We’ve long admired the work of Dutch firm i29 Interior Architects for its minimalist and strikingly contradictory work.
That’s no joke: We wrote about a mall dining hall in the Netherlands that i29 accentuated with hexagonal tiles, a living wall and punchy, high-top communal seating. The studio also transformed the Combiwerk’s employee training centre, that aims to help workers with disabilities, turning it into a vibrant, colour-coded space. They have also been recognized with more than one AZ Awards prize in recent years.
Founded by Jaspar Jansen and Jeroen Dellensen, the guiding ideology behind their work is simplicity and contradiction. That is evident in their latest project, the lobby of Bureau Krediet Registratie (BKR), the Dutch national credit registration centre.
Credit bureaus demand a certain solemnity – it’s where loans, mortgages and financial matters are discussed, after all. In a statement about the interior, the studio says it had professionalism in mind when it created a vibrant space for meetings, dividing the space into areas for open collaboration and private booths with careful attention paid to acoustics. Wood and fabric, used to line the booths, and carpets function as sound absorbers.
i29 used Ege carpets, upholstered surfaces in meeting booths and finished the ceiling with acoustic plasterworks to achieve the acoustics they needed. “The large amount of sound absorbing surfaces worked very well,” the firm said.
The interior is furnished with custom-designed seating that is colour-matched to carpets and Gielissen-made cabinets finished in a deep blue in some areas and powder blue in others. Black Aim pendants by Flos contrast the blond wood used on the tabletops, wall dividers and the countertops found in the restaurant.
The chairs come from a number of different manufacturers. Lounge chairs were Vitra’s Jean Prouvre, Fauteuil Direction and Fauteuil de Salon offerings; the dining chairs are Muuto’s Fiber chair upholstered in different colours with Kvadrat’s Remix; and the stools were made by Bourroullec Brothers.
As polished and timeless as the interior feels, it still incorporates a sense of daring, which is i29’s signature. The graphical use of bold colours for instance – note the occasional hit of red – is a clever reference to traditional Dutch modernism, and the use of straight lines and blocks of colour would make Piet Mondrian (or any De Stijl obsessives) proud.