Circular furniture concept: perfect solution for 500 temporary workplaces

In a group that is spreading its wings ever further internationally, furnishing our offices in a uniform look and feel - from ergonomic office chairs to air-purifying office plants - is a handful. As head of facilities, Herman Kok is the spider in the web. At the end of 2021, he and his team took care of a very special project: the creation of 470 workplaces in the Antwerp Havenbuilding.

Herman Kok: “ The building at Brouwersvliet 5 will close and then be demolished, after which the new SD Worx headquarters will be built on the same site. Until its completion in 2026, colleagues will be accommodated in the Havenbuilding, just down the road. A handy solution, but one that required about 500 temporary workplaces to be created there within limited time.”

Reusing office furniture is smart

The old furniture was not fit for reuse and the office needed a major makeover. Purchasing completely new office furnishings for a temporary solution was an expensive and unsustainable option. Especially because any furniture purchased would not be reused in the new headquarters. Facilities therefore called in NORNORM. Herman Kok: “A business relation told me about NORNORM, a fully circular, subscription-based furnishing service. To my knowledge a brand new concept in office furnishing.”

How does it work? “For a fixed monthly fee per square metre of floor space NORNORM takes care of the design, delivery and implementation. And when the subscription is terminated, the furniture is collected again. They also prolong the lifespan of the furniture by refurbishing and circulating items between businesses. This reuse drastically reduces the ecological footprint.”

Herman Kok
Reuse of office furniture drastically reduces the ecological footprint. Moreover, this helps businesses to change behaviour, rethink, and to move from linear to circular.
— Herman Kok, Head of facilities

Office furniture to damaged schools
Before NORNORM could set to work, the spaces in the Havenbuilding had to be emptied. There were still a lot of cabinets, desks and chairs from previous use. Herman Kok: “We selected the furniture that was still useful and took it to some schools in Wallonia that were severely affected by the flooding last summer.”

Circular furniture

We-work requires different office layout

Setting up 500 temporary workplaces may seem a lot, but it significantly less than the original number. After all, the pandemic has caused us to work at home much more often. Herman Kok: “That greatly reduces the number of commutes, which is good for the climate.

We-work places completely different demands on the office experience.
— Herman Kok, Head of facilities

The number of workstations per location may be reduced, but people come to the office for so-called 'we-work'. For meetings or brainstorming, for example, or simply to socialise with their colleagues. In other words: we-work places completely different demands on the office experience.”