Interview Kjeld van den Ende: Calm and richness at the new Pier E

The refurbishment of Piers D to G is in full swing. Pier E will be the last in line, and with its dark green walls it will look a little different from the others. Kjeld van den Ende, architect at NACO: “We were afraid at first that it would be too dark, but the colour actually gives the pier a very calm, rich character.” Together with Benthem Crouwel Architects and DUS Architects, NACO is responsible for the aesthetics and interior design.

Since security was moved away from the gates, a great deal of room has become available on the piers. It is the perfect moment for an ‘extreme makeover’: more seating, catering and retail. But to create the perfect atmosphere, the pier’s colour scheme needed to be renewed.

A breath of fresh air

The theme was more green. Some of the furnishings were therefore given a new, dark green upholstery, and plants were integrated into them. Van den Ende: “The dark green has a calming effect, as the colour doesn’t attract so much attention. At the same time it conveys a certain richness.”

White walls

The many walls that travellers pass on their way to a gate are white or beige in most places, to create light and space. Natural stone is often used for this, but at Pier E this was technically impossible, explains Van den Ende. “The utility rooms contain lots of technical equipment that’s needed for the building to function well. So we had to use a different material.”

Too dark – or not?

The idea of also making the utility rooms dark green did not meet with instant approval. Not only is Pier E long and narrow, but its large areas of glass create a lot of backlight. Van den Ende and his team were afraid that the dark green would appear almost black, giving the whole area a very sombre character.

A logical step

Van den Ende: “So we painted a few of the older utility rooms green as a test, and we saw that was a good idea after all. It created more unity.” The ceilings of the Kroon – the voids running along the middle of the pier, in the shape of a crown – are also to be dark green, so giving the utility rooms the same colour seemed to be a logical step.

Patience, please

The refurbishment of Pier E will begin at the end of August. The upgrade is expected to take a year to complete, so we will all be able to enjoy the pier’s new colour scheme in the course of 2020. And speaking of the ‘green’ theme: over the same period, two large walls in Pier D will be covered from top to bottom in living plants.