Hotel Design Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s Fletcher Hotel is round, which created some intriguing challenges for the hotel interior design. However it was the restaurant design in this eye-catching building that proved to be Robert Kolenik’s breakthrough moment.
The interior designer is known for his use of unique, honest, natural materials that also emanate luxury and minimalism. For Fletcher Hotels, this is the first time that an entirely new building has been constructed in Amsterdam. The hotel’s roundness meant that Kolenik was confronted with limited space which nevertheless needed to be fully filled. ‘At times, we struggled with the space, but we did manage to come up with playful solutions for the hotel design.’ Kolenik carried the architect’s vision through into the interior. ‘The building attracts a lot of attention. Everyone has an opinion about the blue building right beside the A2. I’ve also emphasised this element of surprise inside the hotel by working mainly with round shapes.’ However the blue shades used on the outside walls have not been carried through into the interior. ‘This is because I wanted the heart of the hotel to be warm, homely and timeless,’ Kolenik explains.
The hotel design was based on Kolenik’s own ‘Eco Chic’ concept. ‘I believe that design should be sustainable. In addition to the homeliness, luxury and warmth that I have already mentioned, Eco Chic also stands for sustainability.’ For example, the interior designer uses ‘Ecoboard’. This board is made by pressing together agricultural residues with natural resin. Such materials would normally end up on the compost heap emitting large quantities of CO2. These include wheat fibre, straw and tomato plants whose crop has already been harvested. Ecoboard, which was used to make the sofas for the new Fletcher hotel, is a highly sustainable material which is readily biodegradable. This means that once its useful life is over, it can be returned to nature.
The round shapes of the bar and restaurant are a good reflection of the interior designer’s vision. For the lounge, Kolenik designed an eye-catching chandelier, ‘The Dream’ which may well be one of the largest in the world. The chandelier is four metres high and a staggering nine metres wide, and hangs above the bar in the Pi Sky Restaurant in the curve of the building. The chandelier’s bronze-grey glass balls were blown in the Czech Republic, and the piece was subsequently assembled in the Netherlands. Kolenik explains: ‘This took quite some doing, as “The Dream” weighs around 1500 kilos.’
TV tree in the bedrooms
The flat screen TV in the hotel rooms is suspended from a tree. When planning the hotel room design, working out where to put the TV proved a challenge. This was because nothing could be mounted on the outside wall. Kolenik then came up with the original idea of using a tree trunk. ‘I went into the woods with a forester. I was looking for a tree whose trunk could be anchored to the floor and whose branches would touch the ceiling. I found the ideal tree in the Amsterdamse Bos, with a perfect Y-shaped branch. This branch served as a model and 120 copies were produced. Each had a metal core to ensure sufficient stability and to house the COAX and electricity cables.’
Piano in the shape of a whale
Apart from the chandelier that hangs in the Sky Restaurant and Pi lounge, the large grand piano also serves as a striking eye-catcher. The largest piano in the world is shaped like a whale. The piano is fashioned entirely from sustainable materials (there are no ivory keys). Furthermore, part of the profit made on the sale of each instrument is donated to whale protection.
Sustainable cushions and sofas
Another sustainable interior design choice is the Proud sofa. The feathers used are taken from organic chickens: ‘Happy chickens’. Sofa seat cushions are filled with soya foam rather than foam made from environmentally harmful petroleum products. The lift wall is also sustainable. For one side of the lift, Kolenik developed a new material. ‘This is recycled aluminium with gas injected into it to create a bubbly texture.’ This material is poured into epoxy resin, which creates a silver effect that is sparkling, natural and refreshing.