Jaspar Jansen, Jeroen Dellensen & Miklos Kroeze / i29 interior architects
Tribal DDB Amsterdam
The strong aesthetic claim in this project superimposed its function, however it added to this office a unique identity. The monochrome of the materials, the rational cleanliness of the spaces (on the material as well as the furniture), the asepticness of the work environment can be broken with the individualization of each user, even with the constant use of two colors –white and gray – and basically three materials, will give the sensation of endurance and continuity in a project which will probably age with dignity, without needing to renovate or adapt, or even without permitting these to happen.
Tribal DDB is a digital agency and part of DDB international. Worldwide one of the largest advertising offices. Our goal was to create an environment where creative interaction is supported and achieve as much workplaces as possible in a structure with flexible desks and a large open space. All of this while maintaining a work environment that stimulates long office hours and concentrated work. As Tribal DDB is part of DDB worldwide a clear identity was required, which also fits the parent company. The design had to reflect an identity that is friendly and playful but also professional and serious.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Situated in a building where some structural parts could not be changed it was a challenge to integrate these elements in the design and become an addition to the whole. i29 searched for solutions to various problems which could be addressed by one grand gesture. At first a material which could be an alternative to the ceiling system, but also to cover and integrate structural parts like a big round staircase. Besides that, acoustics became a very important item, as the open spaces for stimulating creative interaction and optimal usage of space was required.
This led us to the use of fabrics. It is playful, and can make a powerful image on a conceptual level, it is perfect for absorbing sound and therefore it creates privacy in open spaces. And we could use it to cover scars of demolition in an effective way. There is probably no other material which can be used on floors, ceiling, walls and to create pieces of furniture and lampshades then felt. Which doesn’t mean it was easy to make all of these items in one material! Furthermore it is durable, acoustic, fireproof and environment friendly.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We always look for choices that answer to multiple questions at the same time. They tell a conceptual story about the company, the space and the users of the space. They deal with specific practical and functional issues and they have to have some autonomous quality as well. These ‘levels’ are intertwined; one leads you to the other. If you see how smart it serves it purpose practically it leads you to the company. If you see the powerful image that is non-depended, it leads you to the functionality, and round it goes.
At i29 we believe that simplicity builds character. Compare it to a human being; strong individuals always have one or few characteristics that stand out. We all know how hard it is to stay focused on the one thing that is most important to you. The same way it is with a design. The result of being very selective is that you have to push the one choice to the limit. It also provides a field of tension, and gives energy to a space without fail into chaos. But more importantly it leaves you with a charismatic environment.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The whole interior is one big prototype. The use of felt has a long history in the Netherlands. To apply this old fashioned material in a totally new and different way, was a big challenge. Walls, ceilings, lamps and desks are covered in felt. After testing, we decided to use industrial felt for large flat surfaces and handmade felt for complex lamp shades. By the use of so much fabrics, the acoustics became very good in all spaces.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
We try to couple lucid ideas with uncompromising execution and unite artistry with functionality, often with no appreciable budget. We strive for creativity not only in esthetics but also in the choice and way we handle materials. This means the the re-use of elements from the perspective of sustainability but also from the perspective of craftsmanship.
This project has – in our vision- succeeded in this way of thinking and stands out in the world of corporate office interiors.