A grey anatomy

A grey anatomy

I29, Tribal DDB

EUROPE: Interior architects i29 has designed the offices of a digital marketing agency, Tribal DDB, both in Amsterdam, using grey felt.

The firm was not given a brief from Tribal DDB concerning colours or fabrics to be used, only that it had to create an open-plan office.

Jeroen Dellensen and Jaspar Jansen, partners, i29 interior architects said the design had to reflect an environment that was friendly and playful but also professional and serious. The new office is located in a building where some structural parts could not be changed, which was challenging.

The design team worked hard to find a solution to various problems around the structural issues. It required a material that could work as an alternative to the ceiling system, which covered structural parts like a big round staircase, and would improve acoustics.

This led the team to the use of fabrics in the design. Jansen said fabric, as a material, can work on three different levels.

“Firstly, it is playful, and can make a powerful image on a conceptual level,” he said.

Dellensen said the team also used it to cover the “scars of demolition” in an effective way, as the space was gutted, which damaged the ceiling. Apart from this, it absorbs sound and creates privacy in an open space.

“There is probably no other material which can be used on floors, ceiling and walls to create pieces of furniture and lampshades than felt. It’s also durable, acoustic, fireproof and environmentally friendly,” said Jansen. However, he said it wasn’t easy to make all the custom-designed furniture and lamps, walls and ceiling in the same material.

The fabric used is a combination of industrial felt and felted by hand (for the lamp shades). It was sourced by the firm Ecological Textiles and VanVilt, a Dutch studio which specialises in producing custom-made felt objects.

The linear design contrasts with the material’s softness. “It was this kind of duality we wanted to articulate: being nice, being friendly, even soft. But at the same time, it needed to be at the top of the game and super professional,” said Dellensen.

Having an iconic professional and outstanding workspace but with minimum cost and low carbon footprint was important, Dellensen said. In addition to the felt, other materials used included white epoxy flooring and steel.

The space is spread over 650m² and currently houses 80 members of staff. The designers said the goal was to create interiors that allow staff to interact with each other and be creative, as well as help concentration and increase productivity.

Jansen and Dellensen said Tribal DDB’s staff was happy with its new offices, especially with large open spaces where they could interact.

The Dutch interior architect firm is working on many projects right now, including several residential projects, a school, and a ‘sociale werkplaats’, a training office for disabled people.

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