Gispen furnished the school building of VOLT! Toekomstmakers, a mid-level school of vocational education, with furniture that supports both traditional and modern learning methods. NUOVO Scholengroep, the umbrella foundation under which VOLT! Toekomstmakers operates, has been working together with Gispen for many years; different schools which each have their own (design) challenges.
VOLT! Toekomstmakers is one of the fourteen schools that are part of NUOVO Scholengroep. NUOVO has a total of almost ten thousand pupils and that number is growing steadily every year by approximately 5-10%. NUOVO provides secondary education in Utrecht and the surrounding area, from vocational education to International School and from intermediate to higher secondary education.
‘We have a permanent partnership with Gispen. They assist us in furnishing all our schools', says Marco Postema. Together with his Facility Management team, Marco is responsible for the furnishing, procurement and contracts of the entire NUOVO Scholengroep.
The way in which a building is furnished can vary greatly. Take, for example, secondary school ACADEMIE TIEN in Leidsche Rijn, for which Gispen drew up a complete furnishing plan based on the building’s blueprint. A special project because, at this new school, pupils and teachers work together on personal learning paths, resulting in a tailor-made diploma for each pupil. This concept deserved a custom interior design. For International School Utrecht, the challenge was and still is on another level: this school is growing exponentially. Marco: 'In under ten years, we have grown from 50 to 850 pupils! Every year we are faced with a real housing challenge, which we solve together with Gispen. In comparison, the VOLT! Toekomstmakers project was a much easier one, but you can always rely on Gispen to be aboard.’
The client’s thoughts
‘I often work together with Gispen on projects for all the schools within the NUOVO Scholengroep. What distinguishes Gispen is its level of expertise. Take the increasing sustainability of their furniture collections, for example, which they have truly specialised in. The same goes for their mechanics; true professionals who are meticulous and leave no traces behind. I also think that Gispen is a reliable partner. If something goes wrong, they immediately come up with a solution. It's good to know that we can count on Gispen.’
New learning methods
The architect of the new building for VOLT! Toekomstmakers was asked to not only design the new building, but also to draw in the entire furnishing. ‘This meant that we mainly applied our expertise on a material and product level', explains senior account manager Jeroen Ideler, who was involved in this project on behalf of Gispen. Not an unnecessary luxury, because VOLT! Toekomstmakers combines old learning methods in classroom settings with new learning methods in collaborative groups. Jeroen: 'In concrete terms, this means that we supplied a thousand (more traditional) school desks as well as train booths for the learning environments on each floor. A future-oriented solution, because these allow small groups of students to work on group assignments with some peace and quiet. We also furnished the school cafeteria and supplied various picnic sets for the school yard.’
Short lines of communication
The biggest challenge of this project was to deliver in accordance with the school’s vison and to do so within budget and on time. According to Marco, the latter did not seem to be a problem at all: 'We had left room for possible delays in the construction of the building; in the end it was all carried out according to schedule. So when Gispen pulled up with four lorries on the agreed day, everything was ready for them. However, a dispute between the municipality and the contractor had resulted in the building to be locked down… In an event like this, it's good to have short lines of communication with a Gispen project manager! Sometimes things simply go wrong, but Gispen always comes through with a quick solution. The students of VOLT! Toekomstmakers are now working on their future in a pleasant way, making full use of Gispen furniture.’
The professional’s thoughts
‘NUOVO Scholengroep is represented by a large variety of schools, each with their own requirements and needs. To us this means that every project is unique. I think it's great that we can accommodate all those different learning styles, furnishing concepts and student populations with our furniture. And if a particular learning style requires a special solution, we will develop a tailor-made product in close consultation with the client.’