Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if my project is too small or too big for you?

The typical size of our projects in Belgium ranges from 500 to 2000 m², but we'll consider projects starting from 300 m², and we have experience working on more than 6000 m².

What's your approach? What are the steps you take to deliver a successful project?

We've developed a unique methodology to take your project smoothly and efficiently from the research phase to design development to the finish line of construction and the official opening party. Check out our approach page to see the steps of this process.

Are you only designing workspaces, or do you do other types of projects?

We made an exception a few times when we really liked the mission, e.g. designing the classroom of the future for NXT-PRO, so don't be afraid to pitch us your grand idea!

How much time do we need to dedicate to the project on our side?

We'd like to answer that question in one sentence, but it's not that simple. The time you'll need to invest will be based on the internal communication you'll need to do, the scale and complexity of the space, whether there's a Single Point Of Contact or not, etc.

From our side, we organize weekly 1-hour calls with your Single Point Of Contact throughout the project to share updates and ask crucial questions. From your side, you'll need to allocate the appropriate amount of time for internal decision-making and discussions.

Should we redesign our current office or look for a new location?

Toss a coin! Rub a magic 8-ball! Just kidding, there are many things to consider. Think about finding answers to these questions: 

  • What are you gaining by moving to a new location?
  • What would you lose? 
  • What would the difference in rent be?
  • Are the services better in the new place?
  • How would a new office space impact the mobility and flexibility of your team?

Or, instead of doing the guesswork, book a call with us!

What can you take care of? Do you have experts for everything in your team?

We'd love to say we can do anything you can think of, but let's be sensible, we're not Avengers, so we can't do EVERYTHING. For example, we've never done fish tanks. Mostly because we're not sure that would be a good idea for the planet. Also, there's no evidence supporting that it increases well-being or performance. Did we mention that we're really into science and prefer to make decisions backed by research?

We've done some pretty "unconventional" stuff though, like:

  • designing a DIY Alexa-enabled sound system (for a client's bathroom, so people could wash their hands while listening to Beyoncé)
  • studying movements of geckoes to design a custom wallpaper
  • transporting and cutting in half a life-sized resin horse
  • Installing climbing ropes inside a bank vault
  • growing plants out of walls…

But here's the simple answer to this question: we can take of (almost) everything - HVAC, electricity & network, lighting, plumbing, floors & ceilings, walls & glass partitions, waste disposal, bespoke pieces, furniture orders & installation, decoration, audiovisual equipment, plants, coffee machines, etc.

Why should we hire a design & build company if we can change some things ourselves in our office?

Great question! As with other services, you can always try to do it yourself, but experts will deliver better results. Ultimately, you're hiring someone who invested years in perfecting their craft. 

Trust us, the do-it-yourself approach takes more time than you think, and the results are usually less impressive or impactful. You also must see it as a different project you need to manage on top of your core business activities. We do this every day and with great passion. 

Since 2016, we have worked between 500 and 1000 hours on each project and accumulated invaluable experience in 70+ projects completed over these years. We don't want to come off as we're bragging, but we've been in this business long enough to know the best conditions, suppliers, contractors, etc.

Do you work with templates and pre-built concepts?

No, we're not fans of a copy-paste method. We love to create custom spaces because each client is unique, and your workspace should be too. We always start with listening and understanding your needs on 3 levels: organizational, team, and individual perspectives. Then we make a proposal within the budget, time, and space requirements.

What is biophilic design?

Biophilic design seeks to address our inherent need to interact with nature, in the modern built environment. In developed countries today, we spend roughly 90% of our time in buildings, and biophilic design tries to bring nature in these buildings to reconnect us to our roots. 

At Space Refinery, we consider biophilia in our design process because we recognize that nature remains instrumental to people's physical and mental health, fitness, and well-being.

What is the difference between workspace and office?

We differentiate those terms because we see offices and workspaces similarly to houses and homes. Our mission is to design a "home" for work. We say "office" when referring to any typical work environment. Workspaces are more than offices; they are purposefully designed to work environments where people feel inspired and create their best work in.

How long does it take to design a custom workspace from scratch?

From our experience, a typical project takes approximately 7 months from start to finish (for 500-2000 m²). This period includes:

  • 1 month for the strategy & research
  • 2 months for the design
  • 4 months for the execution - construction, orders, deliveries, installations, and final touches. 

The length of the project depends on many factors, among others: the responsiveness of the different stakeholders and lead times for special items or requests. The space's surface and complexity can also impact the project duration. There's a big difference between a partly-classified building from the early 1900s in the center of Antwerp and a typical office floor in Zaventem.

