30.000 tiles and 800 plants
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Gross floor area: 980 m2
Project team: Stijn de Weerd, Remi Versteeg, Gijs Baks, Joost Baks, Rolf van der Leeuw, Giulia Tomaselli, Esther Bentvelsen
Contractor: Hazenberg Bouw BV
Interior fit-out: Visker Interieurbouw BV
Plants: De Klerk
Project management: Hevo BV
Acoustic consultant: LBP Sight
Contract furniture: Lensvelt Contract Furniture
Graphic design: Sanne Beeren
Photography: Peter Tijhuis
The closed office appears to be a thing of the past and an open layout has become the standard. However, attaining this open feeling requires specific interior strategies to overthrow the question if it really is an open space. Division and hierarchy of some areas can create a pleasant notion, but when the space is separated too much we end up sacrificing the open atmosphere.
As a result of this, many ‘open’ office interiors quickly close up with all kinds of ‘measures’ to combat the daily reality of the newly acquired openness. This dynamism probes the paradoxical question that lies within the open layout: how can a single interior be both open and closed?
In response to this contradiction, we divided the walls horizontally in two. At the bottom a solid, tiled wall of one meter high that defines each space and provides all technical facilities.
Flourishing above is a lush world of over 750 plants that filter the visual relations like a green veil: soft, living and translucent. The entire office was then divided into a number of independent ‘rooms’ of different sizes in accordance with this dual wall principle.
These rooms are then filled with different types of furniture: a layer of color and warmth for public spaces and meeting rooms contrasts with the muted neutral layer for the individual workplaces.
Both the existing building and the sustainable objectives formed mandatory preconditions for the choice of materials. The use of tiles as a basic material was motivated by our ambition to ignore the prevailing clichés about circularity and offices: a material that does not evoke typical office associations but which does possess the solidity and richness of stone. The green filler in the tile work subtly connects the wall construction with the plants arranged.