client: Province of Zeeland, Province House the Abbey | Middelburg, December 2018
assignment: renovation and design of the meeting room, meeting center + inner garden
The Abbey has been an important meeting place for Zeeland for centuries. The complex is recognizable from a great distance with Lange Jan. The 'House of the Province' brings Zeeland and its surroundings together. Every two years, the Abbey brings the world together during the presentation of the Four Freedom Awards. With its rich history and deeply rooted traditions, the interior of the Abbey also goes with the times. Since 2013, the official organization of the Province of Zeeland has been completely housed there. Commissioned by the provincial government, the organization works there with visible results and in mutual cohesion and cooperation for Zeeland. With its meeting function, the Abbey makes that work possible. It brings people together, contemporary, in various forms, in the style of Zeeland, land in the sea. Together we are working on the results for Zeeland! (source: Province of Zeeland, Abbey meeting guide, 25 February 2015)
The design of the meeting space as an introduction to the implementation of the new way of working for the Province of Zeeland by M + R interior architecture
In the Province House in Middelburg, dating from the twelfth century, M + R designed a meeting space with an adjoining inner garden. The meeting room is a stopping place centrally located in the Abbey where the employees of the Province of Zeeland can meet. Large openings have been made by M + R within the monumental structure of the building so that the meeting space is open and easily accessible.
The openings are conceived from a line of connections inspired by the urban renewal plans of Paris by Georges-Eugène Haussmann for the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and as a metaphor a pole with its drying cracks: a center with connecting lines. The connecting lines have defined the spaces and their use, the islands created within the lines are designed as different meeting or consultation places. The color scheme of the space is related to the color pallet of the Province of Zeeland, as well as the use of materials in which folklore has been translated into contemporary use, innovative and sustainable. The lines continue into the inner garden where wooden ramps (piers) are situated, these create a natural relationship to the entrance and surrounding functions. The next step is to create the mirrored folly in the inner garden, as an extension of the capacity of the meeting and meeting rooms and the renovation of the entrance.
An innovative working environment has since been developed for the G building, the Librije. Within the monumental structure of the building and with respect for the monument, M + R has designed a flexible working environment for the Province of Zeeland. Prior to the final design, inspiration sessions with employees contributed to the creation of the working environment. The design reflects the DNA of the Province of Zeeland and biobased natural products and materials were chosen for the installation package. Natural stone, glass and wood - products that can be found in the nearby area.