Hospitable visitors’ restaurant in line with hospital protocol

Hospitable visitors’ restaurant in line with hospital protocol

Sodexo / Zuyderland hospital

How can we turn a popular coffee bar with queues right down to the hallway into a welcoming restaurant for visitors? While making clever use of the empty space next door? It was with this question that Sodexo knocked on Gispen's door, for the Zuyderland Medical Centre in Sittard-Geleen. An innovative interior concept won the client over: “It was so well-thought-out and it looked so appealing that we wanted to know all about it.”

Hospitable within protocol

The Zuyderland hospital in Sittard-Geleen can be entered directly from an indoor parking garage. Firstly, you will enter a hallway with ATMs – with an Aspretto bar across the corridor, a popular place for getting a 'coffee to go'. Further down in the hospital there is a large restaurant for both employees and visitors. However, for most visitors it turned out to be too far out of their way and for some it was even impossible to find. As a result, long queues would build up in front of the coffee bar; and those who wanted to have a seat would have to sit on basic furniture or even on a bare floor. Frederique Thomas, Manager Horeca & Services Sodexo at Zuyderland: “We wanted to build an extra restaurant that was accessible directly upon arrival; a hospitable meeting place with a homely feel and comfortable seats.” Colleague Ria van Kampen, Senior Project Manager at Sodexo Project: “It goes without saying that we took into account all the rules that apply to the hospital. We couldn’t change any fundamental elements of the hallways, for example; wide entrances and clear emergency exits are essential.”

The client’s thoughts

We organised a mini competition among three parties for the layout of the new space. Gispen surprised us with a creative and totally original layout of the space, which was cleverly illustrated by them via 3D sketches and an animation. We eventually opted for their design and, after a few minor adjustments were made, it turned out a very elegant interior. We have received positive feedback from our visitors and employees so far. This beautiful, professional and pleasant meeting place and waiting area is a valuable addition to our hospital.

Frederique Thomas Manager Hospitality & Services Sodexo at Zuyderland

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More tranquillity and freedom of movement

The empty space next to the former coffee bar, which was formerly used by a supermarket, provided an opportunity. By adding this space to the Aspretto bar, there were more possibilities for creating pleasant waiting and seating areas. Peter van der Linden, Business Manager Healthcare at Gispen: “This was still a challenge, because the space we were working with was long and narrow. At first, it seemed difficult to furnish. Sodexo/Zuyderland had already listed a number of requirements. We were so eager to do things right that we presented them with a proposal that included a different creative solution for furnishing the space. In addition, we made an animation to show them what it would actually look like when finished. Our proposal would make the area a more tranquil space, with various seating options and more freedom of movement for visitors who, for example, need a walker or wheelchair.”

Airy, friendly and practical

Coach seats. Round tables with a mixture of chairs. A reading table. The new space invites you to relax and have a snack or a drink. The round rugs distinguish the different seating areas from one another. Upholstered panels with prints contribute to the acoustics of the room. Peter van der Linden: “Our goal was to give our visitors a warm welcome directly upon entry. We also cleverly reused some of the existing furniture, including chairs and bistro tables.” Frederique: “The new space is friendly and practical and has lots of natural light. The furnishing does not only comprise sterile furniture; we have also used fabrics to add comfort. Gispen really thought along with us in coming up with this solution.” The featured products include Hay Result chairs and Pyramid tables, coach seats, Gispen Column and Dukdalf tables, Satellite chairs and bar stools, arc lamps and Extremis plastic Sticks as dividing elements.

The employee’s thoughts

It was great to see how enthusiastically Sodexo/Zuyderland responded to our unsolicited, alternative concept for the layout of the space. What certainly helps is our knowledge and expertise in the healthcare sector, as well as our ability to think outside the box. An example of this is how we used the hallway in which people are waiting at the ATMs. We placed a long, comfortable sofa in front of a large window on the outside of the restaurant. An invitation to sit down and relax for a while; or to have a drink or grab something to eat, who knows. Without taking up a lot of space.

Peter van der Linden Business Manager Healthcare at Gispen

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Are you satisfied with the result?

Frederique: “People have been positive about the new space from the very start. Visitors think the new restaurant is beautiful, cosy and hospitable. Even the Zuyderland employees enjoy spending time there! Although it is mainly intended as an additional restaurant space for visitors.” Ria: “Sodexo caters in hospitals. I have been working with Gispen for a long time, on numerous projects, and I always enjoy this partnership. Once again, the restaurant has been given appeal – but still within the strict protocol which applies to the hospital. A remarkable feat.”

Photography: Chris van Koeverden

Products included in this project