Last week, queen Beatrix of the Netherlands officially opened the new accommodation of the Dutch embassy and permanent EU-representation in Brussels. The missions, housed in an existing building from the 1970's and altogether measuring well over 8.000 m2, have been designed by cepezed in cooperation with the arts and interior consultants of the ministry of foreign affairs.
After a long-time residence in Brussels's circumference, the posts are now based in the city centre on a strategic location in the political and diplomatic heart of Belgium and Europe. The renewed building is completely aimed at sustainability and a high-grade, representative appearance. Dutch products, Dutch design and Dutch arts are important factors in reaching these goals.
The building has nine floors plus two subterranean storeys largely used for parking. Only a few years ago, it was refurbished with new facades. cepezed has now also completely restyled and upgraded the atmosphere and arrangement.
The existing entrance has substantially been expanded and been rendered with a double height. In the ground floor, a void has been inserted which directly connects this level with the one below. Thus, a large multifunctional space has been created in which the company restaurant is placed and that also houses a light, transparent winter garden bordering a new, park-like garden at the rear of the building.
On each floor, the offices have been situated along the facades. The zones between the office strips have been fitted with combinations of e.g. Xerox facilities, meeting rooms, pantries, lounge areas or reading tables. These zones all have different designs, so that each storey has its own, distinctive identity.
The partitioning between the offices and hallways are transparent, while the separation between the offices is constructed out of perforated steel panels that contain sound insulation and are flanked by transparent strips. The carpet design visually widens the relatively narrow hallways.
The program subsequently includes VIP lounges, VIP rooms, a VIP lunch room, special high-standard archives and a meeting centre with a table that enables sessions with no less than 44 persons at the same time.
The delegations have largely been equipped with furniture by Dutch designers and art by Dutch artists. The arrangement is flexible and can easily be changed. The sun blinds dispel bothersome radiance, but do not reduce the incidence of natural light. The toilets are flushed with grey water.