Too often, large-scale office design is a matter of replication: for the individual, a cubicle, a desk, a chair and a window with a view (if you’re lucky); and, for communal use, a small social area and meeting rooms that can be closed for privacy. The general reason for these minimal provisions is the need to make the most efficient – well, the most cost-efficient – use of space.

Asked to design a new energy-efficient office vernacular, Hofman Dujardin Architects worked closely with its clients, energy company Eneco, to create an environment that would boost employees' creativity and comfort. The project covers 14 floors and 25,000-m-sq of office space within Eneco’s new Rotterdam headquarters, designed by Dam & Partners.

A huge central atrium provides natural light, air flow and a central meeting place – a blonde-oak coffee bar – that encourages impromptu communication. A mix of informal and formal areas is a clear theme in an interior design that includes lounges, restaurants and an auditorium, as well as the more conventional workstations and meeting rooms.

Colour-coded throughout, the interior also features varying levels of transparency: two orientation devices used to indicate different areas. Selected for the ground floor were red, purple and orange rugs, along with bespoke furniture.

‘Crossing the white floor, employees are drawn to these colourful islands and 'land' on them to undertake work or to hold discussions,’ says project architect Michiel Hofman. The first floor is defined by shades of green (meeting rooms) and blue (working spaces). Two floors up, green walls differentiate texture and zoning, while plants at this level improve air quality by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen.

Replete with cutting-edge ideas, this workplace is a fusion of – in the words of the architects – ‘a five-star hotel’ and ‘a functional, dynamic office space’. A collection of electric cars housed in the basement garage prompts staff to utilize a more efficient way of travelling around town. A suite of showers inspires an eco-friendly commute to work by bicycle. Three internal staircases ascend from the ground floor, motivating staff and visitors, says Hofman, to ‘burn off a calorie or two rather than going for the lazier option of the lift’.

Photos courtesy Matthijs van Roon.

*You can see this project and others in the December/January 2013 issue of Mark. Click here to purchase.*