Holland & Barrett x NORNORM

A collaboration etched in the foundations of a synergy of nature and sustainability. Behind every great workspace is an even greater story.

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Client: Holland & Barrett
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Reduced climate impact: 74.3%
Size: 1,039 sqm

Holland & Barrett, a renowned leader in the health and wellness retail sector, embarked on an ambitious project to transform their Amsterdam office. This British-rooted multinational chain, with a presence spanning 16 countries, set out to create a workspace that truly reflects their deep commitment to health, wellness, and environmental responsibility.

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The Goal

The journey to redefine their Amsterdam office was a collaborative effort that brought together the expertise of NORNORM, Ann Decock - Architect & Workplace Designer, and Christa Zaitout-Beumer - a seasoned Project Manager. At the helm of this transformation was Lies Goezinne, Managing Director of Holland & Barrett Benelux, who envisioned a workspace where different teams could seamlessly interact and integrate, moving beyond traditional departmental divides to foster a culture of cross-functional collaboration and shared growth.

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The Challenges

The challenge was multifaceted, encompassing both aesthetic and functional aspects within the constraints of their budget. Ann Decock vividly recalls the moment they realised the extent of their financial limitations: “As we delved into the design aspects, we struggled with the budget when we realised that 90% of the chairs were already broken. If we have to buy all new chairs, then most of our budget is gone.”

The team then embarked on a detailed financial analysis, weighing up the costs of purchasing versus subscribing to furniture, considering the benefits of shifting the budget from CAPEX to OPEX. This brought NORNORM’s cost-effective solution into sharp focus as a potential game changer. “That's when it became interesting and everybody started getting enthusiastic again,” Ann reflected.

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NORNORM’s Solution

NORNORM’s fully circular office furniture subscription service resonated deeply with the ethos of Holland & Barrett. Ann Decock, deeply impressed by the sustainable, simple, and circular concept, said, “I was completely in love with NORNORM's model," as the solution provided the much-needed design and budget flexibility.

“NORNORM is helping us as designers by taking some of the work,” Ann remarked, appreciating the ease NORNORM brought into the design process, enabling her team to focus on custom elements like the ‘power of nature’ themed prints and colour schemes.

Christa Zaitout-Beumer, project managing the office transformation, also emphasised the financial viability of opting for a subscription model: “Most of the time customers don't realise what costs are involved in a construction, relocation, and redesign of everything. We made a great impact with what we had. It wasn’t possible without NORNORM.”

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The Implementation

The implementation was marked by teamwork and precision. “Ensuring that everything fits into the puzzle we created was crucial,” reflected Christa.

The practical aspects of the implementation were particularly intriguing. “Aligning the delivery and assembly with all the suppliers was the most interesting part of this whole project,” she added. This phase demanded not just logistical coordination but a deep understanding of how each element, each piece of furniture, and every design choice fits into the larger picture of Holland & Barrett’s vision.

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Incorporating their Brand Identity

The Holland & Barrett office boasts NORNORM’s Nordic Light style expression, which was chosen for its natural, vital, and wellness-focused appeal, perfectly complementing the new design elements envisioned for the office. With NORNORM providing the foundations of the space, Ann could focus on the made-to-measure legacy items with Holland & Barrett’s design team on creating ‘living’ green walls and nature-inspired backgrounds.

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The workspace transformation was underpinned by a commitment to encapsulating Holland & Barrett's brand identity. Ann and her team crafted an environment inspired by 'the power of nature,' a theme echoing the company's focus on natural health products. This was brought to life through the strategic placement of three main prints, each embodying a unique aspect of nature: healing, impressive, and wonder.

An overarching theme of water connected the space to the natural world. "The Holland & Barrett products were depicted underwater in abstract imagery, aligning with our themes of impressive, healing, and wonder," Ann said. This thematic approach was not just aesthetic but intentional, creating spaces that aligned with specific activities and moods – from restoration and focus to creativity and challenge. The healing-themed prints were near silent areas for focused work, while creative and wonder-themed prints fostered interaction and innovation in collaborative spaces.

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The Outcome

The transformation resulted in a vibrant, sustainable workspace. Ann Decock’s innovative use of colour and thematic designs has infused the office with a new sense of vitality and wellness, made only possible through adopting a circular subscription model for the furniture foundations. “Together with the Holland & Barrett team, we chose the five different colours which we used to make it more feminine, to make it more soft, to make it more yin.”

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Holland & Barrett's office transformation is a powerful narrative of vision meeting innovation. It showcases how strategic collaboration, exemplified in the partnership with NORNORM and the expertise of Ann and Christa, can transform a workspace, aligning it perfectly with a brand’s core values and ethos.

The journey from an outdated office to a revitalised, sustainable workspace not only reflects Holland & Barrett’s commitment to health and the environment but also underscores the transformative power of innovative thinking.

With special thanks for:

Workplace Strategy and Design by ANDarchitecture
Project Management by CHRS
Photography by Valerie Clarysse