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DRU culture Factory

Client: DRU Factory | Ulft, October 2009

Assignment: restoration; design and redesign industrial monument

Winner AZ Award 2011 | peoples choice

In the Achterhoek village of Ulft, the former ironwork and metal factory DRU (anno 1902) was transformed into a modern, vibrant center with various cultural and social functions, and a tasteful grand café: the Dru Factory. M + R Interior architecture from Eindhoven designed the contemporary and inviting interior of the Dru Factory, with great respect for and well-considered references to the rich past of the DRU.


The Dru Factory is located on the Oude IJssel river, and is inextricably linked to it. DRU stands for Diepenbrock Reigers Ulft, where the Diepenbrock and Reigers families were the owners of the Ulft iron foundry, later the Dru Factory. Initially Dutch iron ore was found in the ground and later transported here, the IJssel provided the hydropower needed for the air supply of the ovens by means of bellows. DRU, however, continued to grow and was a household name in pans and gas stoves, certainly after the Second World War, although stoves, bread boxes, mailboxes, grave crosses and even telephone booths were also made. Partly due to the rise of central heating, the company ran into problems and several takeovers followed. In 1999, DRU moved to Duiven, where fireplaces and stoves are still being made. The complex in Ulft was declared by Minister Plasterk as an example project for future monument care in the Netherlands. A number of buildings with no historical value have been demolished.


The first part of the Dru factory that has been completed is the former porter's complex (from 1902), named after the porter's lodge who once in the front of the building ensured that all factory workers clocked in upon arrival. The complex was designed (like many of the DRU buildings) by architects Gerrit and Arend Beltman, who have many industrial monuments to their name. In the porter's complex there is a theater, pop hall, music school, library, gallery and a grand café, but also a conference center, tourist information office, a room for the RIJ RijnIJssel and the office of the Heemkundige Vereniging Old Sillevold.


M + R was invited in August 2008 with a number of other agencies for the presentation of an interior vision and was soon chosen for its extensive experience in the field of hospitality, theaters, libraries and offices, and restorations of monumental buildings. In the interior design, M + R kept the original structure and industrial appearance of the complex intact as much as possible. The additions and innovations are strongly inspired by the past of DRU and form a binding factor in the interior. For example, for the color schemes of furniture, doors and walls, M + R was inspired by the DRU pans, which were supplied in a wide range of colors - including light blue, mint green with a tulip (from the Holland Potery export line, which can now be found on the doors of the music school). The colorful colors of the DRU Confetti line can be found in various pieces of furniture in the Dru Factory, and those of the terracotta-colored tiles are reflected in the theater.


(text: Rutger van Oldenbeek - PI)

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