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In the Achterhoek village of Ulft, the former iron foundry and metal factory DRU (built in 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-thought-out references to the rich past of the DRU.

Restoration; design and redesign of industrial monument






DRU Cultural Factory


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 here and later transported here, the IJssel provided the water power necessary for the air supply of the furnaces by means of bellows.” However, Dutch iron resources were running out and more modern blast furnaces provided stiff competition. However, DRU continued to grow and, especially after the Second World War, was a household name in pans and gas stoves, although stoves, bread bins, letterboxes, grave crosses and even telephone booths are 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 made. The complex in Ulft was declared an example project for future monument care in the Netherlands by Minister Plasterk. A number of buildings without historical value have been demolished.

The first part of the Dru Factory to be completed is the former porter's complex (from 1902), named after the porter's box who once at the front of the building ensured that all factory workers clocked in when they entered. The complex was designed (like many of the DRU buildings) by architects Gerrit and Arend Beltman, who have many industrial monuments to their name. The porter's complex contains a theater, pop hall, music school, library, gallery and a grand café, but also a conference center, tourist office, a room for the ROC RijnIJssel and the office of the Old Sillevold Historical Society.

M+R was invited in August 2008, together with a number of other agencies, to present an interior vision and was quickly chosen because of its extensive experience in the field of catering, 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 DRU's past and form a unifying factor in the interior. For example, M+R was inspired by the DRU pans for the color schemes of furniture, doors and walls, which were supplied in a wide color palette - including light blue, mint green with a tulip (from the Holland Potery export line, now available on the doors of the music school). The bright colors of the DRU Confetti line can be found in various furniture in the Dru Factory, and those of the terracotta-colored pans are reflected in the theater.

(text: Rutger van Oldenbeek - PI)


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