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The label’s first collection, designed by young Dutch designers, including Denmark-born Claes Iversen, launched with a flashy catwalk show at the Arnhem Fashion Biennale in 2007. The label is part of Stichting Mode Met een Missie (Fashion with a mission foundation) which, in turn, was founded in 2005 to help women with problems caused by addiction, homelessness or psychiatric issues. In “teach-them-to-fish” spirit, the women are taught to make the Ami-e-toi label’s clothing and so gain a profession, and self respect.
In Mentjens’s luxurious store design, Art Deco meets boudoir and is juxtaposed with red-velvet sofas, oak parquet flooring, marble, busts on mirror-top tables, and cameos on the wall. Two massive mirrored walls ensure that the fashions and the fashionistas are visible in endless repetition. The idea “Nothing is quite as it seems” is part of the design concept, echoing the contrast between have-it-all fashionistas and the women who make the fashions. - Tuija Seipell
Lovely shoes and bags will literally be on pins and needles this Saturday, when the Kymyka shoes and bags boutique opens in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The beautiful store, established by Chantal Hermans and Jurgo Mouthaan, begins its life with an impressive line-up of brands, including Dolce & Cabbana, Etro, Stella McCartney, Dsquared, YSL, Giuseppe Zanotti, Luciano Padovan and Theory. Jimmy Choo will join the list soon, as will other brands.
Hermans and Muthaan chose well when they picked the industrious Maurice Mentjens to design their store. His work has been rewarded at many design competitions, including the Dutch Design Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
His design for the Stash bag shop won not just the Dutch Design Award in the Retail Category but also the German Design Award. Maurice Mentjens Design is engaged in a vast variety of project ranging from interior, exhibit, retail and hospitality design to product and furniture design. - Tuija Seipell
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Mecanoo Architects is designing the city hall and central train station for its home town of Delft, in the Netherlands. The top level will be glass-ceilinged, and even the underground levels will have a feel of transparency and light. Vaulted ceilings, archways and a strong use of white and blue will lighten the visual weight of the complex that will include a 30,000 square-meter public hall. The four-year construction will begin next year.
The Dutch-born and educated architect Francine Houben established Mecanoo Architects in the mid-80s. Mecanoo has since completed an incredible variety of public and private projects, including retail stores, theaters, hotels, libraries, museums, chapels, residential neighborhoods and parks. Houben’s focus on ”sensory beauty,“ color and light has produced many spectacular buildings in Europe and around the world. Most recently, Mecanoo won the competition to design the new master plan for a central business district in Shenzhen, China. The district will include 8,000 houses and 400,000 square-meters of commercial and cultural facilities. - Tuija Seipell
Villa Veth is a modern, customized villa, a private residence for a family of four. It is situated on a large parcel of land by a forest near the idyllic town of Hattem in the eastern part of the Netherlands.
Although the structure from some angles resembles today’s favorite and by now highly overused form – long, narrow boxes situated at odd angles – the design of this villa manages to avoid that cliché by locating only one floor above ground. The result is a classic, modern residence that functions well for the family inhabiting it, yet looks like it could have existed since the 1950s.
The ground floor and principal living area of the two-storey residence is divided into two. On one side are the master bedroom and two kids’ bedrooms -- all with separate bathrooms -- plus two small studios.
The other half –the south-facing side -- of the floor plan is taken up by an open-concept living area that includes the kitchen, dining and living spaces. One wall of the living area is constructed of frameless curved glass, enabling a seamless connection with the outdoors.
In addition, this space opens up to a vast, unadorned terrace or platform, part of which is covered and equipped with floor heating. The first floor also includes a small separate play and TV-room, a laundry and a tiny powder room.
The total floor surface area of the residence is 475 square meters (about 5,113 square feet). 123DV is an architectural firm that specializes in modern villas and supervises the entire construction process. Tuija Seipell
By the late 1980s, the Praediniussingel building that had accommodated the Groninger Museum for 100 years, had become too small for the museum’s modern and contemporary art, fashion and design, and historic arts collections and exhibits. By 1994, new premises on the Verbindings Canal in Groningen, in the northern Netherlands, were designed by the Italian Alessandro Mendini and guest architects Philippe Starck from Paris, Italian Michele de Lucchi and the Coop Himmelb(l)au group based in Vienna and Los Angeles.
