“Without exception, visitors make us feel like we’re doing something very special here,” Tiddo De Ruiter, furniture designer and founder of De Besturing, says. He originally moved into the building late 2006, along with 12 tenants, driven by his longing for an opportunity to shape his working environment in altogether new ways. Nine years down the line, De Besturing has flourished into a beautiful creative workspace. It is now taking final steps towards achieving permanent status as one of the creative hubs in The Hague that shapes the city’s creative environment.
Current tenants are pondering the question of how to secure their identity now that the end to their temporal status is in sight. “We are now focused on how we can make sure that this space – and perhaps most importantly, the space’s identity – will become permanent,” Martine Zoeteman, tenant and mastermind at De Besturing, says. “We’re eager to safeguard it for the future and for generations to come. And not just the building itself but, ideally, De Besturing will function as the shining light that leads the way towards more unrestrained creative workspaces in The Hague where collaboration can flourish,” Martine explains. “We want to build a mothership.”
No easy blueprints
Deciding on the way forward for De Besturing is no easy task. “There is no one blueprint for how to design the perfect collaborative work space, but do-it-yourself is essential to its success,” Tiddo says. “Tenants have to feel like they can own the place, like they can shape their environment.”
“What’s more, a substantial part of our target group isn’t able to pay high rents. That’s why we postpone or altogether reject all sorts of maintenance to the building in order to cut costs. Besides, we like it raw around the edges. It suits who we are.”
What dreams are made of
Also, room for experiment is very important to the character of De Besturing. “The dynamics that come along with temporality are very fruitful,” Martine says. “Things keep moving that way. It somehow facilitates the urge to try new things, regardless of whether or not they will be successful in more traditional terms. Acquiring permanent status will affect that. We want to find new ways to create a space in which continuous discovering is stimulated. That way, we can keep growing together.”
“It may sound opportunistic at first hand, but we try to encourage our tenants to follow their own interests as much as possible,” Martine adds. “People should be encouraged to put their dreams out in the open. A very productive energy comes out of people that way. It’s the kind of energy that ultimately benefits De Besturing as well.”