Staalbeton is a major supplier to the construction industry in Belgium and surrounding countries. They had outgrown their former offices in Rijkevorsel. Schellen Architecten designed a ‘portal building’ for office workers between the two production facilities. As was the case for previous projects, Ahrend was asked to furnish the work environment. ‘Ahrend sets itself apart by listening properly to the client’s needs.’
An exceptional assignment. That’s how architect Reginald Schellen describes the new Staalbeton building project. ‘The 27,000-m2 production facilities are on an industrial site where every square metre is in full use. The task of building a 1,000-m2 future-proof office building on this intensively-used site demanded a creative plan!’ To save space, the architect came up with a floating portal building between two production plants. This meant that the daily freight traffic would still be able to access and depart the site easily and unimpeded.
Calm and space
An important factor in the design of the offices was to create a warm and pleasant work environment among the rugged, industrial surroundings. By situating the workstations and meeting spaces around a green patio with an impressive tree, light and nature are drawn inside, and employees stay in touch with the natural world. Schellen: ‘The open, high offices also provide a sense of space. The completely new work environment exudes calm, offering a pleasant counterbalance to the hectic activity of the surrounding manufacturing zone.’
‘Visiting the showroom allows you to see and experience how Ahrend furniture looks, feels, and functions.’
Calm also prevails with regard to the layout: every employee has their own permanent workstation. Eli Ducès, account manager at Ahrend: ‘That’s nice, because everyone has different tasks. This has led to adjustments to the work surfaces: big drawings require pretty large surfaces.’
The common factor among the various workstations is that they are functional. Furthermore, they match the parent company’s Ahrend furniture: single and duo Ahrend Balance desks with Ahrend 2020 chairs. The conference spaces contain Gispen Team tables and conference chairs from the Ahrend Well Collection.
Staalbeton also took responsibility regarding the sustainability of the construction. This Nearly Zero Energy building stores heat and cold in the ground. In this way, the offices can be heated during the winter and cooled during the summer with respect for the planet. For Staalbeton, sustainability was also a reason to choose new, circular furniture. Schellen: ‘It was great that Ahrend spontaneously mentioned reuse and reupholstering during the intake, but new furniture was really necessary in this case. Fortunately, Ahrend offers circular office furnishing: the design of this new furniture takes into account the possibilities for revitalisation and redeployment after use.’
Staalbeton on Ahrend
‘Ahrend has been like part of the family for over ten years. We really enjoy using these workstations at our parent company and at Staalbeton. I even have Ahrend furniture at home. Apart from the fact that the products perform well ergonomically, Ahrend are great to work with. Visiting the showroom allows you to see and experience how Ahrend furniture looks, feels, and functions. It all went so smoothly; in the space of an afternoon, we worked everything out with the interior architect.’
Marc De Beuckeleer, managing director, Staalbeton
Schellen Architecten on Ahrend
‘Ahrend sets itself apart by listening properly to the client’s needs. A visit to the showroom helps to ensure a good intake. Clients and users can see and experience the furniture there. It’s enormously helpful to us and to the client that Ahrend uses a 3D visualisation that includes everything, plus alternatives. This aids the selection process. Ahrend also stays in the picture in terms of delivery and service. It’s great that they deliver, install and, if necessary, repair the furniture.’
Reginald Schellen, architect and founder of Schellen Architecten
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