A plane takes off from Brussels Airport without a sound. Koen Maerevoet turns to look. From time to time, the CEO of KPMG Belgium treats himself to the show that unfurls before him through the panoramic windows of the company’s new headquarters. Up here, on the tenth and highest floor of the building, is the auditing firm’s visitors’ floor and Maerevoet’s favorite place – furnished with a stylish seating area by Walter Knoll. It consists of the olive-green leather Jaansofa, two yellow 369chairs and two yellow Baochairs. Against the dark gray carpet and brown-paneled wall, the colors can reveal their true resplendence. In the center of the ensemble, the Oki Table– a low marble table of generous proportions on a delicate metal frame – appears to hover in mid-air.
In May 2018, KPMG Belgium moved into its new headquarters next to Brussels Airport. The lease on the old premises had expired, so they seized the opportunity to move closer to the airport. Auditors, tax specialists, management consultants and legal experts can now conveniently see their clients fly in. Just a few minutes’ walk from the terminal, they greet their visitors at the elegant Keypiececonference table made of dark wood and ask them to take a seat. Twenty bucket seats Kyowith leather upholstery in a warm grayish brown are grouped around the table, which is as spacious as it is inviting – the corners are rounded and there is not a sharp edge in sight. All the furniture in these rooms exudes warmth and trustworthiness.
During conferences, both the employees’ and clients’ gaze will occasionally follow the trajectory of inaudible take-offs and landings; some contemplate the striking control tower. A concentrated silence pervades the room – the sound insulation meets the highest standards. It is an ideal location for conducting important discussions and making big decisions. “Since we moved here,” says Koen Maerevoet with a smile, “our clients vastly prefer to come to us for meetings.”
Friendliness, solidarity, constancy – these are the values of KPMG, whose roots reach back to 1870. The company ethos has parallels with that of Walter Knoll. It is reflected both on the upper and the lower floors, where office spaces abound with unique pieces by Walter Knoll. The desire to reinvent familiarity can be felt everywhere in the light-flooded new building. Open spaces without a fixed seating arrangement, small rooms for secluded work and plenty of space for encounters and communication. “The new office is truly luxurious. In a hotel, you would call it a two-star upgrade,” says Christine Reinders, Marketing and Brand Manager at KPMG, with regard to her revamped workplace. Maerevoet gives a satisfied nod. He likes to think of KPMG as a container ship that needs time for larger maneuvers. Here in Brussels, a course has been set for the future.
Walter Knoll Characters Magazin 2018