Located on the picturesque Prinsengracht Canal, the newly opened Andaz Amsterdam is truly a reflection of modern day Dutch beauty and culture. Amsterdam’s own Marcel Wanders designed the sophisticated, imaginative interiors to be a 21st century adaptation of classic Dutch symbolism and iconography from across multiple time periods.
The hotel is a significant interior renovation of a nearly 40-year-old public library building. While not originally built as a hotel, this Andaz, which is the 500th Hyatt worldwide, has all of the amenities one would expect in the brand. And it has a distinctively Wanders touch: seemingly surreal interiors that evoke a sense of Alice in Wonderland, a spirit of creativity and nuance that sets the hotel apart from any other Hyatt or Andaz worldwide.
Connected to the city and context
Wanders not only transformed the interiors but he owns a stake in this Andaz, which is intricately connected to its context. In one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of central Amsterdam, the hotel is just four blocks from the Anne Frank House on the same canal and a short walk to museums such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which will hold a major Wanders exhibition in 2014.
In designing the Andaz, where patterns and symbolism overlap, Wanders found inspiration in everything from the Dutch Golden Age to the blue of Delft pottery. With its sense of connection to the city and its people, the hotel holds true to its motto: “arrive a tourist, leave a local.”
From the street, one enters the hotel through a narrow corridor with a low ceiling that is plastered in rococo stucco above short walls lined with short miniature doors. Here, Wanders is establishing a playful sequence of arrival; a transition from the outside world to the new, other world that he has designed for guests within.
That corridor leads to the breathtakingly tall and open atrium, where the real story of Andaz Amsterdam unfolds. Called The Observatory, this atrium (see more on page 96) is bright and sunny during the day thanks to skylights overhead, and dramatically lit at night with spheres and orbs that conjure the notion of constellations in the night’s sky. On the ground, a blue carpet is woven with the depiction of a Dutch East India Company map of the world in the Golden Age. Three glossy white tables are beneath white bell-like chandelier coverings. Tall, red tulip chairs designed by Wanders himself are clustered to define a sitting area adjacent to The Observatory.
Contemporary art is a major component of the intricate interior design. Video art by artists such as Ryan Gander, Yael Bartana, and Meiro Koizumi, among others, is on continual loop in multiple video monitors in corridors and public spaces. In juxtaposition, a corridor leading to the basement spa is lined in 25 large images of Japanese cat figurines that appear like they wave as one passes. The Dutch are said to have introduced cats to the Japanese.
Embracing two opposites
The 122 guest rooms display a quirky-yet minimalist sense. A concrete dressing table in each room features a ceramic wash basin hand painted by Wanders himself. The dramatic touch of each room is an image on the wall of a fish head connected to the stem of a champagne flute or the end of a spoon. At the connection is the three-cross symbol of the city of Amsterdam, symbolizing the motto Valiant, Steadfast, Compassionate. The overall image is a connected polarity—two items together to form a new whole, symbolic of the embracing of two opposites to challenge preconceived ideas.
The concept of connections to the all things local is evident in the restaurant, called Bluespoon. Here, the low-key, minimalist interior with a chef’s table and Franco-Dutch cuisine brings guests closer to the lifestyle of Amsterdammers. Even the cocktails, including One Minute Delft Blue and Lucky Librarian, are inspired by the creative city. Guests will truly experience Amsterdam and leave a local.
Key Design Highlights
- The Observatory atrium is lit with sphere and orb fixtures that conjure imagery of constellations: a metaphor for travel by night.
- Guest rooms include custom concrete dressing tables with wash basins each hand-painted by Wanders.
- References to Dutch history and iconography abound, with Delft blue in wallcoverings and many furnishings.
- The Bluespoon restaurant features a chef’s table, connecting guests to the fresh Franco-Dutch cuisine.
- Furnishings designed by Wanders are throughout, including his tulip chair.
- Designer: Marcel Wanders
- Client: Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Where: Amsterdam
- What: 122 total guest rooms, plus dining and meeting space
- Cost/sf: withheld at client’s request