winner of the entree award for 2016 best hotel design.
W Amsterdam is housed across two historic properties – the old Royal Dutch Post building close to Dam Square and the adjacent former KAS Bank building on Spuistraat 172. Located in the heart of the Dutch capital, behind the Royal Palace, the hotel is just steps from the city’s iconic canal district, with its vibrant restaurants, bars and nightlife scene. Redefining luxury with its innovative design, signature amenities and unique style, W Amsterdam will provide guests with an integrated contemporary lifestyle experience with 238 stylish guestrooms across the two buildings, including 23 suites, three WOW suite and two Extreme Wow Suites (the W brand’s reinterpretation of the Presidential Suite). The hotel’s restaurants, The Duchess and Mr. Porter, will be operated by The Entourage Group, a specialist international restauranteur setting new standards for the international hospitality industry.
The W mode of operation is a “narrative- driven design”. We are known as story-tellers, hence the affinity and synergy between our vision and W’s was only natural right from the start.
W stands out for being a design-led life style brand. It offers a unique mix of cutting-edge music, fashion and design. It is inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential and all of these qualities need to be synthesized into an experience entirely appropriate to its destination. So the locals play a major role in making it happen. This DNA is actually the brief.
The first thing we did was to look for our “Insider” , a person who could expose us to the great talents of Amsterdam with which we could build a truly indigenous platform for brainstorming and making sure that the heartbeats of the city are part of the design strategy we develop. We are true believers in team spirit. I am because we are is the moto. Our insider ,”The Invisible Party” an art installation and styling studio run by Vivian Van Schagen, did a great job on that front.
The city of Amsterdam and its people are key inspiration to all of our work. Amsterdam is the epitome of liberalism; it is about people not monuments; home and refuge to for people of different ethnic background, religion and sexual orientations. Then, the buildings themselves with their fascinating history inspired us and led us to the notion of “connect & exchange” which became the essence of our design strategy.
When we first started to explore the building’s heritage, we discovered photographs in the city’s archive that documented the building’s interior in past times, when it was home to the Telephone Exchange and Royal Dutch Post Building. We were inspired by the telephone wires and electricity lines that played an integral part in the building’s setting and decided to incorporate the brass tubes in the different spaces of the hotel.
Five Kilometers of brass tubes were used as a recurring design element in the W Amsterdam Hotel. The brass tubes lead your way throughout the building and create a dynamic dialogue with the spaces which they cross over and define. The brass tubes evoke movement, create surfaces and define spaces. The brass tubes also function as impressive light fixtures, as well as bottle holders and a sitting bench at the MR PORTER Amsterdam cocktail bar.
Going back to the local culture we can honestly say that it is a progressive, tolerant, edgy and transcending social classes. Honesty, easy-going, simplicity and innovation embodies great part of its DNA. Bearing that in mind when developing the story for W Amsterdam lead us to explore materials which by nature represent and reflect such a cultural mindset, they all play on the notion of ‘what you see is what you get’. Hence, honesty of materials and craftsmanship become an important theme; the passion of the people behind the production of our designs plays a key role in the final result: poured concrete, brass, epoxy resins and steel.
Interventions in existing buildings are never easy. Interventions in monuments such as these are a challenge. However, if you listen close enough to what the building has to say, a paraphrase on Louis Kahn’s dialogue with the brick, then we think it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…