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Corporate Social Responsibility is important to UWV. This is reflected in its customer service, work environment and office layout. This government agency is a frontrunner when it comes to circular work methods. We are therefore proud to have been UWV's permanent furnishing partner for many years. More recently, we added an element of warmth and hospitality to the housing concept of the head office in Amsterdam. Quoting Fenke Groenedaal, UWV housing project manager: "Encounters and informal meetings have become more important due to corona." Gispen and architect Mark Mes have added warmth to an otherwise practical office environment.



Meetings and encounters

Unlike other government agencies, UWV employees do not only work from home. Staying in physical contact with clients is very important to the consultants and corporate doctors. However, the current corona measures have quite a few implications: in addition to the use of protective gear and safe walking routes, the office layout will also change in the sense that it will serve a new purpose. Fenke Groenedaal, housing project leader at UWV: " Especially now that office occupancy levels are at their lowest due to a significant rise in remote working. Since the start of the pandemic, we are less focused on the traditional workplace as in 'a desk and an office chair'. Those who come to the office nowadays mainly want to confer and meet with colleagues. It was up to Gispen to build additional meeting areas, create a more homely atmosphere and add flexibility to our head office.

Circular ambitions

Gispen furnished four new storeys; we brightened up the reception area and gave the pantry a complete makeover. This was done in several stages. Architect Mark Mes from BSA Wim de Bruijn developed a star-shaped floor plan with a central meeting area in the middle. Mark: "The result is a biotope of different areas: from a Scrum Room to sit-stand workstations with mobile Swoppers as chairs, and from a homely pantry with warm lighting to a dynamic meeting area with desk bikes." 

It is mainly the office environment in which the circular ambitions of UWV become apparent. UWV was one of the first Gispen clients for who we refurbished and transformed old Aspa desks into 1.60 by 80cm sit-stand desks.


Versatile and dynamic furniture

We have added a subtle touch of warmth to the interior. Not only through the application of wood and warm colours, but also by adding a herringbone carpet and wall prints that reflect UWV's corporate identity. In addition, we installed Gispen SDK and Gispen CIMO planters with real plants for the purpose of purifying the air and creating a relaxing and natural ambience. Kim Lantwaart, Gispen account manager and closely involved in many UWV projects: "In order to match the rooms to the designated work method, group size or social distancing regulations, UWV opted for versatile and dynamic furniture. The furniture items on wheels are a good example of this; UWV employees can turn a Scrum room into a meeting area in the blink of an eye. The office space can even be enlarged or reduced with the use of room dividers and planters."


A warm atmosphere
The reception area has been given a warmer atmosphere with a new counter, sitting area and a large reading table. We also added a Gispen Sett CE sofa to this area; the sofa made of 95% recycled materials. The carpet designed by Studio Wae was made on the basis of residual flows.

The former pantry was only used for getting coffee. Kim: "UWV is always in need of more space for encounters and meetings, which is why we furnished this area with Gispen Sett CE sofas, Palau armchairs and Nomi Wood chairs -  with removable circular upholstery - as well as soft lighting. The result is reminiscent of a lobby."


What do you think of the result?

Client Fenke: "The feedback we have received so far is very positive. The pantry is particularly popular. The new work method has truly fulfilled people's different needs. What we are seeing is that those who come to the office to work, also want to meet up with colleagues. The new pantry allows for short meetings and informal encounters. The overhauled reception area, the additional office floors and pantry are very practical and add to the atmosphere UWV had in mind." 


Photography: Chris van Koeverden

portrait of Mark Mes
Mark Mes - Architect at Bureau voor Stedebouw and Architectuur Wim de Bruijn

A word from the specialist

Gispen is our expert partner when it comes to furniture. We always have short lines of communication and can make quick adjustments when needed. This was particularly important for this project because the rooms had to be furnished in a short period of time. Gispen's expertise and flexibility became evident once again when the furniture had to be selected. Gispen has the ability to make swift changes when it comes to budget, colours, materials and the level of circularity and dynamic working. The project involved a multitude of spaces and areas. Gispen has produced an attractive and appropriate solution for every space. Together we have created a special office space that will bring joy to every single user.

"Gispen has taught us how to work and furnish in a more circular way. A key requirement for UWV: reuse and repurposing are part of out mission."
Fenke Groenedaal Housing project supervisor UWV
portrait of Fenke Groenendaal
Fenke Groenedaal -Housing project supervisor UWV

The client's thoughts

"I thoroughly enjoy working with Gispen, and especially with our account manager Kim. She is always very explicit about what is possible and what isn't. She is also a good sparring partner between the architect and the organisation. Gispen offers alternatives, budget-friendly options and translates ideas into reality. Kim also shares her ideas about how we can work and furnish in a more circular way, which is very important to UWV. Reuse and repurposing are part of our mission and our interpretation or corporate social reponsiblity."

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