// ProRail

Client ProRail Location Utrecht
Surface 30.000 Completion 2023

Transforming an iconic building

Designing for an iconic building like the Inktpot is a true gem in itself!

says Sanne van Middelaar, Designer @D/DOCK

How can you sustainably modernise a historic building’s interiors while preserving its rich history and enhancing a brand?

ProRail, the manager of the Netherlands’ railways, proudly calls the historic Inktpot in Utrecht its home. The iconic building was built in 1921 with 22 million bricks and spanning 30.000 m².

In partnership with Gielissen, Mirato, Topmovers, De Klerk, and led by Workbrands, we were asked to redesign their workspace, respecting the history and authenticity of the Inktpot.

Sustainability was paramount in the project and 80% of the loose furniture was reused or refurbished, and sustainable and recycled materials implemented.

We also embraced circularity and creativity by embarking on a ‘treasure hunt’ to ProRail’s waste yard, where we transformed discarded materials into stunning interior design elements for the office.

The design not only follows the signature ProRail identity while harmonising with the historic nature of the building, but also actively contributes to strengthening the brand and attracting talent. Employees were involved in the design process, fostering a sense of ownership among the staff.

Flexibility was another core design principle. We implemented a modular system for the team rooms, allowing for versatile configurations that adapt to specific spatial requirements and functional needs. This ensures suitability for future (re)use. The community rooms were designed with movable furnishings, giving users the power to arrange the space according to their preferences.

In summary, the redesign of ProRail’s office honours its history, demonstrates environmental responsibility, and champions innovation. Every part of the building reflects our commitment to a greener, more sustainable future.

We've developed a versatile frame system that accommodates a range of items, including notice boards, whiteboards, TVs, or even green walls. The beauty of this design lies in its adaptability – all panels can be easily interchanged, allowing for personalized configuration both within rooms and across different locations. This approach emphasizes fulfilling specific needs while reducing the need for frequent material purchases.
A glimpse of the 22 million bricks used in the construction of the Inktpot reveals a striking feature: some of these bricks are glazed, creating a luxurious ambiance that is unmistakably characteristic of this iconic building.
Our design team at RailPro, a company dedicated to distributing railway construction materials and storing surplus supplies, had the exceptional chance to delve into a diverse range of abandoned materials for creative design inspiration. We successfully incorporated these materials into our designs, breathing new life into them.
Every existing chair underwent a meticulous evaluation of color and quality, with the aim of seamlessly reintegrating them into the project. The application of the R-Ladder method was strictly adhered to in this process. Chairs that did not meet the project's criteria or displayed subpar quality were sent back to Workbrands' warehouse. There, they are earmarked for future use in different projects and will be subject to a comprehensive refurbishment process to ensure their suitability.