Rob Wagemans, Founder/Creative Director; concrete

Rob Wagemans, Founder/Creative Director; concrete

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Rob Wagemans, Founder, Creative Director, concrete

‘The duty of designers like us is to fulfil a social desire as we design for people and their current needs. As an example, our Urby Harrison project shows the new residential needs of people living in a metro pool. There are a lot of spaces designed to enable neighbours as well as locals to meet, like a large shared kitchen, the social environment of a coffee place downstairs or the garden with the little paths that force people to literally cross ways. Besides the residents who can come and meet each other, we also like to involve the neighbourhood and its locals; you don’t have to live in a building to be able to make use of its facilities’, says Rob Wagemans, Founder, Creative Director, concrete

INSIDE/WAF awards: Bars & Restaurant Winners: Harrison Urby – Entrance Café by Concrete – How important is this award for you? 

Awards are always important for us. Awards are a way of showcasing our projects to the architectural world to see how other people receive the stories we are telling. Besides that it’s a great way of giving your project a stage in order to be seen by relevant people from all over de world.

How important are sustainability and environment concerns for you and how do you accommodate them in your designs? 

We believe sustainability should be interwoven, the best way possible, in every project, has its way of adding to a more durable future. With our citizenM project we build modular, which ensures a very minimum amount of waste. We believe that sustainability and the aesthetics of a design can go hand in hand as long as you’re creative, open to possibilities and see the opportunities that are there. With our projects we also focus on sustainability in urban environments, we like to create an opportunity for the residents of the cities our projects are situated to take part in a durable lifestyle. As an example we created an urban farm at Staten Island Urby where residents can grow their own vegetables and fruit.

Once you develop a project based on certain concept (after considering client’s briefing) how do you ensure that originality of the concept is maintained throughout the life of the restaurant/hotel/etc?

When we receive the client brief 9 out of 10 times we shuffle the whole idea upside down to come up with something new and innovative. The concepts we develop are linked to society and it’s current developments. The design story is always the red thread during the design process and serves as a base for the storyline? The design story is elaborately shared with the client and is based on the needs the project satisfies. After the final design has been released it will be up to the client to make it come to life within the day-to-day activities and programs they facilitate.

What are all the aspects you a pay attention to while deciding on the design – client briefing, neighbourhood, etc.?

During our design process we always take the environment and location into account. As we believe that multifunctional spaces and facilities are the future of hospitality as well as residential projects. We like to incorporate, guests, residents and locals alike. The multi-functionality of a design will create possibilities for all sorts of people to meet and connect. The duty of designers like us is to fulfil a social desire as we design for people and their current needs. As an example our Urby Harrison project shows the new residential needs of people living in a metro pool. There are a lot of spaces designed to enable neighbours as well as locals to meet, like a large shared kitchen, the social environment of a coffee place downstairs or the garden with the little paths that force people to literally cross ways. Besides the residents who can come and meet each other we also like to involve the neighbourhood and its locals; you don’t have to live in a building to be able to make use of its facilities.

Is there any one concept which you wanted to work on but couldn’t due to lack of opportunity (as you are always tied by what your client says and needs)?

We have been able to change the world of hospitality a bit and it would be nice to have the opportunity the do this in retail or leisure.

Which part of the world you feel the most happiest to work on?

Diverse locations, change of scenery feeds creativity.