Humanise the public areas of a laboratory and office complex. That was the goal in the circulation spaces of this rationalist building in Wageningen. MüllerVanTol introduced colours, forms and materials that contrast with the architecture, marrying the professional character of the research institute with the personal comfort of employees.
Humanising the public areas of a laboratory and office building formed the goal of this project. Designed by Claus & Kaan Architects, the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is an energy-efficient essay in rational architecture built of concrete, glass and wood.
To soften the social spaces, Bas van Tol introduced colours, forms and materials with a warmth that is inviting to the touch and contrasts with the cold architecture. Bas van Tol also designed a family of objects and arranged them informally in the entrance foyer and circulation lobbies.
Modular sofa elements wrapped in various shades of green felt are complemented by ornamental plaited chords suggestive of passementerie in similar shades of green that drop from a discreet steel bar attached to the roof beams overhead. Details are kept to a minimum, and construction is concealed.
Completing the collection of additions are high tables and stools. The latter are three-legged structures assembled from the same untreated cooked pine elements used by the architects as an acoustic finish on the walls of the voids.
Bas van Tol applied felt, pine and chord to introduce a tactility and sense of craftsmanship that balances the surrounding rational architecture, producing a composition that marries the professional character of a scientific research institute with the personal comfort of its employees.
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