The Netherlands is the home of Piet Mondrian modern art and the experimental architecture of firms like OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas, and MVRDV, which introduced some of the most disruptive innovations in colors, shapes and living spaces. This project by Studio thonik follows this architectural heritage, but manages to carve out its own space in transforming a small, unpromising lot, facing onto featureless Wibaustraat, into a local landmark. Talented graphic designer Thomas Widdershoven - co-founder with Nikki Gonnissen of Studio thonik - is also the owner of this building and he really wanted to use this project to defy conventions about sustainability, the versatility of indoor spaces and the visual impact of façades. For this project, the studio turned to Arjan van Ruyven, architect from MMX-architecten, seeing him as the ideal partner because of his open mind, and his ability to marry out-of-the-box thinking with technical know-how.
As the building façades are an effective “manifesto” for Studio thonik, nothing was left to chance. The full-height windows contrast with the simple, crisp stripes and produce a striking, yet balanced effect.
The quite unique cladding used for the building and the whimsical external staircase, which divides the main façade in two, make decidedly unusual use of Trespa® Meteon® panels in the rather delightful and expressive Lumen Diffuse finish in Athens White and New York Grey. The interaction of these colors adds further elegance to the overall appearance. Arjan van Ruyven spoke about how much he appreciated the material nature and depth of color of Meteon® Lumen as well as the naturally dark profiles of the high-pressure laminate (HPL). The latter proved to be especially practical as it meant the individual panels could be crisply defined, thus maintaining - even emphasizing - the sharp and linear design. The resistance, durability and reliability of the Trespa® Meteon® panels were absolutely essential in precisely creating the architect’s design, which perfectly matched the vision of the owner and designer, despite the incredibly complexity and non-standard nature of the frames. All in all, the panels were key to the success of the whole project.
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