The Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) allows start-ups to flourish in a flexible, innovative working environment. Here, starting companies can focus on entrepreneurship while everything else is arranged for them. After opening successful branches in the United States, CIC came to Europe. Setting up in Rotterdam made sense due to its business climate. And so the CIC came to Kraaijvanger. The brief was clear: ‘We want to radically improve the position of the Dutch start-up community and we want you to help us!’ CIC and Kraaijvanger have now been working together for three years and are about to realize the third stage of a fast-growing start-up ecosystem.
The design balances three major forces that stimulate innovation: density, diversity and proximity. Environments are designed to create a high density of different workspaces that the entrepreneurs can then provide with their corporate identity. All offices are very flexible and finished to high standards. Sometimes start-ups require a high degree of privacy while at others they need a place to relax or have intense encounters. All this is possible here. One of concept’s strategic strengths is the fact that every floor has essential facilities that are always within easy reach: kitchens, meeting rooms, relaxation rooms and printing rooms. In addition, the floors contain a range of single-purpose rooms that offer the start-ups special extras: from a games room to a massage room and from a secret room to a fully equipped bar in the Venture Café.
The corridors of the CIC meander through the rigid structure of the Rotterdam Groothandelsgebouw like a catwalk and almost make you forget that you are in a post-war reconstruction building with an orthogonal structure. The corridors carry you through the space: light and colourful areas are orientation points and form natural meeting places. They bring daylight deep into the building and ensure that visitors always discover surprising spots. Each new stage we designed had its own character, similar to the way that urban districts have their own character. ‘Camera Obscura’, ‘Urban Jungle’ and ‘Ma’ were the starting points for the design of the first three stages and each translated into a new play of colour, light, texture, art, plants, patterns and facilities.
Functionality, flexibility and atmosphere (in that order) are vital to the fast-growing companies that rent from CIC. We work together with Forreal, H2O and the CIC design team to continually provide tenants with even better and more sustainable services. We also enter into new collaborations at each stage, for example with Greenfortune for air-purifying plants or with local artists such as Studio Spass via Arttenders.
The CIC is a household name in Rotterdam and in the Dutch start-up community. Accommodating more than 200 start-ups, it is one of the most dynamic hubs in Rotterdam’s Central Business District. Especially on Thursday evenings, when the Venture Café is the place to be for enterprising and innovative Rotterdam. Unsurprising, really, because CIC offers something genuinely new compared with many other co-work concepts. In terms of concept, working method and atmosphere, CIC follows its own course. The company does not want to be fashionable, but merely wants to be itself. Visitors of the CIC sense that attitude. It inspires and enthuses.
Cambridge Innovation Center Rotterdam
2016, 2017, 2018
Cambridge Innovation Center
Vincent van der Meulen, Hanneke van der Heijden, Hetty Mommersteeg, Patrick Keijzer, Endo Roelofsma, Mahdi al Sraiffe, Bart van der Werf, Eveline Withagen
- GFA (Total)