19 May 2009
Van Nelle Factory
One of my responsibilities at work is to visit students who are doing placements (internships). That means travelling all over the Randstad and sometimes further. Some of these students end up working in nifty buildings, like converted houses in the Amsterdam grachtengordel. Earlier this month, I went to Rotterdam and visited a student working in the old Van Nelle factory. I'm familiar with Van Nelle because I bought a second hand Van Nelle tin. They used to make coffee and tobacco.
The factory has been magnificently converted into work and event space. I was blown away by the beauty of the conversion. Details like pipes within the building were preserved. They haven't gone in and ripped out everything in order to install an office complex, instead the renovation preserves the massive windows, exposes the steel structure, and incorporates industrial looking design elements.
These types of projects seem to be more common here than in the parts of the US where I come from. Closer to my home, they have been working on converting the silos of an old sugar factory into what looks like office space for nearly five years. It looks like they´re done now. The silos are the tallest thing around and there are colored lights in the windows that can be seen from miles away. It´s quite a sight!