‘A brand-new home of the city, all based on reuse’

‘A brand-new home of the city, all based on reuse’

About the project The Municipality of Delft

A prominent building in Delft, which houses both a municipal office and a train station. The Municipality of Delft now has a single location for the entire municipal body. This is where civil servants and fellow citizens meet and work together. The guiding principle for the project was sustainability: reusing the existing furniture was one of the conditions that were set for the new interior.

Meeting and working together

The new municipal office of the Municipality of Delft has been in full use since the spring of 2017. The public hall can be found on the first floor, the board rooms and a conference centre on the second floor and the workstations of the back-office are spread across the two floors above that. Studio Biek and Gispen worked closely together in providing this ‘brand-new home of the city’ with a new interior. Merlyne Metsen, Facility Management Advisor at the Municipality of Delft: ‘We changed from four locations into one. The new building was then completed in two parts. There were many parties involved. In short, it was a massive project for us. Something that we required of all parties was to be unburdened.’

Activity-related working

The new building was designed by Mecanoo architects. Studio Biek took care of the interior design. The public hall on the first floor features a reception desk as well as various consulting rooms in a large public area with where citizens can come together. The coffee corner and free Wi-Fi service make it an attractive place for people to work, hold meetings or give presentations. There is also room for special exhibitions to be held in this public part of the building. On the floor above, where the city council is housed, is where all kinds of meetings can take place. The principle of activity-related working was applied to the floors where the workstations can be found. Studio Biek designed eight different types of workstations; designs ranging from a public, open setting to a more secluded area for some privacy and concentration.

The client’s thoughts

‘It was a lengthy process, but we can all be very proud of the result. We believe in the power of sustainability. Gispen has provided clever and innovative solutions for reusing our old furniture. I admire the people of the Gispen project team for their hard work during implementation. The mechanics and their supervisor had a flexible attitude and were very good at communicating – great. We could not be happier with our new building.’

Merlyne Metsen Facility Management Advisor at the Municipality of Delft

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Refurbished furniture

There was already an explicit request for refurbishing the existing furniture included in the tender of the Municipality of Delft. Mandy Pupping, Project Manager at Gispen: ‘In the end, we supplied 405 refurbished adjustable workstations, which were all provided with a new, fixed crank handle and tabletop. In addition, the desks were adapted to the new situation and shortened to 160 by 80 cm. This is where the Haeghe Groep came in, which employs people with a disadvantage on the job market. Social return was another important condition that was put forward in the tender request. The Haeghe Groep also reupholstered all the board room chairs.’

The acoustic dividing screens in between desks is another good example of material reuse. Gispen used old tabletops and covered them in fabric to improve the acoustics. Gispen and Hoogendoorn Interieurbouw (interior construction company) supplied new frames for the workstations. The interior constructor made new lunch tables out of the old wooden floors. New products that were added to the interior mostly include reused examples of the MultiLounge seat, Asido pouf, Zinn office chair and Vitra and De Vorm chair.

Moving and removing

Gispen was also asked to move the furniture pieces that were eligible for direct reuse to the municipal office from three separate locations. Part of the existing furniture collection could no longer be reused. The municipality was required to fully empty out the buildings they were leaving, so they asked Gispen to manage the entire process and dispose of any unsalvageable furniture. Merlyne Metsen: ‘I can only speak positively about Gispen Greenlife, the service that made it possible to give all the old furniture pieces a new lease of life. And all within a very tight deadline! To name an example: one of the buildings, nine storeys tall, needed to be cleared out in a weekend. I’m really impressed with how Gispen managed to pull it off.

The architect’s thoughts

‘Building, interior and signage; everything is carefully balanced. The guiding principles for the building were creativity, history, technology and innovation, which really shows when you look at the interior. There are showcases with archaeological finds presented throughout the building – both in the public hall and in between the workstations. They add to the décor but also contribute to the acoustics. From acoustic dividing screens up until innovative recycling solutions – Gispen has added great value to this project.’

Robin Smith Interior architect at Studio Biek

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First impressions of the new work environment

Client Merlyne Metsen: ‘For some, the new environment meant a complete change; they moved from a traditional office setting to an open work environment. This is something people will need to get used to, but the less you hear, the more positive people usually are. From what I have heard, people are quite happy with their new place of work.’ Interior architect Robin Smith: ‘I think it’s great that the wide hallways that connect the office wings have been given a new function. People meet each other at the coffee corners, printers and the so-called ‘keep-fresh walls’ where they can get lunch. The seats are used for holding short meetings or even for presentations. The hallway has been transformed from a crowded area to a central meeting place.

Photography: Chris van Koeverden

Products included in this project