by Vladimir BelogolovskyOct 13, 2023
What does one do in one's lifetime besides work, sleep, eat and repeat? We collect things. Things that we require, things that bring us joy, things of utility and things of pleasure. We buy a watch to keep track of time and lose track of it reading expensive volumes of manga; diffusers that remind us of our grandma’s vanilla scented pies or hefty hardbacks to come back to after a long, winding day at work. Maria from the much-loved 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein American musical drama The Sound of Music threads together the things that she loves and has collected in her life to remind her of goodness when she is down, referenced in My Favourite Things, the lyrics to which go – Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens; Brown paper packages tied up with strings; These are a few of my favourite things.
"To fill an office space with all our favourite things was the starting point for this design for the digital marketing agency Nubis in Amsterdam," shares Dutch design studio, The Way We Build, about My Favourite Things. The workspace is part of a collectively private commissioned apartment building at the edge of The Netherlands' capital city centre. Designed for young programmers who are being hunted by powerhouse firms like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. The interior design is thus, intentionally understated, as uncluttered spaces have been proven to increase productivity, yet revels in small pockets of joyful colour. It also successfully follows the much beloved Dutch interior design trends taking over homes, cafes and offices - sleek, minimalist, functional with dollops of fun accents and beautiful style, with warm wood as reigning materiality.
In order to spice up the nerdy college-like life of the inhabitants, the entrance lobby has been dressed in an eye-catching, colourful, and upcycled terrazzo floor. “We love thinking about ways to re-think the way we build in our projects, it is one of our favourite things,” say architects Farah Agarwal and Arjen Aarnoudse, founders, The Way We Build. The architectural office makes conscious choices with their clients to create sustainable and high-end projects. “Within the assignment we explore and reconsider the way we build and how we should treat our built surroundings in the most sustainable manner. In this way we achieve high-end projects with a responsible and positive impact on our environment,” they continue.
Along with a terrazzo craftsman, The Way We Build developed their own terrazzo floor made from a mixture of recycled waste marble and natural stone types like onyx, marble, limestone, granite, quartz and a base of white creamy marble in white cement. These leftover pieces were collected from waste bins at suppliers and recycling companies and carefully chosen according to colour, saturation and quantities. The office design also features a sustainable installation that combines the cooling, heating and ventilation system, powered by two air-to-water heat pumps in the parking garage.
“Another important thing about this project is the way we created a social, inspiring, and home-like office environment on a prime location in Amsterdam. The entrance lobby has a fully equipped kitchen and coffee bar with different areas for great lunches, the best coffees and Friday afternoon cocktail time. The mix of open and closed workplaces and private meeting rooms offers flexibility to all users. Whether they are planning a one-on-one talk, mind-mapping session or concentration hour, they will find the right comfortable and equipped workplace or meeting room to keep them creative and focused,” share the Dutch architects and designers.
The materialisation and approach to the open workstations and areas were kept simple, calm and almost soothing, as can be experienced while walking around a mirror-clad meeting room, as well as the inclusion of pastel green window frames, wooden walls of multilayer bio-based solid timber panels, framed timber false ceilings, and a friendly explosion of potted, indoor plants. These are further augmented with simple, curated furniture, most of which came from online auctions or were refurbished and collected from thrift stores, to emerge as a refreshing, bright work environment. “This freshness and the honest materials are also among our favourite things,” they add cheerfully.