Reinventing a Rotterdam Icon

We have long admired Wim Quist’s iconic Willemswerf office building, so we were delighted to be asked to renovate its basement and ground floor. Our ‘hotel makeover’ adds contemporary informality and luxury to the 1980s classic, giving it a fresh lease of life in an age of more flexible working styles.

Time span2012 - 2020
Size3 560 m²
LocationRotterdam, NL
TypeInteriors, Offices
ASR Vastgoed Vermogensbeheer
Partner in charge
Nanne de Ru
Partner in charge
Project lead
Project team
Donna van Milligen Bielke
Paul Valeanu
Structural engineer
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Dive into the details
Retaining the Essence

We no longer work the way we did 30 years ago. Our sociable lobby design helps people to feel ‘at home’ in the office.

We go for geometry

We go for geometry

We decided that the best way to restore the glory of Willemswerf – now somewhat dimmed by many years as a multi-occupant office building – was to retain and enhance the existing geometric grid. We therefore opened up the lobby to allow the spatial quality to sing out once more, restoring the extensive sightlines and replacing a boxed-in stairwell with a signature sweeping staircase. We also swapped utilitarian materials like ceramic tiles for warm, luxurious wood and marble, helping to create a welcoming ambience. The lobby is transformed into a place for informal meetings and entertaining guests.

Restoring spatial quality

We enlivened the lobby
De-corporatized the canteen
And beautified the bathrooms
01 - 03
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Dive into the details
Stairways to Heaven

Hospitable at heart

The hotel experience

The hotel experience

We modeled our new lobby concept on a high-end hotel, so naturally we included a coffee bar and a restaurant, both named after Wim Quist on our recommendation. The coffee bar acts as a sort of welcome gesture to people entering the building from either of its entrances. As a self-sufficient volume, it also adds variation to the geometric grid, as a contrasting object in the continuous space – an effect heightened by the materials and color palette.

We set out to enhance the mastery of materials, great spatial quality and precise detailing.

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