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Cocoa factory


Cocoa factory 

The once so successful Nederlandsche Cacaofabriek (Cocoa factory) in Helmond went bankrupt in 1932. The defining piece of industrial heritage in Helmond has undergone many changes since then. cepezed made the design for the current function of the Cocoa factory: a cultural centre.

  • client(s)
  • municipality helmond
  • location
  • Helmond
  • user(s)
  • cinema, pop stage, catering, gallery the cacaofabriek, various creatieve companies
  • expertise
  • architects
    cepezed interior
oude situatie | cepezed
nieuwe situatie | jannes linders

Challenges for the Cocoa factory  

Part of the complex was lost to fire in 2008. In addition, the technical condition of the various volumes was poor and the bricks used in the main building were extremely fragile.

The revitalization reflects the original factory mainly in an abstracted interplay of forms. The previously destroyed hipped roof is back, but with a contemporary and playful appearance: the roof has a top layer of minimally
detailed stainless steel.

lucas van der wee | cepezed

From cocoa to culture  

Since March 2014, the Cocoa factory has housed a cultural hotspot that includes a music venue, art-house cinema, exhibition space, catering and work spaces for companies in the creative industry. cepezed created the design and went for a contemporary, modern and recognizable cultural cluster.

cepezed | Léon van Woerkom

Modern mineral paint with original appearance  

The façade walls of the main building had been painted countless times over the years and were very vulnerable. Bringing them back to their original state would have been a costly and time-consuming process. It would also have involved a high risk of moisture penetration.

So the façades were treated with white Keim, a mineral paint that adheres well and provides a great deal of protection, durability and colour fastness. In combination with the new stainless-steel roof, this gives an almost intangible impression, so that the building is still unmistakably recognizable as the cocoa factory.

léon van woerkom | cepezed

Reused façade  

An extension added in the 1920s was in a very bad state of repair and was replaced by modern new-build for the creative industry. The existing façade alongside the water was reused and has remained a distinctive feature as a result. Together with the extension, the original main building forms a U-shaped inner courtyard above which the music venue and the central foyer have been housed.

Jannes Linders
léon van woerkom | cepezed
léon van woerkom | cepezed

Façade as screen  

In the interests of acoustic separation, penetration of natural light and spatial experience, the new-build has been placed at some distance from the base of the U-shape. The new-build has a distinctive industrial façade screen of vertically mounted anti-slip grilles. In collaboration with light architect Har Hollands, LED strips have been incorporated, so that the façade also functions as a display screen.

Jannes Linders
léon van woerkom | cepezed


  • client: gemeente helmond
  • interior design: cepezedinterieur
  • stability: swinn
  • building services: ingenieursburo linssen
  • building physics & sustainability: dgmr
  • main contractor: bouwcombinatie adriaans-moeskops
  • contractor building services electrical: elektro klessens & de koning
  • contractor building services mechanical: immens installatietechniek
  • contractor steel construction: gs staalwerken
  • façades: oas
  • lighting design: har hollands

awards & nominations

  • nrp gulden feniks | 2016
  • abe bonnema architecture prize | 2015
  • reynaers projectprize | 2014
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