Plus Ultra Leiden
Plus Ultra Leiden: accomplishing sustainable innovation
Plus Ultra Leiden brings together a large group of entrepreneurial companies, start-ups and knowledge institutions around Life Sciences and Health. The name Plus Ultra, 'Ever further', is inspired by the text 'Non Plus Ultra' ('No further') that Hercules is said to have carved into two pointed, protruding rocks in the Strait of Gibraltar. These Pillars of Hercules marked the end of the known world and became a metaphor in world literature for the limits of human knowledge.
Kadans' Plus Ultra concept refers to the very mission and drive to always keep discovering, innovating and improving. It is a nod to the tenants who take up residence in the Plus Ultra buildings and who are concerned with the important social challenges of our time, for example in the areas of health and sustainability.
The Plus Ultra concept
The location at Leiden Bio Science Park is not the first Kadans project within this concept. The first Plus Ultra building was opened in Wageningen in 2016, followed quickly by locations in university cities such as Groningen, Amsterdam and Utrecht. Meanwhile, a branch in London is also in the works: an ambitious project of no less than 75,000 m2.
The Plus Ultra locations consist of a mix of laboratories and offices that provide space for knowledge institutions, companies and start-ups. What is special about the concept is the focus on meeting and synergy between the different tenants. The building is specially designed to bring them together to encourage and facilitate open innovation.
In Plus Ultra Leiden, that idea is reflected in the imposing atrium, an enormous 'living room' with a reception area, barista and restaurant. Kadans organises regular activities here, from TED talks and tech talks to informal gatherings like coffee breaks and events.
Rob van Overbeek, Commercial Development Manager at Kadans: "We all know that informal meetings promote innovation. We provide the space and support to make this possible: an ecosystem where we try to connect the different parties, the tenants, in all sorts of ways. We do this at Plus Ultra Leiden, but also between the other buildings in our European network."
Sustainable and future-proof
Future-proofing and sustainability are important pillars within the Plus Ultra concept. Plus Ultra Leiden meets the BREEAM standard for sustainable building with an 'Excellent' score. The building features, among other things, climate ceilings with LED lighting, solar panels on the roof and heat pumps, and is completely gas-free.
This future-proof vision is also reflected in the laboratories set up by Kadans. For the worktops, Trespa® TopLab® PLUS ALIGN was chosen, a versatile material that is resistant to a wide range of chemicals, cleaning agents and disinfectants and is also highly scratch and impact resistant. This makes the material suitable for a range of applications, from healthcare to cleanrooms and all kinds of laboratories.
Theo de Haas, Senior Technical Advisor at Kadans: "The laboratories had to suit a wide target group, so the requirements were quite universal. In life sciences, hygiene is obviously an important factor. In addition, we wanted a nice, neat look. We were therefore looking for a material that is easy to clean, but also retains its quality in the long term."
Although Trespa® TopLab® PLUS was initially considered, Kadans ultimately opted for Trespa® TopLab® PLUS ALIGN. The sustainability aspect of the product, combined with the exclusive Pastel Blue colour, which is only available in this product line, was the deciding factor. Theo De Haas: “It was a nice bonus that we could give the project an extra sustainable accent.”
In Trespa® TopLab® PLUS ALIGN, half of the phenol in the core of the panel has been replaced by lignin, a renewable raw material naturally present in plants. The bio-based carbon content in the product thus reaches 85%. For this innovation, Trespa® TopLab® PLUS ALIGN has been awarded the highest 'OK biobased' classification of 4 stars by the recognized certification institute TÜV Austria. The surface properties and longevity for which Trespa is renowned remain unchanged: TopLab® PLUS ALIGN, for example, has the same chemical resistance properties as TopLab® PLUS.
Furnishing the laboratories: a challenging schedule
Dutch laboratory manufacturer Vinitex provided the equipment for this Kadans laboratory within Plus Ultra Leiden. The family business, located in Sint-Oedenrode, is one of the largest producers of laboratory furniture in the Netherlands and carries out projects throughout the Benelux and Germany.
Director Nicole Raaijmakers: "Our strength lies in the fact that we produce everything in-house, here in the Netherlands. A personal approach is important to us and we work with our own permanent staff. That ensures a piece of quality, flexibility and thinking along." The company has been working with Trespa® Toplab® products for some 35 years. Especially in Dutch projects, Vinitex and Trespa work together with great regularity. Nicole Raaijmakers: "It's a combination of factors: the quality of the material, deliverability and, of course, the price."
Project consultant Robert Reijnders has worked at Vinitex for ten years and was closely involved in the Leiden project. The biggest challenge was the ambitious planning, he says. "It was a challenge to get everything realised before the first tenant moved in. But we worked out very well with Kadans. We did a lot of preparations, before actually installing the worktops. You normally mount the electrical trunking on the top, but we mounted it on the wall so that the top could still be slid in between."
Robert Reijnders says that this flexibility is particularly important in new construction projects, where, for planning reasons, work is often done entirely from drawings. "In a new-build project, you can't actually measure in. By the time you can take measurements, you have to have it produced and set up. If there is time to measure, we will certainly not fail to do so, but at Plus Ultra Leiden, the time span was extremely short. You see that more and more in construction."
Function and aesthetics
Robert Reijnders also explains a special detail of the worktops: the sloping edge finish. "Kadans was keen to make the worktop appear slightly less thick. They chose 16 mm, with the lower edges milled off at an angle. So when you look at it, it looks thinner." In terms of machining Trespa® TopLab® PLUS ALIGN is no different from Trespa® TopLab® PLUS, he reveals when asked.
Nicole Raaijmakers explained that the choice of materials and laboratory fittings is always a compromise: "A basic user considers it important that the worktop is of good quality and suitable for what it will be used for. The fit-out managers, who rent out the rooms, also look at the aesthetics, for example the colour and finish. And for us, the machinability of the material is important. In addition, as a company we are also focusing more and more on sustainability, and we see that with our customers as well."
The end result in Plus Ultra Leiden is a modern and spacious laboratory with a fresh look. Rob van Overbeek: "We spoke to various parties and gave tours to potential tenants. They are particularly looking for a fully equipped lab. And the general impression is: it looks absolutely sleek and neat. It's just a well-equipped lab."
About Kadans Science Partner
Kadans Science Partner's mission is to build and support innovative ecosystems. With plenty of up-to-date knowledge and experience, Kadans provides tailor-made accommodation solutions and offers tenants access to innovative ecosystems across Europe. This optimises tenants' success and stimulates innovation.
Vinitex has existed for over 50 years and is an international specialist in laboratory equipment. The Sint-Oedenrode-based company has 80 employees and operates in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Vinitex furnishes microbiological, chemical, pharmaceutical and pathological laboratories and laboratories in educational institutions, among others.