Want to take a digital tour of the future LAB42 interior? You'll have the opportunity to do just that during the Definitive Design presentation on 12 November. Project leader Heleen Verlinde of the Faculty of Science offers a sneak preview of the event.
‘The overarching theme will be tech & nature. Tech represents our degree programmes and institutions, and we opted for nature because greenery is a universal need and contributes to a healthy and pleasant work environment.'
'We know there will be plenty of greenery in the lounge and common rooms in order to create a perfect meeting place and separate the various study places. We're even assessing whether we can plant an actual tree or install a green wall in the central hall, along with a large video wall. That would obviously be a great combination between tech and nature. The tech aspect is also reflected in the acoustic ceiling systems - made from entirely recyclable material - in the hall and lounge area. You can hang panels from these special ceiling systems to hold presentations or share research results. The hallways will also be fitted with felt panels made from plastic bottles. In addition to improving the room acoustics, these circular walls can also be used to attach presentation materials', Verlinde explains.
Each room was assessed in consultation with the relevant user groups to determine the necessary features. 'For example, the VIA study association wanted a large couch, a big table and large refrigerators. The designers suggested a couch covered in fabric, but VIA preferred a material that would be easier to clean. That sort of practical input was extremely useful', Verlinde says. 'The University Library, which is responsible for the quality of study places, surveyed students to get their input on the definitive design. As the almost 100 responses showed, students have clear preferences when it comes to furniture. Respondents asked for better backrests on a specific type of barstool, which we'll now be replacing with a more comfortable model.
Interior designers Groen+Schild organised various workshops in preparation for the definitive design. 'The meetings were enthusiastically attended and yielded a lot of valuable information. Just under a hundred staff and students helped us determine what sort of atmosphere the new building should have.
Verlinde found the collaboration with the various UvA user groups and architects inspiring. 'Students and staff were relatively unanimous in terms of their interior preferences: lots of greenery, natural materials, subtle colours and lots of light. Other than that, there's a real focus on functionality. I'm confident that all this input will eventually lead to a pleasant working and studying environment.'