How workplace design can support your company goals

Case study: GROWx | Vertical Farming

Urban farming. 
GROWx is a Vertical Farm situated in Amsterdam. Vertical farming is literally farming by stacking layers instead of spreading it horizontally on a field. The reason this type of farming exists is has to be able to produce food in challenging environments such as within our ever-expanding cities.
GROWx aspires to shorten the food supply chain through local urban farming. By doing this they offer solutions for two of our global challenges: to grow vegetables in a local urban environment; and to maximize sustainable food production.

Interactions that affect workflow & work quality.
We were commissioned to design and deliver the Vertical farm including offices, reception spaces, meeting areas, a production area, packaging & handling area, an experimentation lab, a showroom kitchen and staff areas. The essence of the design direction was to create a space where GROWx employees can interact with visitors, potential clients and one another without disrupting or disturbing the different workflows. The space was designed in a way that separates the different workflows when and where needed (for hygiene and safety reasons for example) and merges them when and where needed to create serendipitous meetings and enrich interactions and work quality.

Speed Up or Slow Down
The circulation in the space was strategically used to affect the pace at which people walk. For instance, a lounge will slow them down and a clean & minimalistic corridor will speed them up. Identifying these strategic places where certain people should cross paths and interact and facilitate a fruitful context where they can meet, share insights and so on. Also, technicians from the farm have to be decontaminated before entering other spaces, therefore, they now follow a different route than visitors or clients of the farm. In a sense, space design is affecting behaviour and making traffic efficient, multi-functional and serendipitous through both functional and connective journeys. 

Creating a Centre of Transparency.
Since the essence of GROWx rotates around sustainable food, the kitchen became the centre of the project, which functions as both a live food exhibit where clients, – mainly chefs-, can try out the food while looking through the window that showcases the production area. This highlights both the origin of the food and the transparency the food industry requires. Now, the GROWx space is unique in the fact that it complements the technical aspects and elevates them to create a space that revolves around the main purpose of food: people’s interactions, creating better quality life and a better tomorrow.

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