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War Child Offices

The Dutch branch of charity War Child recently moved to a new modern office space in Amsterdam. The challenge faced was how to turn a boring office space into an inspirational one on a budget? 

By Editor / 12-12-2013

After being housed on the Singel and a church in the Pijp, War Child the Netherlands decided to move to a new, more grown up office space in Amsterdam’s Watergraafsmeer last year. The challenge was turning a relatively boring office space, situated above a supermarket and gym, into one full character. Another important part of the brief was the low budget as War Child wanted to keep costs low. The organisation aims to spend as much income as possible on helping children in the countries where their projects run. 

The architects of Eckhardt and Leeuwenstein Architects were roped in to finish the job and created an inspirational office space that offers serious workspace yet also a place to relax, eat together and brainstorm. The architects chose to go with a popular industrial framework in which bright colours illustrate the various functions. Life-sized photographs of children cover some of the walls and send the message of the organisation. 

Meditation Area

The recently-completed office has been designed according to the latest standards. The light, open space spanning 1200 m2 offers 75 flexible work spots divided over a number of work zones: from lively to concentrated. There are four meeting rooms and various smaller areas meant for appointments, printing, reading, phone calls or working in silence. There is also a separate meditation area for employees who want a moment of silence. 

Secondhand Furniture

One of the eye catchers at the office is the coloured, secondhand furniture. Old cabinets, chairs and tables have been randomly stuk together to create walls. The furniture was bought from charity shops, internet auctions and estate auctions at a low cost. A special sprayed epoxy binds all the furniture together and a coloured topcoat makes them really stand out. 


Goos Leeuwenstein, executive architect of the Amsterdam-based Eckhardt and Leeuwenstein Architects: “It’s not always necessary to use expensive designer furniture; they tend to be overly autonomous. Instead, we chose old, cheap furniture, but iconic pieces. A cabinet is a cabinet, a chair is a chair, a door is a door. The almost brutal grouping makes the whole thing slightly odd. To emphasise this even more, we sprayed the entire wall with Polurea – a filler and plastic coating – that literally and figuratively bakes it all together.”

Walk of Fame

The life-sized images on the walls originate from the War Child archives and are printed on acoustic materials. There is also a ‘Walk of Fame’; a kind of honorary gallery filled with the cheques the organisation often receives from donors such as schools, companies and other organisations. 

Photos: Evelyn Sanders

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