The new waterfront space for our client office and showroom dons directly onto Amsterdam’s main river IJ. The space benefitted from high ceilings and lots of light, but frankly, was otherwise quite boring. We wanted to create intimate and distinct working spaces without pulling up a single wall, retaining the strengths of the location and its connection to the water. The client’s brief to have their company’s identity and core business reflected on our spatial design quickly gave birth to the idea to sculpt the spaces from equidistant repeating drapes of a soft, semi-transparent fabric hanging from the ceiling, but cut at different lengths to allow for a meeting area, an office area, a seating area and a common area.
▼空间概览，overall view of the space ©Peter Tijhuis
We chose a neutral, natural and water-like hue for the fabric. As such, it doesn’t distract from, but serves the anti-space hewn from it. Coupled with the drapes’ natural rippling, the colour also echos the calm waves of the water right outside. sculpting the distinct spaces surrounded by these layers of fabric has an acoustic benefit as well. They feel intimate and separate, yet through the folds one never loses sight of the entire space and its outside environment.
▼公共空间，common space ©Peter Tijhuis
▼长短不一的织物划分不同区域，fabric in different lengths defining different areas ©Peter Tijhuis
▼透过幕帘看向室外环境，view to the outdoor environment through the drapes ©Peter Tijhuis
The drapes were lasercut to prevent fraying, and chord-weighted to guarantee just the right folds. A testimony to the client’s dedication to craftsmanship, the detailing is immaculate up to the double seams that connect strands of cloth. As such, our design is at once a magical display of what our client does best. We created a spatial identity, a design that translates the client’s core offering into their environment, so that it is at once an expression of their (brand)identity as well as a functional office space and showroom.
▼精致的幕帘展现公司品牌特征，delicate drapes expressing the brand identity ©Peter Tijhuis
Although the idea arrived quickly, its execution posed many a challenge. What we had in mind was for someone to experience the intimacy of a bubble, but still retain the experience of the whole space, respecting sight lines through and through. We played around with different shapes and transitions, domes, bubbles, corridors, cubicles… The biggest challenge we stared down was to get the distance between the drapes just right, something we tackled by making well over fifty 3D-renders.
▼幕帘细节，details of the drapes ©Peter Tijhuis
Even then, when the time came to do the actual hanging, we needed to make tweaks to the lengths of the drapes. For instance, we realised in practice that it was crucial to the design that the drapes didn’t touch the ground. When they did, the space felt oppressive, to cave-like, which, although an inspiration in the process, was not the effect were going for. The spacing we settled on creates a space that is at once divided and fluid, intimate yet connected, cosy yet light.
▼平面图，plan ©Beyond Space
▼剖面图，sections ©Beyond Space