Lightly into the present

In 1980s, a part of the university of Utrecht relocated from downtown to a new campus in the east of the city called de Uithof. Down through the years, countless new buildings have been added, including a hospital, a library designed by Wiel Arets and the spectacular Educatorium dreamed up by Rem Koolhaas. The main admin building, one of the first and oldest structures on the campus, was modernized last year, the ground floor being redesigned by Ex Interiors. Here, the interior designers took their cue from the clear architectural structure and the haptic properties of the original materials. The original concept had been diluted by any number of conversion efforts, but they re-established it and took it as the basis for their design, which has turned out to be very contemporary. Elegant furniture by Zeitraum coupled with colorful patterned carpets and settees with striking high backrests in the meeting zone definitely reference today’s world.

Ex Interiors opted for powerful and yet subtle colors for the public areas in the admin building – and in this way created different zones, from sets of settees through to flexible workstations. The color range includes bright blue, rose pink and sea-green in all sorts of tones, and these recur in the stained colorful Zeitraum furniture. For example, blue hues predominate in the conference zone, encouraging concentration and work. By contrast, the sofas in the lounge are all dark reds, evoking a comfy and warm relaxing mood. In the entrance areas, Zeitraum’s “Morph Lounge” cocktail clubchairs with their curved silhouette are juxtaposed ingeniously with the hard-edged architecture and the tiled pattern of the walls. Just as the soft, tactile feel of the armchairs and sofas contrast with the concrete and wood throughout.

Another highlight are the “Noon 12” luminaires, which boast an impressive 12 shades and emphasize the height of the entrance area. The select Zeitraum furniture embody timelessly elegant shapes, and particularly the seating (angular legs throughout) is reminiscent of light, nonchalant 1950s living rooms: “The furniture is consciously timeless, with a touch of the past about it,” the interior designers profess. And they’ve successfully balanced the modern and the past in the process.

Zeitraum’s colorful, comfortable furniture contrasts pleasantly with the strict architecture, which emphasizes the materials used. Photo © Luuk Kramer

Contemporary colors and shapes animate the building’s stringent 1980s grid footprint – with stained furniture from Zeitraum. Photo © Luuk Kramer

Diskrete meeting zones with striking settees are very much rooted in today’s world.
Photo © Luuk Kramer

The meeting zones are only open on one side, and with their blue’s encourage concentration on work. Photo © Luuk Kramer

Dark red and restrained earth tones denote the different areas. Photo © Luuk Kramer

Ex Interiors chose Zeitraum stools and chairs – on the strength of their high-grade finishing and the subtle color tones. Photo © Luuk Kramer

The refined color concept is rounded out by reserved lighting – in this case “Noon” as a standard lamp. Photo © Luuk Kramer

The refined color concept is rounded out by reserved lighting – in this case “Noon” as a standard lamp. Photo © Luuk Kramer

“Noon” luminaires are not only used in the entrance area, but also in a the plainer “Noon 1” version in the meeting area near the classrooms. Photo © Luuk Kramer

In the large meeting area near the entrance, the “E8” series are combined with colorful “1.3” chairs. Photo © Luuk Kramer


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