Cool offices: Sterk Werk office in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Little remains of the physical history at the location of the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd shipping company’s former headquarters. However, the structure itself is still going strong; built in 1907, it’s role now is to house the Dutch communications office Sterk Werk — strong work. The company’s move warranted the need to improve the historical interior, a task which was undertaken by local Schilder Scholte Architects.
The space was created with an industrial, well-organized layout that possesses a stylish, hip feel and undercurrent of familiarity and homey-ness. The interior is dominated by a large, central expanse where all workstations are located. Placed adjacent to the area are a variety of rooms including a conference and meeting facilities, secretarial offices, cafeteria and kitchen, and lounge.
To separate the large work zone from others, Schilder Scholte created a 32 meter long, 3.2 meter high freestanding division wall. The piece is made of several hundred white and orange IKEA ‘Lack’ tables.
Inside the wall itself, are an additional five cubicles and passages to the rest of the office. Aside from its functional purpose, the element also strengthens the relationship between to the structures port city roots.
The wall as a whole shows an abstracted view of the Rotterdam skyline along the river Meuse, which is reflected in the carpeted floor. The coupling of fundamental elements and historically rich design evoke an industrial feeling worthy of Rotterdam, but at the same time exudes a certain warmth necessary of the contemporary office.