Transforming industrial heritage into a contemporary cultural hub (ongoing project)
Arts and culture are a powerful tool for urban development and can foster creativity, wellbeing, as well as a sense of empowerment and belonging in communities affected by radical urban transformation.
In 2018, the real estate development firm Bakkers | Hommen acquired an industrial heritage building on the city edge of Eindhoven, in the south of The Netherlands. Once a freezer warehouse used to stock ice cream pies produced in the nearby Campina dairy factory, and more recently a location for underground countercultures, the building was up for demolition when Tom Bakkers was inspired to purchase it to restore it for mixed-use.
Factorr was asked to explore the feasibility of incorporating arts and culture-based placemaking in the redevelopment of the building, for example collaborating with artists and cultural institutions who could use part of the facilities as exhibition and makers space.
Factorr soon recognised in the unique potential of the building, and the scale of the project, combined with a set of favorable conditions in the area, the possibility of an even more ambitious redevelopment plan for the building, locally known as ‘het koelhuis’. The neighbourhood is part of the Canal zone, a fast-changing post-industrial area affected by a growing demand of space for housing, work, and leisure.
Based on the findings of the feasibility study, Factorr and the owners of the freezing warehouse found themselves sharing the same values and approach to arts and culture as a tool for urban development and placemaking.
This inspired them to join forces to turn the site into an internationally relevant hub for contemporary culture and new media art. The collaboration led to the creation of a joint venture between Factorr and Bakkers | Hommen in 2021. Under the name of Concrete Ventures, the joint venture aims at combining innovative urban development principles and placemaking techniques to the repurposing of dismissed industrial properties, starting from the Koelhuis Eindhoven project.
The synergy between the two likeminded partners has been developing organically, with Factorr getting involved in the development of the physical building with its expertise in exhibition and event design, entertainment production, etc., and Bakkers | Hommen sharing creative input in the general creative vision for the cultural brand.
However, Bakkers | Hommen is ultimately in charge of the physical transformation of the site, while Factorr takes care for its cultural management. In particular, Factorr is responsible for concept, branding, cultural programming, spatial design,
placemaking initiatives, setting up and management of the organisation, marketing communications, PR, participation initiatives, cultural management and programming.
The Koelhuis Eindhoven project has a long-term scope and is currently in a preliminary phase which will include the redevelopment of the venue alongside the development of the cultural brand, programming strategy, and placemaking initiatives involving local communities and institutions.
Some of the achievements so far include, but are not limited to:
Branding and visual identity
Creative vision and program
Spatial design concept
Online presence build-up
Onsite warmup placemaking initiatives
Koelhuis Eindhoven is attracting the interest of many prominent players from different fields within the arts and culture as well as the entertainment industries.
This page will be updated periodically. Please visit koelhuiseindhoven.nl to learn more about the project.
Koelhuis represents a necessary change of paradigm in the cultural sector, an inspiring combination of entrepreneurial grit, and creative vision.
Paulo Dias, theatre owner and cultural entrepreneur
Client: Koelhuis Eindhoven
Real estate developer: Bakkers | Hommen
Creative developer: Factorr.nl
Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Scale: 6000 sqm
Status: In progress
Cover photo: Nick Bookelaar
Photo credit (unless otherwise specified): Nick Bookelaar; Koelhuis Eindhoven