Office Building Blaak - Rotterdam

Rotterdam - The Netherlands


Located along the Blaak avenue in the centre of Rotterdam, the building is essentially a large, eight storey rectangular volume, raised on the site of the former Dutch Trading Company that was seriously damaged during the Second World War.  The new building has been built in the period between 1945 and 1947 based on design by the architects C. Elffers and A.A. Nieuwehuizen.


Commissioned for the interior design by the law-office De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek we collaborated with Kraaijvanger Urbis, which was responsible for the restoration of the building delivering it in shell form.


Due to the old building's extremely deep rooms the relationship between inside and out is limited. Therefore our interior design proposed creating a new world for the 300 staff members and employees exploring also the possibilities of the impressive atrium situated inside the building. 


The interior elements of the lighting system and the reception desk in the monumental and richly decorated ground floor area have been designed as single and disconnected elements respecting the old architecture.


Along the atrium’s facades we developed a tailor-made solution for the secretaries workplaces, from the second floor up to the eighth floor. Based on the “cubicle” principal of the De Brauw’s New Yourk’s office we designed the furniture elements integrating it with the lighting and air systems. All the workplaces along these facades look up the atrium, which got a very special design for the library.


The library has been located in the atrium as a ‘Garden for Books’. The office’s book collection was huge and to avoid filling up the whole floor surface with bookcases we proposed to open niches along the façades. For these niches we designed the bookcases with integrated lighting system. In the middle of the room we felt free to introduce a new organic shaped element. This very long element is at the same time a bookcase and a luminaire for the atrium. Employees walk along this free shaped bookcase as they would walk on a garden path. 



Commissioned by:

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek