The Municipality of Nijmegen
The New Way of Working was the very reason for the Municipality of Nijmegen to have another critical look at how its offices operated. The municipality switched from five locations with fixed workstations to two locations with flex workstations. Gispen took care of the interior design. We not only furnished the new work environments but the public areas as well, which are determinant of the organisation’s public image. ‘Transparency in customer service’ was an important motto for the municipality.
Historic Town Hall, modern Municipal Service Desk
The new, multi-functional restaurant at the Town Hall was a project of its own. A restaurant that serves both its own employees and their visitors and the public. This is where the freelancers of the city can open their laptops and where every Nijmegen citizen is welcome to stop by for a cup of coffee or lunch. Carola van de Bilt, interior architect at Gispen: ‘We created a unique concept for this restaurant, fully tailored to the needs of the Municipality of Nijmegen. The restaurant is divided into three zones, which are all named after familiar symbols of the city. The City Square (gathering zone), the City Park (zone for working together) and Nature (zone for focused working). The floor pattern clearly indicates which zone you are in. The colours and materials of the furniture match perfectly with their corresponding themes.
Rob Lotstra, interior architect at Gispen, transformed the Citizen’s Hall of the Town Hall. The municipality wanted to add more light to the somewhat dim hall, used mainly for meetings. This would make the hall suitable for public lectures as well. The area can now be changed from a conference room to a lecture hall in a matter of seconds. Gispen made a custom podium which can be retracted electrically. Also present are movable, stackable Casala chairs and folding tables. We deliberately applied light colours, matching the historical character of the room.
The architect’s thoughts
We were responsible for designing the Municipal Service Desk. Transparency and accessibility were the most important requirements. Something that shows in the spacious, open hall but also in the interior, which is transparent and light. We knew quite well beforehand what kind of furniture we wanted to have placed. Gispen supplied the furniture in close consultation with us. Together we searched for just the right overlap between the staff restaurant and the public plaza in terms of upholstery and colours. The two areas are now truly related to one another.
A variety of furniture
Visitors of the Municipal Service Desk can take the elevator, stairs or escalator to enter a long public plaza with different zones. The reception is where straightforward applications are dealt with, the central area is used for applications that take slightly longer and the quieter, closed-off consulting rooms in the back are used for time-consuming procedures. We installed both rectangular and round counters in the hall, the latter of which are used for more informal conversations with citizens. Gispen installed a variety of furniture, creating comfortable waiting- and consulting areas.
The client’s thoughts
A Municipal Service Desk, two restaurants, a Citizen’s Hall, the workstations. This was a large and complex project that was realised as a team. Keeping a tight schedule was essential. We met with Gispen on many occasions to discuss things. Whenever deliveries were made, there was always someone from Gispen present. And we could really assemble our dream team because we had already worked together for so many years. What we sought after we have achieved: our employees and guests are enthusiastic about the new layout.
Staff restaurant with multiple functions
The new staff restaurant in Mariënburg was designed by Gispen interior designer Marieke Kamperman. Gispen was given a black canvas when it comes to the furnishing. The restaurant’s design, however, did have to tie in with the rest of the colourful building, a requirement we kept in mind when we selected the colour schemes of the furniture. The new restaurant serves multiple functions: people come there to have something to eat, work together or to concentrate and occupy one of the booths with laptop connections. We placed many Triennial chairs along with Vitra seats and Gispen MultiLounge setups. We also supplied Gispen column tables which were to be used especially for receptions, featuring height adjustability via gas struts. In addition, we supplied a custom-made stand with pillows.
Photography: Chris van Koeverden