One simple but eloquent gesture often says more than a dozen flashy attempts
to attract attention. A good example is new office space for the firm of
Thust & Graff Elektrotechniek, located in the Dutch town of
's-Hertogenbosch. In relocating to an old metalwork factory badly in need of
refurbishment, the company opted to combine two departments into a single
unit that would accommodate all 15 of its employees. Part of the plan was to
make this merger clearly visible to outsiders. The commission to renovate
the 9-by-25-metre space went to Eric Sloot and Paulien Berendsen, who call
their practice Studio Parade. They filled the space with light by completely
glazing both front and rear walls, by cleaning existing elongated skylights
and by using a light shade of paint for interior walls and ceiling. Having
refurbished the premises, Sloot and Berendsen installed a 6.5-by-22-metre
bamboo unit: an ingenious 'stage' that incorporates all workstations, a
conference table and storage space. With this clever strategy, they killed
two birds with one stone. The concrete floor, a victim of subsidence,
escaped the time and money needed for a complete restoration, and - equally
important - the Thust & Graff office is now a single unit.
Photography by Joep Jacobs
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