Bouwinvest wants to generate both financial and social returns. We are aware of our social impact in everything we do. And that also applies to choosing a suitable business gift. The following gives you a little background to our gift with a story.
We like to leave behind a souvenir on various occasions. For instance, to thank the people involved following the delivery of a building, or if a business relation is celebrating an anniversary or is retiring. And it is sometimes difficult to find a suitable gift.
Of course, we want to give something that is original and that is preferably in line with our strategy and purpose. During the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Bas Jochims and Michiel de Bruine found themselves inspired by the projects of graduating students at the Design Academy. What impressed them the most were the opportunities new and unknown designers were given to develop their skills and creativity. And that marked the start of a wonderful and unique project!
The winner designed a gift produced from the salvaged material released during the renovation of WTC Rotterdam.
My name is Julia and I am an international designer who works in Europe. I come up with exciting design solutions and ideas that add value. See below for a short interview with Julia.
How did you come up with the idea for the gift?
I wanted to design a gift that reflected Bouwinvest. Their green way of looking at buildings, the company’s mission and values and the connection to something that people love. I think it’s fun to give people an experience. Not just a gift that they can look at, but a gift that they can touch, break, taste and smell, and a gift with a story.
This is why I chose to melt down aluminium from the World Trade Center Rotterdam and forge this into the shape of a hammer. This stands for building, creating and renovating. The part of the gift that everyone loves is the chocolate tile. This was custom made by a local chocolatier, Wowcacao, beautifully decorated and with no cube deviations.
You can use the hammer to break the chocolate tile, so you can share this with everyone around you. Because it’s important to share experiences and happiness!
The gift is packed in slick, elegant packaging with very subtle branding, so you can use elsewhere once it been opened.
How do you look back on the past year?
It was a real pleasure from beginning to end to work with Bouwinvest. I had an outstanding team of people, who helped me to gain a better understanding of the company and with whom I shared my ideas. We encountered a few difficulties during the process, but that was never a problem. It was an amazing learning experience for me.
I thought it was wonderful to design this gift and to bring it to life and I hope we’ll have other opportunities to work together in the future!
For more information, check out Julia’s website
"Even though Julia was born in Poland,
we still consider the gift as real Dutch design!"Michiel de Bruine Director Dutch Residential Investments
How did you arrive at this idea?
Michiel: We’re regularly on the look-out for business gift ideas. For instance, to thank the people involved when a building is delivered. And it’s sometimes difficult to find a suitable gift.
Bas: We also really want to give something original, and preferably something that reflects our strategy or core values. During the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, we were inspired by the projects of graduating students at the Design Academy. We also really liked the idea of giving a newly graduated and unknown designer the opportunity to develop their creative skills with our project. So we asked for their help.
How do you find the right designer?
Bas: We quite quickly came into contact with Anne Veenstra. She coordinates students during and after their graduation. So she has a good idea of the students’ work and ambitions.
Michiel: The first thing we did was come up with a briefing, which Anne then distributed among a select group of alumni. The main elements of the briefing were circularity and the link to Bouwinvest and our sphere of operations, real estate asset management. This then served as a basis for them to sign up to take part in a small-scale competition.
Bas: In the end, we selected five designers to come up with a design. The day they made their pitches was a lot of fun. Maybe a little stressful for the designers, because they weren’t used to getting to know a company and making a presentation in a commercial market. But it was great to see their creativity.
And why did you pick Julia?
Michiel: Julia surprised us straight away. She even made several suggestions. Most importantly, her stories with the concepts were really well thought out and completely in line with our briefing. She really had learned a lot about our organisation.
Bas: Making a choice was still difficult in the end. Everyone had gone to work so enthusiastically, and professionally. What made the difference with Julia was the simplicity of her design, the link with Bouwinvest and the confidence she gave us that she would actually realise the design.
And how did the process go?
Michiel (laughing): Now, that could have been smoother!
Bas: It was a lot more complicated than we initially thought. For instance, we discovered early on that the aluminium that Julia wanted to use, which came from a renovation project at WTC Rotterdam, would only be available a couple of months later.
Michiel: Apart from the production of the design, we were also confronted with issues related to the transport of the material, packaging, taste and storytelling. Luckily, thanks to a concerted effort by everyone involved we managed to get it all sorted.
What do you think of the finished product?
Bas: Brilliant! It’s really amazing to see the realisation of the initial idea, and that it is made from actual salvage material from one of the buildings in our portfolio.
Michiel: And even though Julia is from Poland, we consider the gift as real Dutch design!
"It’s really amazing to see the realisation of the initial idea,
and that it is made from actual salvage material from one of the buildings"Bas Jochims Director Dutch Office & Hotel Investments
Our committed and future-oriented team focuses on creating real value for life. Together with our partners, we are helping to give shape to the city of the future. Our approach to real estate investment management contributes towards sustainable, liveable and accessible urban environments, and improves pension benefits. In doing so, we are creating both societal and financial returns.