“GROOSMAN Architects wanted a circular office building that matches the company's ambitions.”

GROOSMAN Architecten

GROOSMAN Architects is located right in the center of Rotterdam, on the top floor of a typical 'urban' office building. When you enter the new office, it's like stepping into a completely different world. A raw, industrial, but also light and atmospheric space shines at you. GROOSMAN Architects wanted to create a circular, healthy, connecting and inspiring place for their new office building that meets their ambitions: reducing fossil fuel consumption and keeping the CO2 footprint as low as possible. Nick Tettero (architect and “young talent” GROOSMAN Architects) and Jop Besseling (Zwartwoud project manager) talk about the creation of this special place.


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Turn-key realization

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If we can combine that: doing something beautiful for the earth and also doing something beautiful for the user, that's what we love to do.

Nick: Together with 3 colleagues, I was given the freedom to set up the project internally for a new interior. Our current interior was quite identityless. We are a young, energetic, fresh company and that should be shown. In addition, we find circularity very important. As an architectural firm, we want to have a positive impact on the user's well-being with our designs. So our own employees must also be able to work in a pleasant, safe environment.

Jop: And get inspired.

Nick: Yes, absolutely. The new office should also simply become a business card that shows that we also dare and want to invest in what we find important.

Jop: Do you also notice this with clients? That sustainability is the first thing that is being cut back? Or is that already getting better?

Nick: People often think that circularity always increases costs. But it can also be cost-effective, for example by reusing furniture. You have to think smarter, use creativity to see what is already there and let the client see the added value.

Jop: We were able to get along well with that during this project.

Nick: It started with a design by Studio Oak. After the design process, they presented Zwartwoud. We have blindly trusted that. As an architectural firm, we really care about the details, that's part of our work. That may make it more difficult from time to time, but in the end, together, we were able to ensure that the end result is just incredibly beautiful. We all come to the office with a smile. Clients who come in say: there is a certain peace here. Multiple flexible spaces ensure that you feel secure, but it still feels spacious with plenty of daylight.

Jop: I found the process towards it fun and exciting. It all started with the window frame. No one understood that they had to stay, that that was part of the big picture. There had been a wall somewhere else, and the painter asked if he should remove the kit and sauce it over. We then had to explain each time that this was not necessary for this design. That was really funny. It was helpful that we understood each other. We understood what you were looking for.

Nick: Yes, the fact that, for example, you knew what to do with the residual wood and that you were able to switch quickly is very valuable. That's where you really stood out. Find the material, but also dare to contribute ideas at such a level.

The frames and doors are made of floor beams from a renovated BSO and a demolished university building.

The acoustics are made with damping materials from residual materials and recycled PET bottles have been used for upholstery.

Nick Tettero

The fact that Zwartwoud, for example, knew what to do with the residual wood and that they were able to switch quickly is very valuable. That's where Zwartwoud really stood out. Find the material, but also dare to contribute ideas at such a level.

Even the people at Zwartwoud in the factory thought: “Do I need to do anything else with this?”

And then, fortunately, there were plenty of people who understood: this can be good this way. Who understood the concept. On the contrary, being able to show the material in its pure form.

Jop: You can reuse existing wood, but if you then apply kilos of filler that you buy new, you are literally missing the point.

Nick: The design was also quite technical. I think that with good, constructive conversations and a lot of honesty and clarity, we have come to something good together. In the different types of workplaces, we have also created more individual work units 'from scratch'. Thanks to your technical knowledge in the interior field, combined with what we have in terms of wishes, and also with an aesthetic approach, we succeeded. That's in the design, but certainly also in the way they were manufactured.

Jop: Of course, with your profession, you are also expert clients. It was nice that Wilco [Nick's colleague] was as passionate as I was. We kept each other on our toes!

Nick: Your involvement as a project leader is a good feature, I see that as quality. In addition, it just helped that we have a common denominator. It's no longer a good time to choose everything from the catalog.

Jop: It's also much more exciting in the end, a project like that.

Nick: Yes, much more fun! You are challenged to think in new ways, instead of doing the same trick over and over again, but in a different colour. Also a bit more time-consuming, but it's worth it. When you see how comfortable people work here now, they feel calmer. Together, we've created a healthier workplace for our employees. That we were able to do that together like this is what I am most proud of.

Jop: I'm especially proud of how we were able to contribute ideas.

Nick: Aren't you proud that you've suddenly managed to build an entire office from a few floor beams? It turned out pretty nice, right?

Jop: Yes, that too, of course. I really like it.

Nick: I hope this office will help us show our clients what we are capable of. Clients like it, people are going to talk about it. It would be great if we could eventually achieve our own ambitions with this.

Jop: Is there something Rotterdam in the new interior? Because you're so clearly entering this special office from a traditional parking garage and hall.

Nick: Nice question! I think the overall, raw look is very appropriate for that. The fact that we kept the concrete ceiling intact and that it is now visible. And the rough floor. Of course, you have the same with the wood: the sweeps, the screw and nail holes. You have, as it were, the blank canvas, but scarred, filled in with materials that have their own story and furniture with a story. It ensures that the entire interior speaks for itself.

The underlay plates for the meeting rooms, the units, the model room and the stages come from an indoor skate park and an old car garage. The old conference table has been converted into a new sketching table, the bookcase has been reused and the benches in the shower are made from an old bookcase. The result: a unique, unique, attractive office that makes the world a little more beautiful.

Laura is an interior designer and one of the founders of Studio Oak. With their 'vital oak' office concept and the use of natural materials, they were commissioned to design the new office design.

Laura: “In all choices when it comes to materials and furniture, we set the bar very high when it comes to circularity. The residual wood frames are finished with biobased Greenpaints paint. The concrete floor was sanded and also finished with a Greenpaints product. But in addition to using sustainable materials, flexibility is also part of circularity. The frames can possibly be disassembled at a later time and placed in a different setting. The parts are detachable, so you can use everything again. That's what I'm most proud of. We succeeded in making the office perfectly suited to GROOSMAN's needs.

After a number of collaborations with Zwartwoud, we know each other better and you know what you have in common. A lasting relationship as far as we are concerned. '

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