Do we need to pay everything upfront? How do you charge us?

Our projects are divided into 2 phases, each paid separately. We start with design, then execution.

  • Design phase

In the first stage, you will pay fees only (50% upfront and 50% at the end of the phase), as you're not investing in anything tangible yet. Here, we identify your needs and go from an idea to designing the space of your dreams in 3D, followed by a detailed budget overview. 

This phase usually costs between 20 and 100 000€, depending on the project. These fees don't depend on your total budget because we don't take a percentage (like architects do, for example). We work with fixed costs that we estimate based on the surface and complexity of the project. If we need to do extra work because our first estimation wasn't correct, we'll cover that. However, if you're asking for any extras, we first estimate their cost and submit them for approval.

  • Execution phase

In the second phase, you're mainly investing in your physical space (buying everything from the design phase proposals) with additional project management fees. Here is where the concept and ideas come to reality, as we bring the 3D renders to life. Typically, you pay 50% upfront, 40% at delivery, and 10% when everything is completed. 

Your investments are split between 2 categories (accountants like us for that): 

  1. Construction (walls, ceilings & floors, electricity, lighting, etc.)
  2. FF&E (furniture, fixtures & equipment - chairs, desks, decor, kitchen appliances, etc.)
What's the price? How much would it cost to redesign our workspace?

Short answer: it's impossible to say without knowing your needs and seeing your space.

Longer answer: the budget will depend on several variables: the existing building conditions, the complexity of the technical systems and architectural design, and the quality of finishes and materials used. Based on our experience and past work with clients, the average cost of interior design and build projects goes from €500 to €1,500 per m2. But €500 to €1,500 is still quite broad, right? Check out a more in-depth answer in our article.

Bonus information: on average, we estimate 40% of the budget is spent on "invisible" things like HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electricity and network, or plumbing modifications.

We need to relocate our office. Can you help us find a new building?


Thanks to our experience and trusted Belgian network, we can also guide you through this step. First, we'll try to answer critical questions, such as: "How many square meters do you require?" or "What amenities should your space have; for example, is there a water connection that allows to build a kitchen?"

Our partners can help you understand the paperwork and taxes of office buildings (ESG compliance, waste removal, parking, etc.) or map your team's commutes and means of transport to find the best location for your new headquarters. 

We also work with several corporate real estate brokers, so we can also put you in touch with the person who'll find your perfect space!

What do you mean when you say you "design & build" workspaces?

Design & build means we take care of everything from A to Z. You can rely on us to design the best suitable work environment for a specific team. We do it all, from research, concept, function, space layout, and planning, to construction work, logistics, and final touches.

That is why when we say "design," we don't mean only design. We're also referring here to strategy & research before we start designing so that we're more efficient during the design phase. When we say "build," we don't mean only the actual build phase (electricity, plumbing, walls, ceilings, lighting, etc.). We also source, order, supply, and assemble furniture and decor. We even have partners for audiovisual equipment, plants, coffee machines, useful appliances, and many additional things you'll need to make your workspace more stylish and comfortable.

Read more about our approach here.

Why should we redesign our office when most of our employees work from home or remotely?

The way we work is constantly changing as we develop new technologies and better understand how to improve our wellbeing and performance. Even though we can work from anywhere, some things just can’t be replaced, like in-person interactions. Bringing people together matters now more than ever, and that's the most important achievement of any workspace. This is why we should adapt and transform our work environments thinking about people first.

There are a few key reasons why you should redesign your office:

  1. Innovation doesn't happen on zoom calls. Your workspace is the place where your team connects spontaneously and serendipity sparks new ideas.
  2. In workspaces, people connect by working together and through informal activities, which builds trust and shapes your company culture, two fundamentals for effective collaboration. 
  3. Most people don't have a good setup at home, have their family members around, or need to deal with other distractions, which has a negative effect on their wellbeing and performance. It's also challenging to keep a healthy work-life balance when your living space becomes an office. This impacts productivity over time and increases stress levels, in some cases leading to burnout.
  4. An inspiring work environment that reflects your culture is an excellent tool for getting you a competitive edge regarding talent attraction. 90% of job candidates see the workspace as a direct indication of how how much the company cares about their people. And top performers will be attracted by a work environment in which they feel they'll be able to give their best.

If these reasons speak to you, contact us, and we'll help you create a future-proof workspace that empowers individuals and fosters connections.

Check out our series of interviews with business leaders to learn more about the importance of the physical work environment.