Interview with CBRE: “Arttenders brings a bold and sexy product to the table”


CBRE and Arttenders are partnering up for a groundbreaking collaboration in 2019! We are very proud to be working together with one of the biggest real estate agencies worldwide, with high-ranking clients in their portfolio.

We talked to Lewis Nikuze Kronenberg, Director Projects Operations CBRE GWS in Belgium and Luxemburg (and our number one ambassador), and his colleague Thom van Hoefen Wijsard, Project Manager. Thom made an effort to invite Arttenders to talk to CBRE’s client Deloitte. The result of this meeting is a new project in the form of an art intervention as creative and functional addition to the brand experience in their offices in Rotterdam.

Lewis Nikuze Kronenberg, Thom van Hoefen (CBRE)

Deloitte’s inquiry to Arttenders is to completely transform a staircase in the Maastoren in Rotterdam. This staircase could potentially invite employees to use the stairs instead of elevator. This strengthens CBRE’s focus on health and fitness in office buildings. Meanwhile, Deloitte’s focus is on enhancing the interaction between their office tribes (groups of professionals). An art intervention that leads to different floors might make different tribes more approachable. “Deloitte wants these stairs to be a connection between floors, and for people to get to know each other”, Thom van Hoefen says. And art can make that happen.

What art does for your brand

We ask Thom what his dreamed outcome is for this project: “My hope is that the staircase becomes an art intervention that will lead people from one floor to another, all the way downstairs, out of pure curiosity. I’m also thinking of and Arttenders project in the CIC Rotterdam offices. The work is easily recognized, such as those mirrors in the form of a pizza slice (“Work” by Rotganzen). These become landmarks where people meet, and everyone talks about them. This also goes for those crazy pink toilettes in CIC (“WC Wonderland – Happy Drips & Stains” by Studio Maky). The staircase at Deloitte could have that same outspoken intervention. It could become the talk of the town!”

WC Wonderland – Happy Drips & Stains by Studio Maky (Photo credit: Pim Top)

Van Hoefen: “We are always looking for opportunities to offer our clients more and new services. Art interventions are not a standard product for CBRE. Partnering up with Arttenders brings added value to our clients. Thinking outside the corporate box is definitely in your DNA. By bringing Arttenders on the team, we can show other clients what we can do for them in terms of branding. Arttenders brings a sexy and bold product to the table!”

Get the expert to the table….immediatly

We also talk with Lewis Nikuze Kronenberg and ask him to tell us about CBRE in his own words: “CBRE is a global real estate company. We have five-star clients, so we have a high level of expertise to serve them. Our clients expect the best from us, we always need to come with that extra ‘something’ to serve them and we do deliver a high quality of services to exceed our customer’s their expectations.”

Lewis and Arttenders are well-acquainted, so he knows what they can do for CBRE’s clients. But eventually the client decides, and how do you get an experiential marketing agency like Arttenders to the table at CBRE’s clients? “Well, that’s easy!” Lewis laughs, “it’s not only about Arttenders, it’s about CBRE. We bring the expert to the table early on in the process, to talk about how to support our clients in their strategy. So first, we need to know the question about the strategy and the budget implication. We need to identify the real inquiry behind the practicalities. Also, branding ultimately means something different to each company.”

We wondered what kind of projects or clients are best suited for collaboration with CBRE and Arttenders. Lewis: “For me, it’s all depending on the briefing and what needs to be done. If a traditional way of working is needed and the client is really focusing on costs, then it might not be a good match. But when a client wants something extra, without being able to identify what the extra is, then Arttenders can do a creative brainstorm to help our client think out of the box. It’s good to get the expert to the table immediately.”

Art for young professionals

Kronenberg: “We have long relationships with all our clients. It’s about more than just office space, it’s about the whole brand identity of the company: about changing the culture and the brand experience. We now have CBRE workspace 360: it’s about collectivity, working in a space that doesn’t feel like an office, with common and shared spaces. Arttenders is all about adding brand experience and innovation to the office. How do you trigger people to think and work outside of the box? You play with the space that you have. It can be the colors, such as the Arttenders x Studio Maky bathroom in CIC, that’s a perfect example. The offices we have nowadays want to attract young professionals who don’t have a 9 to 5 mentality. These people expect fun and coziness and in return, they are more productive. Our clients understand this.”

We wonder if not every client likes to think of themselves as innovative, “No”, says Lewis, “most of our clients want to change something, but innovation is never their core-business. They do not want to focus on designing an office space. However, they do want to feel part of the transition. CBRE doesn’t specifically have all the knowledge in-house either, so that’s why we always want to work with the best innovative suppliers, people who walk the extra mile. And Arttenders is doing that. Success for the clients is automatically success for CBRE.”