Located right at the petrochemical heart of the largest port in Europe, the interior of LBC Tank Terminals' Headquarters combines ultimate comfort and luxury with a raw, industrial environment. In converting the old premises of ‘Havenbedrijf Rotterdam’, there lay a chance to create an enticing office environment directly on the crossing of two large waterways ‘De Oude Maas’ and ‘De Nieuwe Maas’.
Client LBC Tank Terminals
Location Rotterdam
Square 830
Timeline December 2018 - October 2021

With its orientation to the waterfront, a circular shape and high ceilings, the modest exterior of the building had a unique opportunity in hiding. With an interior to bring out these qualities, LBC found a perfect fit for its HQ. One with direct views on its activities embedded in the harbour of Rotterdam.

The main floor, located on the first level has the optimal views and ceiling height. It holds a spacious reception with a large, suede lounge and a slender staircase to connect to the workspace on ground level. The concrete structure catches the eye, and arranges the layout in a more closed area along the inner curve and an open, transparent outer curve.

Company keywords such as 'respect, integrity and empowerment' asked for a simple, straightforward design. On the other hand, amid the rugged harbour environment and with the building's massive windows, it was essential to create a safe haven. This called for a clear definition of the interior realm. A delicate balance, as the comfortable and warm atmosphere that was searched for in the interior, should not overpower its magnificent situation.

The answer was found in an overall subdued materialisation scheme. Bold concrete structuring and a crisp grey and white base are complemented with refined detailing and a luxury finish. The light grey flooring is contrasted with a warm lighting plan, fluffy curved lines and rich, natural materials for the carpets and furniture such as suede, walnut and wool.

While the inner curve holds the meeting rooms and facilities, the manager rooms and workstations are located at the outer curve. It has a bespoke warm, brass-framed, partitioning system that integrates walnut veneer cupboards and seating to maximise space and provide privacy. Joinery details and handles subtly refer to the shape of the building. Grey mirror materialisation of key pieces spices up the work environment reflecting indoor and outdoor activity.

Connected floors

A slender, steel, white and spiralling staircase is the sculptural centrepiece to interconnect the office levels. It was constructed in a workplace and towed into the building in one piece. The staircase's slender outer rim carefully holds a warm, walnut-veneer inside. The glass railing along the void enhances the visual connection. Walking down, a reflective pantry island sits prominently in the informal meeting area and invites to linger around the coffee machine. An elongated, comfortable couch follows the building curve, almost referring to a boat interior: an intimate atmosphere. Together, this brings about new relations between the floors, formal to informal, and the ever-dynamic surrounding waterscape.

The answer was found in a subdued atmosphere where a bold concrete inner curve is contrasted with an open and transparent outer curve.

Design Management

The ambition and challenges for this project lay in both the planning and the expected quality that the client had in mind. So we knew we needed a great team of suppliers and contractors with the ambition and drive to create something spectacular.

A base build transformation by the building owner, thus a second client, was included in the process in order to integrate structural building alterations such as a void, with an eye-catching winding staircase and enhanced spatial relations towards the astonishing views. The ultimate challenge, in the end, was the integration of the base build to match the expected quality and accommodate the proposed interior finishes. The client, its advisors and the team of contractors ultimately found each other in a collaborative way of working together, with room for criticism and mutual integration of design support from all sides. A very pleasing process with a final result we all take pride in.

Photography: Auvimedia.