Office renovation for a chemical manufacturer, Antwerp province


Fixed Workspots: 339


Chemical Manufacturing


Transform the office building into a cozy and inviting hub that people enjoy working at


Size: 5,560 m2

Year: 2023

Location: Antwerp province

Office renovation by Space Refinery: Cafeteria and ambiance

The outdated office space of this chemical manufacturer needed a complete renovation to reflect their commitment to the team’s well-being and success and align with the evolving company vision.

Top 3 priorities

  • Improve talent retention and team happiness
  • Encourage interaction, collaboration and intrapreneurship
  • Reflect the story of their evolving company

Look & Feel

Inviting and warm

Special touches

  • Green tree in the entry hall with a circular bench around it
  • Lush planters in the cafeteria
  • Layout to optimize natural daylight
  • Artworks that reflect the thematic brand-inspired concept

Tailored areas

  • Inviting cafeteria as the heart of the office
  • Libraries for focused work on each floor of each building
  • Branded meeting rooms and collaboration areas

This global chemical manufacturer specializes in recycling plastic and rubber materials, with a focus on creating a positive impact for employees, suppliers, and customers. They invest in businesses promoting digital innovation, reducing environmental impact, and fostering long-term value chain partnerships.

The Context

We were tasked to increase the team’s motivation to come back from their home offices into the workspace and to increase collaboration, connection, and feeling of belonging.

The office building with its gray concrete structure was beautiful but the space planning and the interior black and red color palette made the space feel dark and uninviting. Some areas had too many enclosed spaces cutting away natural light, and some parts were vastly open workspaces - both resulting in monotonous environments that were disconnecting the teams and lacking variety of functions.

The cafeteria was underused because of its unwelcoming character. Fluorescent green as the main color, noise from appliances, and uncomfortable space planning didn’t create a place people wanted to spend time in.

The goal overall was to create a welcoming atmosphere and transform the outdated office into a modern and agile work environment. “Go extreme with coziness” was the repeated request. The management also wanted to re-imagine the cafeteria and turn it into the heart of the space, where all the departments could come together.

Additionally, we needed to rebalance the space planning and update the old technical equipment and HVAC while allocating the available budget wisely.

Office renovation by Space Refinery: Phone booth and biophilic design
Office renovation by Space Refinery: Office plants and biophilic design

The Outcome

Our guiding principles for this project were coziness, inclusivity and biophilic design. The pastel, earthy colors and natural materials replaced the harshness of blacks and reds. To support the team's well-being, we also created some new window openings for added natural light and incorporated plenty of lush plants.

Inspired by the company's visual identity, we created a tree-themed concept, which is reflected through space planning, artwork and specific color palettes that brand different types of spaces according to their functions.‍

We reused all existing glass partitions and moved them from the areas with too many private offices and rooms to the areas that were too open. This created a balanced space plan with a choice of activity-based spaces for focus, collaboration, and connection. We’ve designed smaller (semi)open work areas, added a variety of meeting rooms, and focus libraries on each floor. We also reused a majority of existing furniture for both economic and sustainability benefits.

The fully renovated and enlarged cafeteria has become a welcoming, multifunctional space where employees enjoy spending team time, working away from their desks, hosting guests, and organizing gatherings.

As we hear “There’re no more complaints about coming back to the office. People are happy and the new cafeteria is a huge success.”

Seeing the space full of smiling faces on our last visit, we’re happy to make a positive impact here through thoughtful workspace design.

Large communal wooden table in the cafeteria
Trellises providing privacy while maintaining visual contact
Lighting ambiance
Cafeteria ambiance
Green wall behind the reception
A green haven with plants
High table interspersed with greenery
Focus area ambiance
Finding greenery in unexpected places
Focus areas
Peaceful meeting rooms
Soft colours and natural materials
Making the space more lively through plants
Blue focus zones
Hallways with flex work spots
Infusing the space with some art
Serene meeting rooms
Lounge setup for informal conversations
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Meet the team

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