Dutch design can be described as quirky, innovative and humorous, but it can simultaneously be described as sober, minimalistic and even extravagant. Until the eighties, the Netherlands was mostly known for its graphic design. Dutch design quickly became a well-known term, especially in the nineties when a group called Droog entered the Salon de Mobile in Milan. What better place to try and get to the heart of Dutch design than by talking a stroll through the city starting near Central Station.
The Best Dutch Design Shops in Amsterdam
Westerstraat 187 | moooi.com
Mostly known for his Knotted Chair (1995), which he designed for the Droog Label, Marcel Wanders is probably one of the best-known names of Dutch design. Moooi, which is about a fifteen-minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal, is the design label of Marcel Wanders (formerly known as Wanders Wonders). In Dutch mooi means beautiful and Wanders added an extra ‘o’ to the name. It’s a good place to start your design tour. Wanders is still very involved as a product designer and owner. He makes playful signature designs, ranging from lighting and furniture to accessories.
If we mention Moooi, we have to also mention Maarten Baas. Another prominent Dutch designer, Maarten Baas went to the Design Academy of Eindhoven. While still studying, his Knuckle candlestick was put into production. Maarten Baas graduated in 2002 with the now widely known Smoke and Clay series. The Smoke series involved Baas burning furniture pieces and then treating them with a coating to make them perfectly useable again. The Smoke series has been purchased for various permanent collections of leading museums all over the world (Victoria & Albert Museum, Groninger Museum, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) and is still included in the Moooi series.
Monday is probably not your favourite day of the week but this might change if you head to the Jordaan area between 9 AM and 1 PM. At the Noordermarkt there is a good chance you’ll run into some amazing Dutch design. Some of the stands sell top-notch vintage furniture. Check out the ones close to café Finch and maybe you’ll score some Dutch design.
Spuistraat 172 | xbank.amsterdam
Right next to Hotel W, we find X BANK, a self-proclaimed treasure trove of Dutch design. And it is quite impressive with is 700 square meters of more than 180 Dutch design labels. They do events and exhibitions as well.
The Frozen Fountain
Prinsengracht 645 | frozenfountain.nl
One of the shops that first offered the collections of these designers was The Frozen Fountain, another Dutch-design hub in the city. It’s been in the city since the eighties, though at a different location. It all started with an idea of Dick Dankers, who wanted to bring designers and craftspeople together in an exquisite and original collection. The big breakthrough came in the nineties when it started selling one-off items and limited editions by now top designers like Piet Hein Eek, Jurgen Bey, Marcel Wanders, Ineke Hans, Hella Jongerius and Studio Job. Piet Hein Eek had just released his now famous (and horrendously copied) closet made from scrap wood. The series of scrap wood articles and renewed old materials was the beginning of a whole new direction in the world of Dutch (and international) design. Not only will you find furniture at The Frozen Fountain, but the works of great Dutch photographers are also featured in this awesome shop.
matter .of material
Kerkstraat 163 | matterofmaterial.com
To find a mixture of vintage, second-hand and new design, we walk over to matter .of material. In the store you will find a selection of contemporary craftsmanship and applied arts by designers like lex pott, christien meindertsma, alex de witte and brands like t.e. (thomas eyck) and woven wonders.
Rusland 3 | wonderwood.nl
Talking about design, we can’t forget about WonderWood, a shop and gallery combined. Here you can discover the wonderful world of wood in design, furniture, art, gadgets and new talents. WonderWood has a wide and interesting collection of vintage chairs and tables from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Besides the rare originals, they also sell re-editions of well-known design furniture, so-called plywood classics. They also show new design pieces from Dutch designers like Richard Hutten, Aldo Bakker, and Jeroen Wand to name a few. Hint: don’t forget to look at the ceilings dating back to 1565. Though over 450 years old, they’re still in good condition.
Staalstraat 7a | droog.com
Anyone who knows anything about Dutch design knows Droog – which means dry in Dutch. It was founded in 1993 by Gijs Bakker and Renny Ramakers when they entered the Salon de Mobile in Milan for the first time and presented their Droog design. The name refers to the simplicity and also the dry sense of humour of the objects they brought to the Salon de Mobile. They created an uproar in the media with objects like a chair made out of rags, the Chest of Drawers and a Milk Bottle lamp by designer Tejo Remy. They brought ironic design, perhaps as a counter-movement against all the serious Scandinavian design going on in the world at that time. This year they celebrate their 25th anniversary. The exhibition will be open from 26 April until 27 May 2018.
Museumplein 10 | stedelijk.nl
Walking south one can’t miss the Stedelijk Museum which has some of the icons of Dutch design in its collection, including the Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders and the Red and Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld.
In collaboration with one of the biggest names in Dutch design, Rem Koolhaas, the Stedelijk Museum has created a permanent collection known as Stedelijk BASE. Koolhaas is the founding partner of architectural firm OMA and its research-oriented counterpart AMO. It’s housed in a 1340 m2 basement, previously used for temporary exhibitions.
Haarlemmerdijk 39 | restored.nl
One of the styles that inspired modern Dutch design is the art movement known as De Stijl (The Style or Neoplasticism). It involved both artists and architects. They advocated for abstraction and used colours that they viewed as universal like white, black and primary colours. Piet Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld are the most well-known examples. Less well known but found at a cute location in the South of Amsterdam is Das Gaaf. You might be lucky and find a Cees Braakman here.
Store Without A Name
Haarlemmerdijk 26 | storewithoutahome.nl
While on Haarlemmerdijk, we can’t just walk past Store without a name. Originally it started out as a pop-up store. Drifting around the city like a nomad, it finally found a permanent home. The shop sells affordable pieces of design that also work well for gifts. They have a whole range of Dutch design that is a bit smaller than actual furniture, such as ceramics from Lammers & Lammers. Or you may like the Storytiles, which hint at typical Dutch Tiles but have their own illustrations. For unknown reasons you will find a huge selection of animal-related artworks like carpets, folded paper items and stuffed animals.
Although Amsterdam North is not at all logical in this situation, it’s well worth the ferry ride. Neef Louis is a well-known concept in the city of Amsterdam. Producers go there for the decoration of their sets and loads of restaurants borrow interiors from there to resell at their location. They have items from a real station clock to real vintage chairs, closets and the like; you never know what you might run into next.
What is the allure of Dutch Design?
So, what is it about Dutch design? Author and journalist Tracy Metz explains that “The Dutch have the ability to make fun of themselves and the stubbornness to combine things that usually don’t combine at all.” We see this in all of these shops and places on our tour. We hope you have some fun with that.
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