Snapshot: Dutch department store De Bijenkorf converts a tower in the roof into an artist residency, collaborating with i29 architects and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Look up from below and you just might see a tower made of old concrete. This tower, located above the Dutch department store De Bijenkorf in Amsterdam’s Dam Square, is home to the newest artist residency space by i29 architects in partnership with the Rijksmuseum. At first glance, the space is simple and divided into two parts: that which is white and that which is wood. Look a little further though and you’ll see a whimsically hidden world amidst the modern interior design.
The standout structure of the studio is the wooden installation made of pinewood panels that spans from floor to ceiling. Each portion of the installation is playfully divided by a series of boxes and levels that may be accessed via multiple flat wooden ladders. One level contains a desk, another hides a pantry, and the highest level contains a daybed enclosed in a cantilevered cube. In total, the structure is a kind of living cabinet, each level providing a new perspective.
The largest portion of the studio has been kept entirely white. This area features the work of other Dutch designers: a lounge chair from Hay, a wardrobe from Leitmotiv, and pendant lights by Jasper Morrison. In addition, a white telescope has been placed next to the window, allowing the artist in residence to use the outside world for inspiration and creativity.
In the center of the studio, is a black iron spiral staircase that twists from the floor and through the ceiling up to the cupola at the top of the tower. It’s monumental size and design is in obvious contradiction with the rest of the space and adds to the studio’s fantastical and almost Seussian like layout.
The first artist in residence to enjoy the space will be Dutch artist Maarten Baas. He, and those who follow, will be publicly presenting their work in partnership with department store De Bijenkorf. i29’s “Room on the Roof” adds another touch of artistry and inspiration to the already culturally rich city of Amsterdam.
Photography by Ewout Huibers