nwow at RVA/ONEM
From then to N(w)OW
The refurbishment of the Central Administration Building of the RVA/ONEM is the first public competition that ncbham won in Brussels. With it a major change to the workplace experience to transform and breathe new life into the existing building, situated in the heart of Brussels, on Boulevard de l’Empereur 7.
Our team developed a workplace and design strategy that captured the attention of the jury and eventually brought us the mission. A substantial refurbishment of 4 office floors and a partial ground floor renovation involving also the restaurant for the employees, meeting rooms and learning centers. The total surface of the intervention raises to approximatively 8.200 sqm.
The transition from traditional enclosed spaces to activity based areas inducing better individual and team work, is a challenge that we, as interior designers and architects foresee with great enthusiasm. The perception and integration of our design by the end users is, on the other hand, an issue that becomes our main preoccupation.
Anticipating the significant impact that this change would produce, we focus on guaranteeing a smooth transition for those involved. As such, a big effort is put in calibrating and fine-tuning the functionality and disposition of the dedicated spaces in close collaboration with the team in charge from ONEM, to make sure that all specific needs and particularities of the program are integrated.
The result is a new layout plan gathering collective activities such as meetings and informal gatherings, welcoming areas and coffee corners in close connection with the main access and vertical circulation of the building.
Dedicated areas for concentration and small team meetings punctuate the open space areas, creating buffers between the different teams. Silence areas are placed in parts of the building with less traffic, to ensure an efficient working environment.
Concentration spaces for 2/3 pers, commonly known as ‘bubbles’, are also activated on the exterior, providing extra functions such as an alcove for 2 people informal meetings or an extra isolated working space facing the window. All these functions support the informal collisions happening so often throughout the day.
The translation in form and material follows the same idea – do more with less; and so a simple, classic and very efficient system was found.
A preference for light, clean lines combined with splashes of color that personalize each floor, create a good balance that replies to the main demand of the client: nothing superfluous, classic design that can stand the time.
Our biggest reward is the appropriation by the users, the rediscovery of their building, once the long impersonal corridors were torn down and the natural light from both façades flooded the interiors.
“Although people were skeptical at the beginning and had a hard time imagining the new layout, in the end everybody is very enthusiastic to come to work now, all the spaces are used and enjoyed accordingly and we receive plenty of compliments from our visitors. We have the feeling we are in a different building!’
Nancy Bovendaerde, General Advisor to the Works & Equipment Department
Pictures by Melting Prod