Adding value to the past while pointing to the future
Bronsvoort Blaak Architecten
Anton Bronsvoort e Henk Geert Blaak (project leader)
The factory of famous Dutch bicycle makers Royal Dutch Gazelle in Dieren, Holland, recently underwent major renovation work under the guidance of the Bronsvoort Blaak studio. In this project, the architects cleverly combined the heritage of the building and company with the needs of modern production and management to create a design in which past and future cohabit in perfect harmony.
Royal Dutch Gazelle began production in the early 1900s in a building of historical interest that dates back to the 1860s and originally housed a paint works. The factory has been restructured and expanded numerous times over the years, with various extensions added to the original nucleus.
Today, the renovated factory and offices appear as a coordinated complex, with buildings interconnected at various levels, leisure areas, common zones and glass façades that maintain a constant relationship between work and community, production and leisure. Machining and assembly areas, offices, meeting rooms, canteen and relaxation areas — in fact every space, function, and activity lie within a single architectural organism, in which a powerful design element integrates old and new in a dynamic dialogue between traditional and contemporary materials, classical construction techniques and elements of the avant-garde, without forgetting the essential aspects of comfort and safety.
The re-engineering and renewal of the firm’s production cycles were a logical consequence of the building’s renovation. The company seized the opportunity to improve the efficiency of its processes, and implemented a new stock management system so much more effective that it eliminated an entire phase of production. Customers can now order and take delivery of a new bicycle in only 48 hours as a result. Rational project administration combined with intelligent management of the work site enabled the company to continue working without having to interrupt production while refurbishment was carried out.
Refin ceramic tiles offer the perfect solution for this fusion of past and future. The floors of the entrance hall and canteen on the ground floor, along with the stairs and upper floor corridors are finished in tiles from Refin’s Pietre di Borgogna collection, which evokes Bourgogne limestone. These 90×90 cm porcelain tiles in Diamante white look surprisingly like the real material, though with a cleaner, more linear appearance. The well-balanced shading and natural veining even give way here and there to irregular shapes that resemble the fossilised shells found in the natural stone the collection is based on.
Refin, Pietre di Borgogna
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,2%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant