‘International identity with a national twist’

‘International identity with a national twist’

Ocean Network Express

Ocean Network Express (ONE) has opened a new office in the Netherlands. The interior had to be in line with the design guidelines set by the head office in Singapore. Gispen took on the challenge together with the Cushman & Wakefield architect and added a national twist to an international identity.

Corporate appearance

Ocean Network Express has the sixth largest fleet in the world, boasting 1,440,000 containers and 240 ships, including 31 super-sized ships. The logistics operation across all seas and oceans is managed by a service network in over ninety countries around the world. The Netherlands is also part of this network with a branch in the port of Rotterdam. ‘The interior of our new office had to have a corporate appearance. The upholstery and furniture, for example, had to conform to the colours and materials described in our design guidelines. However, the guidelines did not prohibit us from implementing the design plans on a national level. We were greatly assisted in this process by the architect and later by Gispen as well', says Paul Erftemeijer, Director Benelux ONE.

The client’s thoughts

‘We planned on visiting three suppliers together with the architect. After my visit to the Gispen showroom, I was totally convinced of their craftsmanship and services. I was only shown around the setups that were relevant to us. This efficiency, combined with a good understanding of our wishes, a great many possibilities and a fair quotation, made us decide to enter into contract with Gispen. Gispen and the architect made it easy for me to make choices. This was great because everything about the furnishing process was new to me.’

Paul Erftemeijer Director Benelux Ocean Network Express

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Connecting two floors

The Project & Development Services (PDS) team of Cushman & Wakefield provided ONE with a full service in the renovation, modification and furnishing of the building. The space that ONE has rented is divided over two floors in the Blaak 16 building in Rotterdam. ONE wanted different (conference) areas across the two floors: from more luxurious board rooms to smaller conference rooms and from team management areas to informal meeting points. What is also worth mentioning is that ONE works according to an open-plan office concept in which all employees have fixed workplaces, two hundred in total.

Gispen’s know-how of occupational health and safety

Christiaan Coepijn, senior architect at Cushman & Wakefield, designed the new office for ONE. He interconnected the two floors by creating a recess on the second floor and incorporating a staircase into it. ‘The staircase is one of the office’s key features. It was also very decisive for the layout of the floor plans.’ Coepijn went over these floor plans with Gispen's occupational health and safety expert. ‘It goes without saying that we always follow the guidelines for good working conditions, but it is always good to not only assess the architect's plans, but to also have the health and safety standards looked at from an interior perspective. This way you can make decisions substantiated by two insights, views and experiences. Afterwards, we slightly altered the layout, so that the office space could be used more efficiently.'

Cable management

In addition to the architectonic design, PDS also managed the project for ONE. This included building supervision, but also the selection and tendering of the various upholsterers and interior designers. Based on previous experiences, Coepijn introduced Gispen to ONE. ‘As an architect, you can select furniture too, of course, but it is better to bring in a specialist. Especially when you are dealing with workspaces that include a great many computers, monitors and networks. We made some clever cut-outs in tabletops to neatly tuck away any loose wires and cables.’ A full cable management service was provided by Gispen.

Circular furniture? Nice to have

We knew that it was very important to Erftemeijer to have a pleasant, comfortable and lively workspace when we were selecting the furniture. ‘I very much wanted the fixed desks to be sit-stand workstations. These workstations allow you to easily alternate between a seated and standing position.’ ONE opted for the mechanical version; employees can adjust their own desks via manual crank handles. Erftemeijer chose this variant because it is a more economical option. ‘The added benefit of this workstation is that it saves you the hassle of routing cables. It is also a circular product, and although this was not a requirement for us, it is of course nice to have.’

Increasing sustainability

Although sustainability was not a first priority, both the architect and Gispen incorporated sustainable elements into the office of ONE. Coepijn: ‘If you're renovating anyway, why not take sustainability into account.’ The same goes for the furniture. Gispen proposed using the circular CIMO collection for the two hundred workstations: CIMO dual sit/stand and 4pack CIMO dual sit/stand workstations, with two-stage height adjustment. The Rotterdam office has also been provided with Zinn NPR office chairs with synchronous mechanism, Asido footstools and different versions of the Gispen TM table collection. Coepijn: 'And we installed various SDK dividing cabinets in order to create a more sheltered area within the open-plan office. These cabinets have been custom-made in both size and function. The dividing screen does not only serve as a cabinet, it is also a planter, for example. Moreover, many furniture pieces from HAY, Vitra and Wilkhahn have been placed, especially in the conference rooms and waiting areas.’

The architect’s thoughts

‘What's great about working with Gispen is that they really help you in coming up with solutions. This is something you can offer your clients when your company is as focused on innovation as Gispen is. What helped me as an architect was their ability to easily change the colours and materials of their furniture to match the corporate identity of ONE. What I noticed during the guided tour around the showroom, was that the client shared my enthusiasm for Gispen's focus. It gives me peace of mind when working with a reliable partner such as Gispen. Especially if you have a tight schedule to stick to, as was the case with this project.’

Christiaan Coepijn Senior Architect at Cushwake & Wakefield (PDS)

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Are you satisfied with the result?

The new Dutch ONE office has been up and running for over six months now. Are you satisfied with the result? Erftemeijer: 'We are very satisfied. I can tell by seeing how the sit/stand workstations are being used in so many different ways. They are really being put to good use. Furthermore, I have hardly received any complaints, which tells me that the office, the interior and the furniture is a success.’

Photography: Chris van Koeverden

Products included in this project