“AIR is a form of campus design with a leading role for liveliness and social Interaction"
Interview with architect Imola
Bérczi – WOMO Architects
Imola Bèrczi and Wouter de Jonge founded WOMO Architects in 2018 after 10 years as colleagues at an international architectural firm.
From day one, WOMO focuses on international architecture and is currently working on the development of mixed-use new build and redevelopment projects in, among others, The Hague, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. And in Rotterdam, where WOMO's ideas about the office of the future come to life in the development of AIR.
“Characteristic of our way of designing, is to create elements of surprise, joy and a sense of wonder. We aim to achieve this in every project by creating a sustainable design, and in the case of AIR to start by placing the building in a historical perspective: where did this building come from, what was the historical journey and what has taken place in this building? This then shows us which historical elements we can adapt and revive in the new situation.”
"A building must be exciting and interesting, and meaningful for users and the environment”
“The challenge in AIR was to breathe new life into a large retail building and to go beyond the traditional corporate architecture that is geared around impressing and even intimidating users and guests. That has been done hundreds of times and AIR deserves better. So we looked for a way not to impress people, but to make them feel at ease, to feel welcome and comfortable; this is a place where I want to be”.
“To make that happen, we developed a strategy for a surprising campus design. By prioritizing the enjoyment of users – not just ‘the director’ – we designed their experience from the moment you enter the building.
”In AIR visitors have a hospitality experience, where you feel welcome and comfortable."
You truly enter AIR on the first floor, in the atrium, where you feel like you're stepping into a large, cozy village square. Here you sense the soul of AIR;
AIR is therefore more of a hospitality experience, as if you‘re in a hotel and really getting away from home for a while.
A place where you feel welcome, a place where you want to work.
“As a guest in AIR you see people moving around easily, with plenty of social interaction, atmosphere, color and materials that give the spaces vibrancy, and of course with a great coffee bar.
That's how everyone wants to receive their guests, right?"
”A space flooded with daylight and fresh air, with different terraces, plants and a wide variety of trees.”