You wouldn’t think seven-year-olds would do a design tour of Amsterdam would you? Well, my children surprised even me. OK, I admit, I sprinkled in design stores with liberal stops for snacks and playgrounds.
The weekend we were in Amsterdam was the 10th annual city tour for Elle Inside Design Amsterdam. It consisted of stores, pop-up shops, galleries, cafes and hotels all with a design interest. Mostly, we just wandered the city and went into a place whenever we saw the yellow Inside Design sign.
Mariska Meijers Amsterdam
The Mariska Meijers store on Singel was right next to where we were staying. Mariska was on hand to discuss her work. She is an artist as well as a product designer. We loved her bright exuberant colours and intricate patterns. I bought one of the tray tables from her store – they store flat and are perfect for drinks when guests come over.
There was a pop-up shop for Workmates Presents, a Dutch industrial design collective, in the underground train station being built to connect the north and south of Amsterdam. My son was completely fascinated to see a station in the process of being built. Apparently the project is 5 years behind schedule but this particular station will be open in a few months. Yes, and I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you.
My kids absolutely loved Kitsch Kitchen located on the edge of the Jordaan neighbourhood because of its grown-up novelty store vibe. They sell furniture, paper, toys, desk accessories etc. all with a kitschy aesthetic. In small doses, these products would inject a sense of humour into your home. The skull candle below would fit into this year’s trend for adding a dark edge to your home.
Across the street from Kitsch Kitchen, Roppongi is a Japanese store selling beautiful Japanese handicrafts, clothes and food. My son bought a lovely set of chopsticks shaped like the shinkansen (bullet train).
Walls Gallery is an art gallery located on one of the main canals, Prinsengracht. They put on a display of interesting (maybe a bit too far fetched for me) design objects. My family opted to sit outside and watch the canal boats at this place. I liked the pretty mustard coloured bulb-shaped candles and also the candleholder which spun around from the heat of the melting candles.
Dutch Design Year
Dutch Design Year had a pop-up shop and art gallery in a venue near Central Station. They had a variety of cool items. I couldn’t resist buying the molded candle below.
All The Luck in The World and Charlie+Mary/The Proud Otter Cafe
All the Luck in the World is a store in De Pijp (a trendy up-and-coming area) right near the Albert Cuypstraat market. Although this street market is supposed to be the most famous in The Netherlands, we found it crowded and full of junk. All the Luck in the World, though, has got lots of great new designs, vintage finds and handcrafted items. Next door is a clothes concept store (Charlie+Mary) which has a cafe in the back with delicious cakes (The Proud Otter Cafe). After pushing through a sea of humanity at the street market, we were grateful for a calm place to have a drink and a snack.
We also had lunch at Wolvenstraat 23 a hip cafe in the 9 Streets neighborhood. The walls were filled with art, the tables teeming with trendy locals and the food was excellent. Apparently, this place is famous for having no name – Wolvenstraat 23 is technically the address. Even Prince when he was going through his no-name phase used a symbol as an identifier.
What did you think? Would you consider doing a design tour in a city that you are visiting?