‘Atelier’, says a green sign next to the door in Gaia. In the room there is the pleasing kind of messiness you would expect in an atelier. Designs at various stages of completion cover the walls, tables and desks.
© Margriet van Vianen
Michaël van Buuren’s desk is by the window with a view over the Binnenveld. But he doesn’t like sitting at it. ‘I prefer working with others at the central table. Or best of all, out in the field. That’s why I went into this line of work, of course. Van Buuren and his two colleagues seek ‘to apply the knowledge available in the environmental sciences in practice’. He points at a sketch of the Vecht river in Overijssel province. ‘We are trying to get a branch of the river to meander in a new direction. We dig a channel and let the river create the profile itself. It is an experiment, a mix of design and research.’ Van Buuren and his two colleagues transferred here more than three years ago from the now abolished government service for land and water use DLG. They’ve shared this atelier for two years now. ‘A fantastic space,’ he thinks. ‘Spacious, light and north-facing: perfect for designers. You don’t get any deceptive shadows when you are drawing.’ And that wine bottle on the shelf? ‘’Ha, I got that at a presentation I gave. The next day we had an evening session here with pizza. So we opened the bottle then.’