TU Delft - Valorisation Centre
In late 2017, the Valorisation Centre of TU Delft moved into a renovated building, with four storeys at their disposal. It was up to Gispen to come up with an interior design and to fully furnish the new accommodation. The users of the new work environment played a large role in this furnishing project; their wishes and demands served as a guiding principle to the design process.
More collaboration and flexible working
The Valorisation Centre of TU Delft spreads knowledge: it markets concepts and products developed by TU Delft and establishes partnerships and research projects with businesses, governments and other knowledge institutes. The Valorisation Centre houses approximately 90 employees, who are active in the fields of Business Relations, Research Funding, Communication and Finance as well as a department for large-scale projects. They used to carry out their jobs from a traditional office building with many two- and four-person offices. Client Steven Koenders, Project Supervisor Housing & Furnishing at TU Delft: “We required a more open office concept for our new work environment, where people could collaborate more easily. In addition, we wanted to utilise our office space more efficiently while adopting a flexible working method at the same time, as well as being able to adapt the furnishing to any new requirements we may have in the future.”
The client’s thoughts
“The services of Gispen go well beyond the supply of furniture. They carried out every single process which is involved in furnishing a building. From the interior design to organising sessions with future users in order to include them in the process, up until the final installation of the furniture, walls and lighting as well as project management. This method allows one to realise a uniform design language, which really shows in the final result.”
Future users directly involved
TU Delft invited several suppliers to present their initial ideas. Steven Koenders: “We started from scratch, with four empty storeys, because we first wanted to get a broad idea of the possibilities. This is why we asked our visitors to design mood boards for us.” It was important that the future users of the new work environment could agree with the design plans. For this reason a project group of seven end users was formed, who were involved in the furnishing process right from the beginning of the project. This project group also attended the first round of presentations. Steven Koenders: “Gispen’s presentation hit the nail on the head – our first impressions of the design, Gispen’s organisation and the interior architect whom we would be working with were all very confidence inspiring.”
PLAZA, LAB and HUB
Gispen designed three different types of rooms, all suited to different activities. PLAZA is where people meet. In the reception area, for example, employees meet up with their business partners, guests and colleagues. HUB is where people collaborate. Scrumming, deliberating and working while using flexible office furniture in an open office environment, with compact conference rooms for private meetings right in the middle of it all. LAB is where people can fully concentrate on their tasks. A more secluded area with more confined space for conducting research, for example. PLAZA stands out the most, with its central reception on the first floor. All the other floors have their own section of PLAZA, HUB and LAB. Allowing employees to find their ideal workspace from anywhere in the building.
How does one create tranquillity in an open office environment?
The renovated building had an industrial theme with high ceilings, concrete pillars and exposed ventilation shafts. The bright-green floor was already present. Nelleke Lagerwerf: “We carried the industrial look by installing black steel facades. At the same time we wanted to create a warm and homely atmosphere, which is where the woodwork and plants come in. We placed a large custom-made wooden table in the reception area next to an indoor vertical garden with a presentation monitor in the centre of it. We also installed custom-made wooden cabinets throughout the office, each accommodating their own vertical garden; serving as a presentation piece or scale model. We deliberately installed the conference rooms and workstations in the centre instead of the outer ring of the office; this creates a division in the open environment for some peace and quiet. Sliding door cabinets with plants on top create corridors in between the workstations but also provide privacy in an otherwise busy environment.”
The interior architect’s thoughts
“The preliminary designs inspired me right away, which led me to incorporate these into a zoning plan – a first draft. We continued to refine this initial plan in consultation with the project group and end users; adding furniture, colour schemes and materials along the way. We made a great team, with mutual trust and the freedom to share one’s opinion. The preliminary designs are clearly present in the final result.”
The final result
Besides various custom-made wooden tables and cabinets, we installed height-adjustable TM workstations for-two with upholstered, sound absorbing dividing screens. The dark-coloured frames provide contrast to the green floor. The conference rooms are furnished with Triennial chairs with cantilever frames and distinctive two-tone upholstery in matching colours. The reception area is filled with striking Moroso chairs; truly eye-catching chairs which were retrieved from the previous building and then refurbished by Gispen. The employees of the Valorisation Centre are satisfied with the result. Steven Koenders: “The employees’ first reactions were very positive. I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the finest modern flexible office environments on campus right now.”
Photography: Chris van Koeverden