Fontys Tilburg: building P8
Fontys and Gispen have worked together for many years now. This time around, it was Campus Stappegoor in Tilburg that needed an expansion. A new sustainable school building called P8 was erected here, accommodating two rapidly-upcoming study programmes. A versatile and future-oriented building of education designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects, which facilitates various work and learning methods while stimulating social interaction. Moreover, the future users of the building shared their wishes in terms of colour schemes. These wishes were successfully met in collaboration with Studio Moj. And it was Gispen that furnished the entire building.
Versatile and accessible building
P8 has four floors and can accommodate around 3,000 students and 200 employees. Two institutes make use of the new building: Fontys Academy for Creative Industries (ACI) and Fontys School of Information and Communication Technology (FH ICT). These two creative institutes had an outspoken opinion about their new learning and working environment. Their wishes have certainly been respected. First and foremost by the architect of the building, Paul de Ruiter Architects. Project architect Julius Klatte: “In basic terms, P8 is an extremely versatile and transparent building. In collaboration with the study programmes as well as teachers and students, we compiled the requirements through various workshops upon which we based our design of the building. Collaborating and learning from one another is important to both study programmes, which is why we wanted to make the building as versatile and accessible as possible.”
A word from the architect
In consultation with the study programmes, we sharply defined the use of the various spaces and created a functional interior design. Gispen was included in the process and took it from there with detailed colour schemes, materials and products. Our aim in designing the building was to create a space that was free to interpretation. The bare design is quite rough with lots of concrete, wood and glass. This calls for the addition of details in the interior; the study programmes took the opportunity to give the environment their own signature. The result is a very lively atmosphere.
Connectivity, community, creativity
Julius: “When setting foot into the building via the spacious entrance, your gaze is immediately directed diagonally across the building. You then walk up the steps of a wide grandstand. The heart of the building is formed by the atrium, with its large coffee bar terrace, seating elements and lots of green. Even trees. It feels as if you are both inside and outside. The four layers of the building are all connected by the atrium.” The ICT course has a floor and a half at its disposal; the remaining space of 2.5 floors is made available to the ACI programme. Julius: “The shared spaces, such as the atrium, are marked by bustle and connection, thus connectivity; the place is truly alive with a lot of movement and interaction. Both programmes have their own community centres on each floor – this is where students and teachers meet up, have coffee, converse, relax or work a little. There is also plenty of room for creativity, which was also an important requirement for the institutes. Take the film studio, for example, or the versatile project rooms with walls you can write on. Connectivity, community and creativity were the guiding principles for our design.”
Playing with colours
On behalf of Gispen, Claartje ten Have of Studio Moj joined in on the project and further defined the interior design in terms of colour schemes, materials and products. Claartje: “Both institutes had very specific wishes. The Academy for Creative Industries opted for a single colour scheme: lots of blue and yellow and pink as an accent colour. The way these colours are applied is different for each type of space and activity. Colours have been applied more radically at the Factory, for example, which is a dynamic space with groups of students working on projects who walk in and out continuously. The space is surrounded by more tranquil areas, which have a more subtle colour scheme.”
The ICT course uses so-called OILs: Open ICT Labs. No less than five of them, which all feature an open instruction area, a state-of-the-art lab, conference rooms and workstations. Claartje: “We deliberately gave each OIL its own distinctive atmosphere. The Video Lab, for example, has a technical-looking design with a colour scheme of black/white/grey and orange accents. At the Domotica Lab, you can see Super Mario running across the walls, while at the Technology Lab you are greeted by a Martian landscape. The Make Lab has a more traditional look due to the many wooden accents and, lastly, there is the Security Lab with lots of dark blue and purple. The users have clearly been able to make their mark here.”
Not your average educational environment
Gispen furnished the entire building: supplying all the separate furniture pieces, building the interior elements, putting large visuals on the walls, installing whiteboards as well as carpeting and lighting. Maarten Houdijk, Gispen account manager: “We reused existing furniture wherever possible, such as the Scrum tables. In addition, we provided lots of custom solution, from wooden stands to wall-mounted desks and from planters to pantries.” The Gispen TEAM table is well-represented with a special Desktop tabletop (linoleum layer) in round, square, straight and barrel-shaped versions. Paired with different models of the Nomi chair, with handy removable fabric covers. Maarten: “We installed quite a few metres worth of MultiLounge, the lounge workspace for quiet meetings due to a high backrest. Besides furniture from our own collection, we also supplied products from other A-brands, such as stools by Hay and chairs by Muuto. What I like so much about P8 is that it’s not your average educational environment in terms of interior design.”
Photography: Michael van Oosten photography
A word from the interior architect
I was given the honour of putting the final touch on the architect's design: adding colours and products, decorating the walls and floors. The rugs are true eyecatchers. We opted for Flotex rugs by Forbo, which come in a range of designs and which are very flat and strong; ideal for a school environment. Wood prints, grass rugs, photos printed on them. Combined with all the visuals – designed by teacher Pieter Dorst – and colour schemes, P8 has become a great place where all study programmes feel like they belong. This makes it all worth it in the end.