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From Dutch state monument to la dolce vita – Huis Vasari

An iconic 17th century canal house in the heart of Amsterdam has been given a new lease of life as a new cultural hub and swish Italian restaurant.
8 June, 2022
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Built in 1660 by Dutch classicist architect Philip Vingboon, the historic building was home to the Cromhout family for nearly two centuries and, since the 1970s, has remained a state monument. Until recently, it housed The Cromhout Museum and The Biblical Museum.

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Now, the iconic canal house along the Herengracht in the heart of Amsterdam has been given a new lease of life as a new creative and cultural hub, thanks to a project by Dutch investment management company Amerborgh, which partnered with design and customer experience agency UXUS on the design of Huis Vasari.

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Amerborgh, whose portfolio comprises a number of arts and cultural organisations and venues including the acclaimed Felix Meritis building, have sympathetically restored the building and renamed it after the Italian art historian Giorgio Vasari.

Huis Vasari will incorporate Amerborgh’s recently acquired Vrije Academie, the largest national educational institute for art which aims to make cultural education as widely accessible as possible. Lectures will take place in the historic, frescoed rooms. Alongside the academy, the building will also house creative businesses, retail and hospitality, and will welcome a mix of visitors, educators, entrepreneurs and thinkers.

It has been incredible yet challenging to work on a space with such a rich history - George Gottl, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at UXUS

The design agency has lifted spaces with refined, contemporary fixtures and finishes. Existing architecture has been accentuated using mirror inserts and recessed paint finishes, while the furniture used throughout pays tribute to Italian mid-century design. Elevated materials punctuate the space to create a dynamic and contemporary feel, including white marble, textured warm wood, brushed brass detailing alongside elegantly used paint finishes across the different spaces, as well as Thonet chairs.

UXUS has also designed Bar Vasari, an exciting new restaurant, café and espresso bar on the lower ground floor, along with the reception, waiting area and a retail space selling art, books and gifts on the ground floor of the building.

Bar Vasari will immerse visitors into an authentic Italian culinary experience with a ‘dolce vita’ vibe. The restaurant, cafe and bar consists of three distinctive spaces on the ground floor. The mid-century Milanese espresso bar central to the design features marble high tables and wooden high chairs and creates an everyday informal setting.

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The garden room features café seating with the original fireplace and wall sconces having been retained, with the addition of brass table lights. The private dining space which seats eight guests and is located in the authentic 17th century kitchen features the original stove and built-in cabinetry alongside contemporary furniture including pastel green upholstered chairs.

The retail space features wooden shelving and a central layered table which provides space for the display of art, objects and books available for purchase. The existing wooden ceiling has been retained and is echoed in the timber and marble counter.

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George Gottl, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at UXUS, comments: “We wanted to create a complete brand experience for Huis Vasari and The Vrije Academie comprising a welcoming reception, retail space and dining experience. It has been incredible yet challenging to work on a space with such a rich history and we approached the design to sensitively treat original features, paying tribute to the architecture while also elevating the space to create a contemporary consumer experience, look and feel.”

This article was written by Anna Marie-Casas, and first appeared on Designerati: https://designerati.co.uk/2022...

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