Lead ArchitectsBart Van Leeuw & Kevin Van Steenbergen
Text description provided by the architects. Creative agency BBDO occupies a large, protected building in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Brussels). The first renovation of the warehouses in the back of the building, into an office space succeeded in 1999. As a result of a number of internal reorganisations of the company, BBDO commissioned ZAmpone to develop a new spatial concept for their office in Brussels.
Depending on the current economic reality, efficient use of space, and therefore a higher capacity, is an important condition of the assignment. ZAmpone commemorates the 'open space' according to three principles: dynamics, acoustics and daylight.
In the 'new way of working' it is not space but the human being who moves and adapts to the situation: a dynamic user in a static building. ZAmpone does not only create space that makes its possible but also proposes a financial construction to finance the new project: BBDO empties the superfluous square meters, and spaces such as reception and cafeteria are used in common. That is also dynamics.
Delineating and defining noisy zones is a second important principle within the design. In the 'open workspace' the sound is kept under control by only allowing meetings in the provided cells. Meet and chat takes place in the restaurant, on the tribune and around the circulation tubes.
Daylight is a third important factor. It is known that employees operate better in spaces with natural light and a great view on a beautiful (urban) landscape. New workspaces are being organized close to the windows and around the central vide. Meeting rooms are not provided with daylight to limit the occupation time. The long-term 'nesting' is thereby avoided.
A basic intervention is necessary to optimize the design: the main entrance is moved to the side of the building, wich is connected to the parking. The enormous hall in the middle of the building becomes therefore more than just a circulation space. The three-level high hall, gives you an insight into the creative ‘heart’ of the company.
The orthogonality of the building is broken with diagonal inteventions. Triangular zones create new, more interesting views. The diagonal idea also manifests itself in the great tribunes where the CEO’s hold an informal meeting, inspiring discussions, presentations and lectures, or where a library animates the reception area.
The ground floor accomodates collective functions which are shared with other companies in the building. The restaurant, the tribune and the meeting rooms are used collectively.
On the first floor, around the vide and the centre of the building, the creative ‘heart’ of BBDO is located behind an indoor window and visible from every floor. The visitor is fully drawn into the internal workings of the office. The other services on this floor were carefully organized, interactions develop automatically.
The most dynamic team of BBDO is housed on the second floor. These users travel throughout the day between different services and teams, so maximum occupation never occurs here.
Electrical outlets and data points are always a challenge for a flexible office concept. ZAmpone designed mobile tubular steel elements between the desks that lead cables to the right place. They are also carriers for all kinds of wall-separating and acoustic materials. The only condition is that the materials may not stop the light penetrating the space.
The steel elements also define zones simply as lines. A hanging plant, a coat rack, a light: personalization and flexibility do not exclude each other. The design succeeded in very close dialogue with the client. Creativity and participation go hand in hand.