The Plinth

Design of public space

The plinth of the municipal offices consists of the ground floor and the first floor. The plinth is accessible to everyone. Whilst at the Kazerneterrein, the previous location of the offices of Venlo council, you still had to ring or have a pass to get into the building, the public, suppliers and collaboration partners now have free access to the plinth in the new municipal offices. Based on their experience with conscious separation between public and secure zones, Veldhoen + Company recommended developing this plinth with its functional zones with particular attention to a new, more service-driven way of working. Within the plinth there is a low-threshold separation on a basis of trust between employees of the council and the public, suppliers and partners.

Thanks to this low-threshold separation, customers feel welcome. Above all, they may not get the feeling of just being a number. The customer is received by a host and not by ‘a counter’. The host then accompanies the customer towards the public hall, where he can wait on sofas with a view to the courtyard. Through the direct access to the counter area and the information zone with desk and computer it feels hospitable. And before you know it, someone is helping you.

The public hall is organised around the needs of the customer. If you come as a customer by appointment to collect or apply for something (driving licence, passport), that is quickly and properly arranged at low counters, where you talk to one another at the same level. If a resident wants to talk about a planning application, for example, you meet in a seating area. This all happens in an open zone. The size of the counters and the screening between them guarantee privacy. Besides counters there are also rostrums and workplaces where the employee can hold (advice) conversations with the customer.

The call center of Venlo council is situated close to the entrance, visible for everyone and busy at work helping other customers on the phone. Council employees who have appointments with customers work that part of the day on the ground floor so that they are immediately available for the customer when he reports in to the host.

Information screens inform partners and suppliers where they need to be on the first floor, where there are various meeting rooms and collaboration points. Also here is the council’s central service point.

Beside the municipal offices is the Nedinsco Buidling, where council officers also work. They also make use of the municipal offices to work together with colleagues in other teams, so an entrance was made on the other side of the public hall.
Bridal couples are welcomed at this entrance by the registrar. Via the wide ‘red carpet’ staircase you go to the splendid wedding room with a view to a courtyard on the first floor.

All functions in the plinth give you the feeling of being welcome and that everyone is equal, whatever your reason for coming to the municipal offices. This new way of working and having contact with customers does not come about just like that. Veldhoen + Company is supporting Venlo council in aspects such as working to a plan, working more digitally and improving collaboration across teams. It’s about much more than nice new furniture, but above all about an innovative way of working and dealing with customers and partners.

Veldhoen + Company