Rotterdam, Netherlands – Studio Tomorrow and architect Jochem Groenland transform a listed monument building dating to 1890 by bringing new purpose to the former private residence and bank. In a city known for its unequivocal embrace of contemporary architecture, the historic renovation serves as a reflection of the larger urban context; it encourages dialogue between the past and present through modern installations that respect their traditional surroundings.
Now housing the offices of financial technology company Bridgevest, the bright interior retains its historic character with ornate moulded ceilings, a gently rounded staircase, and the original safe in the cellar. Additions to the design are clearly distinguished through a distinctly modern visual language of clean lines, geometric forms, and matte textures in the pendant lights and furniture. Hanging in the meeting room lined with wainscoting is a large light fixture that resembles a geometric sketch of a traditional chandelier, offering an ephemeral reference to the lighting element that once hung in its place.
To achieve the acoustic dampening required of a workplace, Studio Tomorrow designed a custom wall textile spanning 100 sq-m. The dynamic pattern refers to Bridgevest itself, and uses layers of black-and-white wool thread to create depth, texture and depict abstract patterns. Repeating forms enlarge and contract as one traverses the length of the room, bringing a sense of movement to a building preserved through time.
The adaptive reuse project endows the monumental building with a new life, allowing the past and present to coexist without mixing. Architecture is not a museum – unless intended for that purpose – it needs life and function. Notable for a tech company, the Bridgevest workspace stands out from the city’s clean, contemporary skyline in a building where historic character is retained, and strategic details ensure the overall aesthetic is cohesive yet modern.