A place where employees, visitors and residents feel at home
About Circular Project LIOF
LIOF has gone through a transition phase over the past two years. This not only applies to its core activities, the transition has also introduced new working methods. LIOF is now fully digital and has switched to workstations that support flexible working. A new open-plan office design was inextricably linked to this process of change. N-Interieurarchitecten (architectural firm) produced the design. Gispen supplied the furniture, provided cable management services and reused the old furniture.
Open and transparent
LIOF is the regional development agency of the province of Limburg. The agency utilises knowledge, capital and network in supporting businesses all across Limburg, aiming to strengthen the local economy. The old, stately building could not accommodate the open-plan and transparent office which LIOF aspired. Renovating the listed building was considered an option, but moving into a new and more open office building proved to be better suited to the desired look and new work method of the development agency.
Furnishing concept supports transformation
Ilse Bocken-Voncken, management support HR and Facility Management, was closely involved in establishing the interior design and furnishing as well as the realisation of the project. She sums up the many examples of contrast found in the building: “From monumental to modern, from an owned building to a multi-tenant business building, from a traditional to a flexible work environment… In only a couple of years, we have completely changed the way we operate and present ourselves to the outside world. The new furnishing concept and furniture supports this transformation.”
The client’s thoughts
“Seeing see how the furnishing concept supports our new work concept is quite a special thing. I can still recall how the architect visited our previous building with only a stool and a chair. At first, I was certainly not blown away, but looking at the new interior now I can only appreciate how perfectly all the elements combine and how well they are matched to our new concept. I see colleagues holding standing meetings or finding concentration booths where they can fully concentrate. I see visitors mingling and making new contacts at the knowledge café. All these components help us in carrying out our tasks more effectively.”
Active working method due to flexible office furniture
The furniture supports the new working method. Employees used to have their own desks in a traditional office setting, but now they occupy various workspaces in an open office environment. “This means that the workstation itself must be flexible; easy to adapt to the person who occupies it. In addition, a workstation must offer a certain level of privacy. The Gispen Cubic workstation with dividing screens meets these requirements perfectly”, according to Mieke Hogenboom of Base 21, who managed the entire LIOF project on behalf of Gispen.
Being able to keep your body in motion while working was another of the client’s requirements. Many workstations are not only adjustable for ergonomic purposes, they also allow employees to easily adjust the desk height for either a standing- or seated position. “We have ensured that meetings are conducted in a more active fashion by installing Gispen sit-stand conference tables. By doing so, we have fulfilled a wish which was made known by the employees; they prefer to alternate between a standing and seated position while working behind a desk or holding a meeting.”
Mutual relationship determines success
According to interior architect Chris Pachen of N Interieurarchitecten, the success of a good concept and a good interior greatly depends on the relationship you have with your employer. “This notion applies to me as an architect and LIOF, but also for Gispen and the interior architect. From working together with Gispen, I can say that they are very good at reacting and anticipating. The way in which Gispen operates as a project manager has contributed to the success of the project. Together we have provided the employees and visitors of LIOF with the right tools to get ahead. Solid tools, which an interior and its furniture represents in my opinion, contribute to the transition and change of corporate culture which LIOF strives to make.”
The architect’s thoughts
“Gispen has the ability to translate an existing product line into the specific requirements of a concept, which is great for an interior architect. I wanted to add a hammer blow effect to a cabinet, which turned out to be impossible. Gispen began searching for a way to achieve the look I had in mind; they applied a special type of paint to the cabinet, giving it an industrial look. Gispen is not only a very reliable manufacturer, they also have what it takes to provide tailored solutions and meet uncommon demands.”
Staff sale and returns
Gispen not only supplied furniture, we also provided services which are not apparent right away. Mieke Hogenboom: “LIOF had the strong desire for a fresh and modern look. The design and required flexibility and ergonomics ensured that we utilised both new and refurbished furniture in this project. It was important to LIOF to discard as little materials as possible and to encourage the reuse of components. Our answer to this requirement is twofold: We organised and realised a staff sale. Any furniture that was left was given a new lease of life through the Gispen GreenLife programme. Gispen has taken back every single piece of furniture that was left, and has either refurbished or kept the furniture in the product loop in some other way.”
Cable management: functional and tidy
Besides this request of circularity, Gispen also provided a cable management service. Mieke Hogenboom: “We routed and neatly tucked away the cables and wires from and to the workstations, monitors, routers and servers; the IT department, architect and contractors were closely involved in the process. And to no surprise, Gispen proved that functionality can go hand in hand with a striking interior design.”
Photography: Arjen Schmitz