‘Using the ‘Koraal-feel’ for a pleasant working and living environment’

Who: Koraal cares for people of all ages with severe (mental) disabilities and complex behavioural and/or psychiatric problems. With 26 locations in Limburg and Brabant the organisation offers care, support, education and work.

Duration: various projects since September 2021

Key activities: Concept development, location analysis, interior design, aesthetical supervision in the realization phase.

Koraal believes that everyone should direct their own lives as much as possible and that people should feel connected to each other and their surroundings. A vision that suits Maike very well. “I approach these types of projects very carefully. With a lot of attention and feeling for the people involved. There is always room for input from users.”

During the guidance process towards a new working environment of Internal Services in the period 2018-2022, I was responsible for the translation of the Koraal core values ​​into an office with its own unique appearance. This is where the ‘Koraal feeling’ originated. This wonderful assignment resulted in follow-up assignments, due to the need to implement this experience at more Koraal locations.

“Koraal’s core values – together, passion, inclusion, expertise – have been translated into a natural and peaceful base, with striking colorful and green details. Not only the look and feel, but also the positioning and size of facilities are tied to these core values. The principles of Trauma Informed Design (TID) are leading for environments where clients live, work or visit. Spaces must contribute to a pleasant experience, and hopefully a more pleasant life.”

Below is a selection of those assignments.

Poli Gastenhof

The assignment: At Poli Gastenhof, Maike was allowed to work with this new corporate identity again. Gastenhof offers (trauma) treatment, care and support to young people aged 4 to 21 with a mild intellectual disability, combined with complex behavioural or psychiatric problems. This group of motivated employees deserved a working environment that exudes the same quality as the care they want to provide.

The progress: “The layout had already been determined, but the Koraal feeling was missing. I spoke to the team leaders and got their wishes. This revealed, among other things, that the design must be recognizable, must provide a feeling of safety, must put visitors at ease and must not provide too many stimuli. It could be a derivative of the office of the Internal Services, but it could not be a copy. We didn’t make her a sister, but a niece.”

The result: “This location has been given a softer implementation of the office concept. The material and use of color are recognizable, the whole radiates tranquility and quality. The reopening has really given the team a boost. So much joy and pride, that was really nice to see.”

Development of design packages for location Maasvelderweg

The assignment: Giving clients and relatives freedom of choice and ownership is extremely important when developing a new (or renovated) home. An inclusive process alone can impact the experience in a home forever. In order to inform, inspire and guide in this process, 3 atmospheric images have been developed. These are of course in line with the Koraal core values and have the necessary TID ingredients.

The progress: After choosing the atmospheric images and determining the basic materials and colors for floors, walls and kitchens, it was the time for the furnishings. We have selected furniture, fabrics and specifications for each atmospheric image. To provide sufficient choice, a rich ‘order book’ has been created with various choices such as type of sofa, open or closed compartments in cupboards and combinations of chairs and armchairs. “Providing options and at the same time maintaining an atmospheric image, that was a bit of a puzzle. Yet I am sure that with this very well-thought-out preparation we have acquired a golden tool, which we can hopefully use in many beautiful locations. Even if there is a limited budget.”

The result: A set of style rules form the basis of the three atmospheric images Summer, Backyard and Blossom. Colours, basic materials and fabrics are determined on paper and on mood boards, to give teams, clients and relatives something tangible. The order books are compiled with the highly motivated supplier. The first three homes are being renovated. “We are extremely enthusiastic that we have tackled this renovation in this way for and with the target group. The development process was extremely valuable. We are still waiting for the result, as well as the feedback.”


Curious about current and completed projects? Over the past few years, I rolled up my sleeves in many different places. In my portfolio, you can see the projects I was involved in. Projects I look back on with pride and a big smile.