Lamps by Moooi Amsterdam
Chest of drawers by Tajo Remy
When I think of Dutch culture, I think of art and design.
On my last visit to the Netherlands, I had the chance to go beyond Amsterdam and to see the lovely little cities surrounding the capital. What unites the seven cities and towns I visited is the function that the architecture and design that is inherent in everyday living. Everything makes sense.
The porcelains of Delft, the houseboats on the canals and giant bay windows are indicative of the pursuit of purpose without sacrificing aesthetics. And why not? The stereotypical coldness associated with the geography is broken when you step back to realize the romance of the whole picture.
All photos courtesy of Allard Architecture
Imagine a workspace. Elements like light, room, comfort, and productivity come into mind. The concrete boxes that we now call offices do not foster the creativity and the sanity of employees. A lot of times, these spaces can barely invoke anything but sleepiness and shorter attention spans.
Allard Architecture has designed an office building, with the matchbox as the inspiration, or I should say, a tower of matchboxes. The uneven façade of the Amsterdam project makes the structure stand out from its neighbours. The implementation of floor to ceiling windows maximize natural lighting, which is beneficial for the mental being of any employee.
Amsterdam’s houses are some of the most beautiful, most livable spaces that I have seen. With the giant windows and the huge spaces, Dutch houses shame our lofts on this side of the Atlantic. Being one of the tallest nations in the world, along with my being under two meters, the spaces that would be designed in the Netherlands would provide me with more ample space than a regular house in Canada.
Lesson learned: Lighting and space inspires and fosters creativity. If at work, you do not have either, go for a walk outside but for productivity’s sake, go back to your desk sometime soon.