NHMedia are the media company of North Holland. Having outgrown their shared office space, they decided to move from Amsterdam to Hilversum. Hollandse Nieuwe were tasked with developing a new, inspiring workspace in the M-Media Building in Hilversum.
However, NHMedia’s move was not simply about expansion. The brief also outlined a number of organizational challenges that the new workplace should resolve. The new office was to show clearly the deep bond between NHMedia and the 10 regions and 47 municipalities that they represent. Beyond this, the office was to be a home where colleagues from each region can connect to the brand and to each other. The workplace was to also actively support new ways of working, creating a seamless and logical space for all employees and visitors. And all of this, in a space where news, radio and local information would have a visible and tangible presence.
The Media Flow
The new building had huge potential as a space, as well as a potential issue of becoming two separated offices instead of a unified whole. After careful analysis using NHMedia’s new spatial, cultural and social requirements to guide the process, the concept of the ‘Media Flow’ began to unfold as a simple way of resolving many of these challenges and issues with a single flexible element.
The Media Flow is a physical line that organizes the workplace and connects each facet of NH Media. The line takes the form of a semi-transparent wall that can change from displaying live news and signage, to being a showcase of local treasures or a doorway to different workplace typologies.
Travel through the Flow
The spatial quality of the Media flow allows it to switch between open and closed spaces. This means that certain spaces are ‘in’ the flow and others outside of it. The main entrance to the office, via lift or stairs, places you straight away at the heart of NHMedia, between the two office wings. Here the Media Flow is solid and functions as a Wunderkammer, showing local treasures, keep-sakes and objects from each of the 47 municipalities. Moving into the wings, the line becomes more transparent, showing spaces inside, such as a workspace of an editor or designer. The open spaces use the Flow as a backdrop or dividing screen, while still showing glimpses of news, live recordings and office activity.
Sustainability and materials
And while the concept of the Flow is a new way to define and arrange an office, the foundation of the Media line, as well as all the furniture and finishes are deeply considered from the perspective of sustainability, circularity and re-use. The media flow itself is comprised of a double layer of ECO mesh, a 100% polyester fabric that is completely free of PVC. The ink used to create the striking deep blue colouring of the fabric is NFPA-701 and B1/M1 certified. Nearly all the furniture for the new space was harvested from the old office environment. For example, all the office chairs were re-upholstered, the canteen chairs were re-used, and the canteen table tops were sanded while the table bases were sustainably re-coloured to fit within the new workspace. The new materials are also from a circular source, with paper being used as a spray for the acoustic ceiling and recycled PET-felt shapes added to the walls in closed spaces to improve acoustics. For the floors, 100% recyclable and Phthalate-free products were used that are part of a recycling and take-back programme.
The design of this dynamic element that brings everything together encourages users to continuously travel through the Flow. From brainstorming to creating, from meetings to focused work, engaging with the Flow in different ways echoes the dynamic nature of NHMedia and the vibrant and varied work that they do.
This project was partly realized by many participating design partners and parties, with whom which we have greatly enjoyed working together with. Our thanks goes out to: