Stylish and accessible furnishing for listed building

Stylish and accessible furnishing for listed building

Utrecht City Hall

The City Hall of Utrecht, which is situated on the Stadhuisbrug in the heart of the city, has undergone several renovations throughout the centuries. During its most recent restoration, the historic ensemble of buildings was thoroughly renovated and made more sustainable. Van Hoogevest Architects produced the plan for the renovation. During the project, the work carried out by architect Enric Miralles in 1999 was preserved. Gispen furnished the entire interior of the renovated 'home of the city'; a furnishing that suits this listed building, with great versatility and atmospheric references made to all Utrecht neighbourhoods.

A true Home of the City

After an extensive renovation project in which many parties were involved, the renovated City Hall can not only be admired (and of course be used) by the city council, but also by the citizens of Utrecht. A key requirement for the municipality of Utrecht was that the various spaces had to be suitable for many different activities. The renovated central lobby and some of the surrounding spaces, including two wedding halls, are accessible to the public and are used for multiple purposes. These include movie premieres and singing performances during the Utrechtse Uitfeest and the Cultural Sundays. There are also alternating exhibitions in the corridors. This is how a real Home of the City has come into existence, where everybody feels welcome.

Interior design, project management and cable management

For the new interior, the municipality of Utrecht organised a mini-competition among its permanent suppliers. Gispen was awarded the contract. Jeroen Ideler, senior account manager at Gispen: “From the central lobby to the conference rooms, and from all the workspaces to the meeting place for politicians: we were given the assignment to furnish it all. Partly based on reused materials, because circularity is important to the municipality.”

 

Gispen put together a dedicated project team: in addition to Jeroen, senior interior architect Marieke Kamperman and project supervisor Ed Wulterkens took part in the action. Jeroen: “As project supervisor, Ed once again managed to perfectly synchronise various disciplines: delivery in the city centre of Utrecht, coordinating between a great many suppliers and, on top of the furnishing, providing a cable management service. Ensuring that all the supplied workstations and furnished conference rooms could be used safely and conveniently while looking neat and tidy at the same time.”

The employee’s thoughts

Those who were part of the Gispen team truly collaborated as a tight-knit team during this project. Marieke not only proved herself as an interior designer, she is also a great artist; her work of art can now be admired in the form of eleven unique rugs, true eye catchers. I would also like to compliment my colleague Ed on successfully managing different disciplines as the project supervisor: making deliveries in the city centre of Utrecht, coordinating between many suppliers and providing a streamlined and effective cable management service.

Jeroen Ideler Senior account manager at Gispen

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Eye-catchers: striking rugs

Marieke: “The renovated central lobby has undergone a real transformation. The ground floor, which includes this lobby, is open to the public and has been given various functions. This meant that the layout had to be cleverly designed. Good acoustics are also very important, which is why we installed acoustic panels with special, tightly stretched cloths around the frames.” A visually defining component of the new interior is found in the eleven unique rugs, allocated in different spaces but when combined, they form one large work of art. Marieke (interior architect and independent artist living in Utrecht): “I incorporated the outlines of significant buildings in Utrecht across eleven different neighbourhoods into a work of art which I then divided into eleven planes. Therefore, the entire city is represented in these rugs.”

Many custom solutions, including new chairs with classic designs

In addition to the public areas, the building houses the office areas and conference rooms of the city council. The office area is furnished with a great many Gispen TM desks. At the conference rooms, we added new tabletops to the frames of the existing tables. The wedding hall is furnished with tailormade chairs, which are based on a 1950 design by Frits Spanjaard. Marieke: “The municipality of Utrecht wanted to bring the wedding room back to the style of that era. We had new chairs made based on old drawings. The upholstery was selected on the basis of a thorough colour study into the historical colour palette, which was conducted by Judith Bohan.” Other custom solutions include the Kusch round conference tables, for which Gispen designed wooden tops that can be extended when a larger setup is required. Interior builder Sant Interiors transformed the existing counter into a new bar element, supplied oval hostess furniture for the host and designed large pantries. 

Multi-functional furniture

Gispen also supplied a range of new products. Gispen Triennial chairs can be found in the central lobby as well as in the Council Chamber and conference rooms. This is an extensive, modular chair collection which is known for its high level of comfort. When combined, it is apparent that the different models are from the same design family. They are also highly flexible in use: whenever the wedding area is being used as a conference room and additional chairs are needed, you can simply pull out the Triennial chairs from the large hall. Moreover, we installed Palau Coral benches at the central lobby and the gallery.

A word from the architect

We strived to create a true home of the city. As a result, the city of Utrecht comes to life in different areas of the building. I designed eleven rugs that feature the outlines of special buildings located in Utrecht. In addition, we added nature elements to the conference rooms; these elements are found in all Utrecht neighbourhoods. We had several local photographers take beautiful pictures of typical nature scenes in Utrecht and incorporated these into the acoustic panels on the walls. It was great to be given this much creative freedom from the municipality of Utrecht.

Marieke Kamperman Senior interior architect at Gispen

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Products included in this project

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