SintLucas, the one and only portal into the creative sector, was on the lookout for a great deal of creativity and custom products for its new building in Eindhoven. The so-called Atrium was destined to bring students, teachers as well as companies together. This is fully in line with what this school of vocational education stands for: tenacity, pride, professionalism, entrepreneurship and drive. In close cooperation with interior architect rené mensink, Sant Interiors and the educational institute itself, Gispen realised a custom interior design that supports all the desired activities. A co-creation project in its purest form where the input of students was valued.
Preparing creative talent
SintLucas, located in Boxtel en Eindhoven, offers a wide range of creative-technical-business programmes at pre- to secondary vocational level. There is a need for designers within the creative sector; people who can devise, design and create things using the latest technology and techniques. SintLucas educates these people, from craftspeople to game developers and event managers. It concerns about 3,200 talented people, who are prepared by approximately 220 teachers to market and sell their products. SintLucas moved to the Strijp-S area in Eindhoven, the cultural and creative heart of the city. The school moved into a former Philips building, to which a newly constructed extension is attached: The Atrium. SintLucas published a tender for the interior design and furnishing of the Atrium. Gispen came out as winner of the tender procedure.
Welcoming guests, spending time and working together
Ewout Torreman, Gispen Account Manager: ‘It is the combination of old and new that makes this building so special. We focused on the newly-constructed part of the site. Two storeys where the pre- and secondary level students can study both separately and together. The Atrium is where they spend their time during recess, but this is also where students and teachers meet and work together. In addition, the area is used to welcome companies who want to start partnerships with SintLucas.’ It was important to establish a connection. A literal interpretation of this is a wide wooden flight of stairs, which actually connects the two storeys. This is where the school director opens every new academic year, but also where students eat their sandwiches. The wide stairs provide plenty of space for everyone.
The architect’s thoughts
‘Working together with Gispen always gives me a familiar and enriching feeling. We complement each other well due to our different experiences and expertise. I think it’s great how, time and time again, Gispen manages to put together a team that is able to meet the requirements of the client. SintLucas wanted to create a so-called urban playground. I was truly impressed; a foundation of concrete, wood and steel – I wanted to add to this with my interior design. This shows in the application of bare metal finishes, sturdy-looking tabletops with an HPL wood grain and base colours such as copper, brass and bronze with red lead accents. This is how I formed unity and tranquillity in a building that already had plenty of dynamism.’
Both client and creator
Gispen formed a team with interior architect rené mensink and interior constructor Sant Interiors for the execution of this project. The interior architect: ‘We started off by visiting the construction site together. I spoke with the architect so that he could share his underlying vision with me. We then developed our plan, which we tweaked and refined after the first presentations in co-creation with a large project group of SintLucas. Our client was part creator and played a vital role in the result as it stands today.’
Multiple branches within the school were involved: from site manager to the Head of housing and facilities, from art director/corporate style manager to teachers and even the students, who were interviewed about their wishes. Ewout Torreman of Gispen: ‘Working together like this is ideal; we are partners instead of client and supplier. And what makes this project even greater is the fact that the students’ creativity was truly utilised. One of their school assignments is to start a mini-company. Gispen shared its expertise in developing two products that we manufactured in our own factory and which have actually found their way into the Atrium: the KUBE.design bar stool and a bar stool from the mini-company Bloom.
A true eye-catcher at the Atrium is the custom-made and co-created sofa that was designed by Gispen and produced by interior constructor Sant Interiors. A long wooden sofa which is placed near the glass façade of the building. There is another custom product to be found on the second storey: a large podium, an actual catwalk, that can be used for graduation ceremonies, for example. Activity-related furnishing was the guiding principle behind our method. From working together to meeting and presenting – the interior supports every activity. The installed furniture consists partly of reused items from the former building, including sofas and tables from the school cafeteria. New pieces of furniture were then added, including high UT tables and products from the Gispen MultiLounge programme. The applied colours match the raw, industrial look of the building. Take the old-jeans-look fabric, for example, which add a vintage touch.
Photography: Jannes Linders
The client’s thoughts
‘We have worked together with Gispen for quite some time now. From a new learning environment for our location in Boxtel to the Atrium in Eindhoven. Gispen is always involved right from the early stages of the project, sharing ideas up until installing furniture. A real added benefit to me: they don’t simply install furniture, they come up with creative solutions while considering the activities that must take place in certain areas and the accompanying requirements. They truly leave their mark wherever they go. Our students give life to the place; Gispen lays the foundation. It is not without reasons that we also enjoy working together with them in co-creation projects.’