Client: Rituals Cosmetic Enterprise | Amsterdam, December 2012
Assignment: Concept and design innovative working environment + look & feel for Rituals head office
Mid June 2012 we were approached by Rituals, Mr. Raymond Cloosterman. Rituals was exploring new housing in Amsterdam and the surrounding area. To choose the location and building, they were looking for a building that could house the Rituals headquarters and match the DNA of the organization. They were looking for an architect who could assist Rituals in conceiving and designing an innovative working environment based on time and place working independently. During our first introductory meeting, there was an immediate good click. Raymond Cloosterman was very charmed by our project at Schiphol, the Privium ClubLounge. This space exudes tranquility, is in balance and the material composition appealed to Rituals.
The Privium ClubLounge is an organically formed space with natural materials and light colors, where the environment is fully tailored to the needs of the 'frequent flyer'. The traveler is central in the lounge: is 'on stage' where all facilities are carefully created in the room, with different functions, but always working as a safe cocoon with a view of the surroundings - 'connecting'.
For the design of the lounge we applied the Eastern philosophy of Feng Sui: how the environment can influence the happiness of the visitor. This philosophy is entirely in line with Rituals, not surprising that Privium has become the leitmotif for the new housing of Rituals. Together with Raymond we visited three locations, two modern office buildings and the canal houses on the Keizersgracht. The last location has been preferred to the new office buildings. These canal houses have appropriate authenticity and are better aligned with the DNA of Rituals.
The choice was made. The building on the Keizersgracht is a combination of 3 connected buildings where, behind the monumental exterior facades, a modern office space has been realized by the owner. The original level differences have been maintained, but the layout is entirely in line with the 'current' building standards. White climate ceilings with energy-efficient fluorescent lighting, stairwells and lifts; in short, a modern office.
The challenge for us was to create a Rituals environment based on the New Way of Working in the modern environment. In order to accommodate the entire program, Rituals has rented two floors in the 5-storey canal house, a total of approximately 1,500 m2. Based on the number of employees and capacity utilization measurements, we have created a layout concept with different workplace shapes. In close consultation with Rituals, we have come to the ideal layout and types of workplaces. Among other things, we have designed long work tables, with movable wooden frames so that the employee can adjust his or her workplace to his own wishes. The wooden frames are also equipped with sound-absorbing cushions. A large part of the workplaces have become sit-stand workplaces, which contribute to a more active posture. Because there is a lot of telephoning within Rituals, telephone booths have been provided in various places, so that employees can work optimally undisturbed. For a better interaction between the two floors we have designed an open organic staircase, directly accessible behind the reception / reception. Walk-in closets are situated on the closed side façades, which have a printed stretched fabric with acoustic filling on the front. These walk-in closets ensure maximum storage capacity of samples and materials, easily accessible and without annoying visibility.
Use of color and material
The color and material pallet of the Privium Club Lounge has served as inspiration; natural sustainable materials and light natural tones; wood, glass and natural stone. The wooden floor is an oak strip parquet composed of sustainable residual material, finished with a white glaze. The permanent establishment is made from sustainable FSC wood. Bamboo trunks are included in the interior as room divisions. Color accents have been obtained by colored re-used carpets, furniture, plants and Oriental images based on our 'mood boards' carefully selected by the design department of Rituals
We have also approached this project from an architectural perspective. We have analyzed the functions and the use of the building and investigated how you can best organize this building and its functions within the given space. We have worked from a total concept for the entire project. All elements of interior and exterior form a whole, with every detail aligned with the desired result: Rituals.
Light and rhythm
To bring order to all parts of a room, light and rhythm are our most important tools. Natural daylight is essential for the perception of the interior spaces and must be able to do its work unobstructed as much as possible, supplemented with artificial light where necessary. Light gives depth and contrast to a space. It emphasizes the forms and rhythm of architectural elements. Light combined with rhythm makes a space come alive.
The human dimension
How does a person (visitor, employee, resident) experience the space, do they feel safe and at ease? The exterior is the shell that preserves the interior space, the usage space. The use is the main purpose of the space. That is why the interior is so important: the human scale is created here. Our work ultimately revolves around creating a 'second skin' in buildings, the environment with which people come into direct contact, which people experience the most. Spaces must feel pleasant and safe. To achieve that, we have ensured that the space speaks for itself completely. Already upon entering a clear Rituals atmosphere is recognizable and one can immediately orientate well. For that, everything had to be right: lighting, acoustics, climate control, routing, material. Well-chosen shapes, colors and materials also ensure that an environment has a positive effect on people.
In our view, the most obvious interpretation of sustainability is: setting up projects where the client will also benefit in the long term. Material, finishing and detailing are very important for this. We have also pursued sustainability in ecological terms. This means that we use as many materials as possible that do not place a heavy burden on the environment and natural resources. Sustainability and innovation are an excellent combination and have worked out well at Rituals. What could be more sustainable, you would say, than the redesignation of an existing building?
The Rituals organization is under development. The organization is growing and adapting, so a flexible working environment had to be created. Flexibility stands for the ability to adapt effortlessly when the situation demands it. The Rituals employee can work anytime and anywhere, assisted by the continuous development of communication tools. The result is there, the Rituals employees receive positive reactions, people are enthusiastic about the new accommodation, the building and the use. And that's what we do it for!