Municipal Offices De Rotterdam
Wednesday 11 Feb 2015
GROUP A, Studio Makkink & Bey and Roukens + Van Gils share the credit for the interior design of the new municipal offices in De Rotterdam, designed by OMA on the Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam. The Municipality of Rotterdam commissioned the interior and began moving into the new offices in phases from August 2014 to the end of the year. The offices occupy 33 floors in the middle of the three towers.
The design features an interior that reflects a ‘vertical city’, which connects ‘urban junctions’ for collective use, meeting spaces and interaction. As part of the integrated design, GROUP A and Studio Makkink & Bey were able to formulate their vision in an urban planning concept. The welcome area on the 22nd floor and the restaurant on the 21st floor form the ‘city centre’ of the vertical city. The generic parts of the work environment, such as normal work spaces, meeting areas and concentration rooms, form the ‘neighbourhoods’.
The ‘city centre’ - the welcome area for the municipal offices - is located in the middle of the building, where the two stacked volumes are shifted in relation to one another. Moving the reception area from the ground floor to the middle of the building creates connections to the city deep into the structure. The city centre is composed of the double-height 22nd floor and the 21st floor, where visitors can transfer from the low-rise lifts to the high-rise lifts. The 22nd floor has a public function for municipal employees and visitors. The larger of the two multi-functional spaces was designed to resemble a ‘living room’, where you receive guests with a cup of coffee from the Italian Coffee Bar. Here, people can organise informal meetings, give small workshops, or have breakfast, lunch or coffee during the afternoon. The smaller space next to the ‘living room’ functions as an information centre for Rotterdam. A stairway leads to the library, with its collection of books about Rotterdam
The low-rise and high-rise floors form the ‘neighbourhoods’ of the vertical city, and were laid out to facilitate the ‘New Ways of Work 010’ concept. Each floor has a large central ‘living room’, with a reading/conference table and a pantry/coffee corner; the ideal meeting place for each ‘neighbourhood’. Facilities, such as lockers and a cloakroom, are located on each floor near the living room, which makes them easy to find. Each floor is also furnished with a variety of work spaces, informal and formal meeting rooms and quiet zones. Every other floor has been given a special theme: either ‘square’ or ‘park’, in accordance with the vertical city concept.
An important aspect of the design was to give the municipal offices a truly ‘Rotterdam’ feeling. This requirement has been visualised in the re-use of existing furnishings. All of the desk chairs and some of the meeting chairs have been re-used. The social workshop de Haeghe Groep was commissioned to provide the upholstery work. The fabric has an 18-meter long pattern of Rotterdam’s street names, and was designed by the artist Andre Castro. Since each chair is covered with a different piece of the fabric, no two chairs are alike. It took almost a full year to re-upholster all 2,000 chairs. All of the desks in the new office were also re-used from the old office. In order to create unity of style in the work environment, all of the desks have been fitted with two white side panels, which are connected by a large acoustic screen. This gave the old desks a new frame.
Photgraphy: ScagliolaBrakkee, Rotterdam