“Gasunie is in a sustainability transition; a circular interior plays a major role in that.”


De Gasunie is located in an iconic building in Groningen, which is recognized by many people. But little has been done about the interior since it was built in 1993. The company decided to launch a pilot to make the interior suitable for today's work, while maintaining the true Gasunie DNA. On the eighth floor of the Gasunie building, renovated by Zwartwoud, Anne-Marijn Kamps (then Facility Center Project Manager) and Karst Wouda (director of Zwartwoud) spoke about the transformation that the Groningen company has undergone.

  • Project Management
  • Product development
  • Production
  • Turn-key realization
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“Product development and circularity are very visible, but without good project management, you're nowhere.”

Anne-Marijn: In my role as project leader, I was closely involved in this pilot. That was quite a lot for us, because at Gasunie, everything is planned down to the last detail and preferably completed by our own experts. That was different this time: we brought in the specialists from outside.

Karst: With Zwartwoud, we were allowed to participate in the tender for this pilot. Gasunie mainly looked at the plan of action and the degree of circularity. The design was made by architectural firm Vector-I: a transformation into the new way of working 'Connect & Create'. In the new interior, employees would find both noise, excitement and peace.

Anne-Marijn: We wanted to work with pure specialists. In particular, the plans and expertise about circularity that you showed with Zwartwoud stood out enormously.

Karst: Vector-i had really looked at the employees for their design: what do they need? This is how Gasunie transformed from a closed office environment to an open office space. And then it was up to us to make that as circular as possible, because Gasunie is in a sustainability transition.

Anne-Marijn: On the two floors that we transformed during this project, we wanted to create different spaces. Coffee corners where you can have a nice chat, flexible spaces where you can work together and focus areas where you can find all the peace you need as an employee. For that concept to succeed, we had to convince a few people. After all, our employees were used to having their own place on their own wing. By involving them very much in the process and also letting the employees decide what their department should look like, we succeeded. It was up to Zwartwoud to realize the design in the right way, and we succeeded.

Karst: Especially the fact that there was a lot to find out when it comes to circularity made this a large-scale project that ultimately went smoothly. If something was wrong, we put our heads together and managed to solve it together in no time. For me, transparency was the key word here. By communicating a lot and openly, each party knew where they stood. In addition, we deliberately chose to work with the contractor who already knows this building. That has also helped a lot, especially in the challenge of working as circularly as possible.

Anne-Marijn: In my opinion, Zwartwoud has really proven itself in this. They understood what we wanted and were able to depict that in materials and design even during the tender. We noticed that they really understood our issue, and that turned out to be the case in practice.

Karst: We ourselves had been working on circularity for about ten years. With this project, we were finally able to show our creativity and craft properly. And if you can serve an iconic company like Gasunie, that's of course extra cool for us. This is a project for life, a landmark moment in our company's 100th anniversary. I am extremely proud of how smoothly this large and complex project went.



Anne-Marijn Kamps

Zwartwoud understood what we wanted and was able to depict that in materials and design even during the tender. We noticed that Zwartwoud really understood our issue, and that turned out to be quite the case in practice.

“Everything was delivered on time and budget and our employees are thrilled!”

Anne-Marijn: It was very streamlined. I am renovating my own house and I notice that things can be done differently, haha! Communication and collaboration are simply very important.

Karst: It feels like a huge compliment that Gasunie experienced this way. Product development and circularity are two very visible aspects of our work, but you don't see something like project management. That's all happening behind the scenes. But without good project management, you are nowhere. And we were able to show that well during this project.

Anne-Marijn: This did not feel like a classic relationship between client and contractor. Something can always go wrong, but as long as you communicate clearly about it, nothing is wrong. In the end, everything was delivered within the time and budget. We are very happy about that. And our employees love the end result.

Karst: That may be the best thing to hear, probably also for Vector-I. Of course, you can come up with everything together, plan and work out everything, but the employees still have to embrace the result. If they are satisfied, then the project is successful.

Anne-Marijn: For Gasunie, the enthusiasm of the colleagues was also a reason to extend this pilot to the rest of the building. This will happen in a new, European, tender. Interesting, because a lot is happening in the world. In the field of work, but also in sustainability. We are at a critical time with the Netherlands when it comes to energy supply. It is precisely here that we see that we have all become too dependent on fossil sources. That is why Gasunie must also become more sustainable as quickly as possible. For example, we are increasingly focusing on hydrogen. But if we want to make our core business more sustainable, we also think that you should express that yourself in the way of working and the design of your work environment. That is why circularity also came first when it came to the realization of a new interior.

It looks new, but is almost all recycled material. Furniture is made from old furniture, old frames have been used for phone booths, and old mailboxes are now lockers. Isn't that super cool?

Karst: If you use material from your own company, the DNA is also preserved. Reuse requires extra creativity on our side, but that is exactly what makes us so enthusiastic. When it comes to circularity, people often think of being expensive and cumbersome. But together with Gasunie and Vector-I, we have proven that this really doesn't have to be the case.

Allart Vogelzang about the project

Allart is one of the partners vector-i, the architectural firm that won the tender for the design of the new interior. vector-i develops architecture for the quality of life of future generations. With their sustainable ambitions, the company fit the bill perfectly.

Allart: “The architect has a great responsibility for the responsible use of materials in a construction project. For a project, the materials come from everywhere and they ultimately come from one person: the architect. As a result, the architect has a lot of influence on which materials are used. The fact that this project had to be as circular as possible was a fantastic opportunity for us. The concept of circularity was not as well known and established as it is today. The qualifications and assessments of circularity were still in their early stages. That made the challenge bigger. But based on mutual trust, it is easy to achieve. That was the key word for me during this project: trust. This is mainly about the intrinsic motivation of everyone involved to make something beautiful out of it, with an understanding of the (circular) ambitions and respect for each other and the project. We were completely transparent with each other and divided work, looking at where everyone's strength lay. Respect for the design has always been paramount. The circular ambitions were of paramount importance to all three parties (Gasunie, Zwartwoud and vector-i).

It is a successful circular project, and that is one of the first circular interior renovations in the Netherlands. It is an honor to work on this iconic building on the Groningen skyline. Zwartwoud and Vector-i have an agreement in circular ambitions. We all enjoyed working on this project. I would do it again! '

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