Location: Den Haag, Netherlands
Project Year: 2017
Photo: Tycho Merijn
Dutch design agency VanBerlo has set up their second office in the former Ypenburg air base, The Hague. This building with a rich history underwent a massive renovation, and VanBerlo set out to find the perfect way to mix the building’s historic style with an iconic and contemporary interior. The result is a stylish and minimalistic atmosphere, surrounded by honest materials such as concrete, plywood and felt.
The building was designed by famous Dutch architects Jan Brinkman and Leendert van der Vlugt. Built in the 1930s, Ypenburg airport was clearly ahead of its time. A minimalistic example of Modern Architecture, a style that zeroed in on light, air and space.
The process in renovating the airport was quite a journey.
We wanted to make the office ours without overlooking the rich history of the building itself.
— said CEO Thomas Paulen of VanBerlo.
We paid homage to it, for example, by naming our cafe after Operation Manna, a famine relief military operation staged to airdrop food over The Hague during World War II.
The Diepen meeting room is named after Frits Diepen, a Dutch pioneer in aviation and industry. After World War II, Diepen founded the company Frits Diepen Aircraft NV (FDV.NV), located at Ypenburg air field.
VanBerlo wanted to create an enjoyable, comfortable work experience for their employees. A place where collaboration would flow easily into innovation. To achieve this, a series of brainstorms were organised to get everybody’s ideas onto paper, which resulted in amazing features. This included an updated Experience Lab, to prototype creative ideas and bring them alive, and a wall of Magic Glass.
The meeting room is an area for staff and visitors alike to come together, a place to collaborate, innovate and socialise. The glass wall of the meeting room has been made interactive with an app and motion detection, so when privacy is needed, the innovative Magic Glass windows can turn opaque individually at the touch of a button. With motion control, the glass and the projected content respond to people walking by.
Open spaces connect people while they work. Multidisciplinary teams sit together in open workspaces, and can go through every step of a project together. Different perspectives come together to inspire user-centric solutions.
Tributes where paid to the aviation theme. For example, using second-hand food trolleys from KLM, one of VanBerlo’s clients to store and transport brainstorm tools and material samples.
We spoke with our staff to learn what types of spaces would enhance their comfort and further spark their collaboration. Not only on the work floor, but also in the lounge, kitchen and lunch areas.
We wanted a workplace that would inspire us to look at things from a different angle, whether looking through the glass into the other room or chatting about our latest idea with a colleague sitting right next to us.
Mission accomplished! Ypenburg is the new home of VanBerlo The Hague. A place where ideas and innovations take flight.