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Downtown Apartment

A play of light and shadow

Amsterdam
2018-2019

This 17th century warehouse absorbed a few hundred years worth of changes. But adaptability takes its toll: a proliferation of hive-like, unnecessarily small and dark rooms jutting out from a lengthy hallway rendered much of the ample space unusable to its current owners. Their principle desire: to uncage the building’s splendid light and allow it to flood the very core of the apartment.

We decluttered the floor plan, ridding it of underused spaces. Instead, we opted for a simple logic. Here, the hallway — traditionally exclusively for passing through — is for living in. A bespoke piece of furniture in a minimal pallet of oak, alabastrino and an off-white, silky lacquer runs the full, 28m length of the apartment.
Its functions always connect with the space directly opposite, each side of the hall a half of the whole: entrance—wardrobe, work station—tea station, administration—book case. Between these functional pairs there’s room for play. Angled ‘shadow boxes’, moveable blocks in different textures and soft tones, bounce the light around, creating a dynamic effect that is at once dramatic and subtle.

Fluted glass doors slide to divide the living area from the central space, allowing the residents to live and work flexibly, but never blocking the natural light. Rather than a separation, for which there is no need in this two-person household, the hall makes a continuous, gentle connection, giving way to a contemporary home in a building that was, historically, never intended to be lived in.

Team

Renée Appelo
Inès van Sandick
Kevin Goh

Photography

Mathieu van Ek