Since 1994, nearly 4 million people have visited, leaving behind wear and tear. The premises have now been renovated and new spaces by Antwerp-based Studio Job, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon and Maarten Baas have been added. The Info Center by Hayon is one of the coolest areas in the new building. Computer stations embedded in a many-armed desk provide information about the museum’s exhibits. Tuija Seipell
If we had only one word to describe this residence, we’d use harmony. If we’d have just two, we’d use harmony and elegance. Luckily, we can use many more, and timeless is a third word that comes to mind immediately.
Architects Geert Bosch and Annemariken Hilberlink of Berlicum, Netherlands-based HILBERINKBOSCH architects designed this timeless gem for a couple whose children have already left the house.
The villa is located in Utrechtse Heuvelrug, a municipality in the Dutch province of Utrecht.
The key to the harmonious elegance of the house is the way it sits on its site. The pine-forested site has a height difference of six meters – a unique feature in the predominantly flat Dutch landscape. As requested by the clients, the architects took full advantage of the location.
As a result, the house appears to have been on this plot for a long time. It belongs here as it responds seamlessly to its surroundings.
The architects pick up even more elegance points through the timeless style of the building itself. Three masters inspired the refined grace: Frank Lloyd Wright for his mastery with natural scenery, Mies van der Rohe for the open and transparent plan, and Peter Zumthor for his brilliance with tactile materials.
The entire colour scheme of the residence stems from the surrounding nature. The dunes inspired the colour of the concrete, and the beige, orange and green hues of pine trees are reflected in the bricks.
The same seamless colour scheme continues indoors where the forest and dunes seem to be just as present as they are outside. The owners love art and theatre, and their home is designed to be a perfect showcase for both. This is true especially in the double-height entrance area.
Let’s add a few more adjectives, just to prove how much we love this villa. Graceful. Chic. Cool. - Tuija Seipell
Two basic ideas – one gold and one black - result in dramatic impact in the new Gold Souk building at the Beverwijk Bazaar in The Netherlands.
Rotterdam-based Liong Lie Architects had the cool opportunity to design a brand new hall for the gold dealers and goldsmiths that offer their wares each weekend at the Goudstraat (Goldstreet) at the Eastern Market of the famous Bazaar.
The designers based the uneven shape of the building on a raw piece of gold. They covered the façade with gold-tinted panels with a triangle pattern. The panels are placed in different orientations so that the entire building sparkles and shimmers under different lighting conditions during the day and at night.
And how do you outshine all that glitter of wall-to-wall gold inside? You don’t. Instead, you stay out of the way. Liong Lie chose to paint every surface inside black giving the space a night-time feel and allowing the gold really shine. A mysterious “Arabian Nights” feel envelops the visitors as soon as they step into the building from the daylight.
The Bazaar in Beverwijk is a massive indoor public “fleamarket in overdrive.” With more than 2,000 shops and more than 60 food establishments in numerous halls, De Bazaar offers clothing, accessories, toys, food and even gold. - Tuija Seipell.
Dutch designer Maurice Mentjens has created the interior for the House of Smarts in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
It is an exhibition space for showcasing the latest glass work by fellow Dutch designer Arnout Visser.
The House of Smarts, opened in late September, is located at Willemstraat 29, directly across the street from the Eindhoven Public Library, also known as de Witte Dame.
The House of Smarts and the exhibit of Visser’s work are also part of this year’s Dutch Design Week taking place in Eindhoven, October 17-25
The interior first brings to mind an unfinished building with the pipes for air, water and electricity all exposed. All surfaces, including the ceiling, are covered in a network of grey wooden criss-crossing slats.
The structure was inspired by the interconnectedness of the neural pathways of the brain. The criss-crossing slats evoke the “grey matter,” the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where all information is processed.
The idea is also to make everything visible, transparent and exposed. The multi-talented, 53-year-old Arnout Visser defines himself as a ‘formfinder with a passion for glass.’ His lamps and tableware are often fluid and free-form, and nearly always transparent. This is one of the reasons why the theme of transparency appealed to him as well in the design of the House of Smarts.
Mentjens describes the design also as a labyrinth or a maze, or an interpretation of complicated printing plates, or computer chips, symbolic of rational thought and artificial intelligence.
Mentjens did not have to look far to find the connection between brains and the location, as Eindhoven is known as the technological centre of the Netherlands. Says Mentjens: “In 2011, Eindhoven was declared to be the ‘world’s smartest region’ by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). This is in no small measure due to initiatives such as “Brainport Region Eindhoven.”
The 51-year-old Maurice Metjens and his team are award-winning designers of retail, hospitality and museum spaces including the park-themed waiting area of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. - Tuija Seipell.
Photography: Arjen Schmitz