Family business Rutges Vernieuwt has been a specialist in renovating and maintaining homes and buildings for 125 years. In 2008, Gispen designed and furnished the interior of what was then a brand new building in Utrecht/De Meern. A compliment: the partnership and the result were such a success that, eleven years later, Rutges once again called upon the services of Gispen to fully furnish a second building in Amsterdam. A large warehouse that has to serve both as a stockroom and a high-grade office environment. A beautiful result was realised in close cooperation with interior designer Mariët Hendrikx of MHIO and several other partners.
Marius Rutges, former director of Rutges Vernieuwt (son Dennis has taken over as managing director) is now a member of the Advisory Board and is responsible for managing all facilities and renovations. He briefly looks back on 2008: "At the time, we were looking for a partner who could develop the entire concept, i.e. both the interior design and furniture. This is exactly what we got when we partnered up with Gispen. We've always kept in touch for whenever furniture needed to be refurbished or supplemented at our branch in De Meern.” Given its growing number of clients in Amsterdam, Rutges started looking for a second branch in the capital. Marius: “At first, we were thinking of putting up a new building, but because we wanted to start fairly quickly, we ended up with a large warehouse in the north of Amsterdam. We then set out to give our new location the same look and feel of our building in De Meern. This was quite a challenge, because it was a rather dark warehouse. This called for a major renovation.”
The client’s thoughts
We are at the top end of the market and provide our customers with many tailor-made solutions. Our new premises had to be a representation of the quality we deliver. In collaboration with the same partners who also assisted us at De Meern in 2008, we have certainly succeeded in achieving this goal. Where there used to be darkness, light now shines from all sides on the new interior with its many custom solutions. Moreover, the building is designed for growth, both in terms of design and the number of employees. We are set for the foreseeable future.
Transformation due to mezzanine and skylights
Rutges Vernieuwt brought in the same interior designer as it did for De Meern at the time: Mariët Hendrikx, who no longer works at Gispen but operates independently. Gispen once again supplied the entire furnishing. Mariët Hendrikx of MHIO: “In terms of appearance and quality, we wanted to build something similar to the branch in De Meern. Rutges Vernieuwt wanted the office to be in the front of the warehouse, on both the ground floor and first floor. The back of the building was lacking daylight, however, which is why I suggested building a large mezzanine on the first floor. This meant we had to conduct quite a structural operation; a large hole of 15 by 5 metres had to be cut in the concrete floor, in which we placed a playful staircase that curves into the ground floor in the centre of the room. A glass railing all around ensures the employees on the ground floor and those on the first floor are kept in contact with one another. In addition, we realised a wide skylight in the ceiling of the first floor. This is how the warehouse was transformed from a dark space into a transparent, open and airy work environment.”
Special materials and tailored solutions
The design similarities between De Meern and Amsterdam are found in both furniture and materials. Mariët: “But with slightly lighter colours in Amsterdam, for a more contemporary look.” From the wooden deck on the ground floor and the striped carpet to the abundantly used Plexwood - an innovative and unique timber material with a strong structure. When entering the building, the first thing you see is a long tailormade Plexwood counter. All the fixed interior structures are custom made by partner Het Woud. In the centre there is a seat with four Arco armchairs (Side by Side) with striking halos of light hovering above. There is also a standing table with ‘Jim’ stools from Montis. The central space is surrounded by offices and conference rooms. At the very back of the warehouse, separated by a Plexwood panelled wall with gaps, there are several facilities such as the custom-made pantries and the wardrobe. The first floor is where both closed and open office spaces are situated around the mezzanine.
Versatile furniture, custom lighting
Jeroen Ideler, senior account manager at Gispen: "The TM workstations which are still popular at De Meern, were also supplied to the Amsterdam branch. The conference rooms are furnished with Gispen TEAM tables; the company restaurant is provided with the same tables but with wheels to allow for a swift change of layout. On the ground floor, there are fireproof drawer cabinets for all the project documentation. The offices have been provided with Gispen SDK sliding door cabinets with Plexwood frames, which also serve as room dividers. QC Light Factory provided all the custom lighting solutions. The standard lighting plan consists of rows of lights that are integrated into the ceiling along the entire length of the office. This is supplemented by other items such as hanging tube spotlights at different heights in the conference room and company restaurant and Pin wall lights from Vibia in the hallways.
A word from the architect
In collaboration with structural architect Marc de Reus and all those involved at Rutges Vernieuwt, we were given the opportunity to produce proper custom solutions and achieve the Rutges look. Using high-quality materials with a sleek but warm appearance due to the application of wood. The interior design was not the easiest to realise, but the effect the mezzanine and skylights have on the space is simply amazing! I have a long history working with Gispen; we make a great team. During this project, we had short lines of communication between all involved parties.
Are you satisfied with the result?
Marius Rutges: “The result is definitely what we had hoped for! We are currently working with a team of 15 employees in Amsterdam, but the space is designed to house over 30 employees, so there is plenty of room for growth. Our branch in Amsterdam resembles our branch in De Meern, but is a more modern version of it. After all, it has been twelve years since De Meern was built. Nevertheless, I think both buildings are timeless.” Mariët: “I am convinced that this building will still be beautiful in 10 years' time. The great thing about this client is that they are in the construction business themselves and that they stand for a certain quality that you want to strive for together. Together with Gispen and the other partners we have definitely succeeded in achieving our goal.”
Photography: Chris van Koeverden