De Waag is the largest forensic mental health facility in the Netherlands. COARE Realisation was asked to liaise with De Waag experts to determine whether its work environment, which is in effect, a key tool for any organisation, was used to its maximum potential. Part of the challenge was to come up with a design with plenty of room for expertise. So we looked for a solution that placed more emphasis on the primary process and less on the building itself. As most clients of De Waag have come into contact with the law, privacy was essential. The design had to include therapy rooms to promote clients' sense of trust and inclusion, an essential prerequisite for therapeutic effectiveness, as well as a small library.
In the design, seemingly contradictory elements such as light and dark, black and white, oak versus walnut are juxtaposed to create balance, as a subtle reference to the client-therapist relationship. Clients and therapists, each from their own perspectives, also attempt to reach a balance. For De Waag, the final result heralds a new future in which its work environment acts as an important tool for achieving new ways of working.