
Photography: Chris van Koeverden