29th April 2021 | The list
The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is built out of historic family houses, the six Herengracht canal houses joined together are designed to tell the stories of the people who once lived there while simultaneously embracing the famous restrained elegance of Dutch style.
There are many subtle stories weaved into the design of this project, and it was always the intention for the narrative of this hotel to look back to its historic nature. What was not intended however, was to find original 17th century, hand-drawn designs of the hotels rococo style plasterwork hidden behind the walls of the reception area. This discovery was a look back to the past, when artistry was truly valued.
Dutch design is famously paired back, it was important that the design for this project paid respect to this and so as a way to preserve the past, but also give the building a new story, the beautifully drawn plasterwork plans were replicated and used as the artwork for the hotel corridors.
The design narrative for this project was formed early, alongside client discussions and ideas about the Waldorf Astoria as a brand and the local culture of Amsterdam. However, as the project progressed the history and stories of the space itself began to reinforce the narrative that was already drawn up.
Before the buildings became a hotel they were a bank, the original vault room of the bank was turned into a quirky bar. The back bar wall is built up of the original vaults, the result is a space that feels fun and contemporary while still paying homage to the building’s past life. As the hotel was undergoing renovation, there were several vaults that were found unopened! What they contained remains a mystery…
Dutch style frowns at extravagance, it was therefore important that all finishes, details, textures and products were carefully considered, sourced and used sparingly, but tastefully. Large, single piece cuts of marble are generally not used as they are costly, however as this project looked to only use high value products where they would have real effect, G.A were able to invest in one piece slabs of marble for the baths and vanities in the guestroom bathrooms. The result feels luxurious and refined, yet sensitively discreet all at once.