Kasstoor rooted on IJburg
*This interview belongs to GLUE 2020*
Interview with Michel Troost by Viveka van de Vliet.
Guess who’s back? GLUE is a good momentum to show that Kasstoor has resurfaced. With a new logo, a new website, and a new collection that is indebted to the surprising high-end profile of yesteryear. For a year nowa, Kasstoor – formerly De Kasstoor & Wonen 2000 – has had a new owner: Michel Troost. We know him as the managing director of Vitra Netherlands, where he worked for ten years, and in recent years as the managing director of Montis.
The interior design shop on Rozengracht was once a household name but has been a bit under the radar lately since the shop moved to IJburg ten years ago. The inscription on the facade on Rozengracht is a reminder of the past: “In de Swarte Kasstoor” it says, a reference to the time when there was a hat factory there where hats were made of beaver fur (castor = beaver in French).
“Kasstoor belongs in Amsterdam, the shop is rooted here,” says Troost, who also has roots in the city. “It is a creative metropolis, with a public that wants high-quality design, and where good architects and interior designers are located.” Troost is determined and convinced that he has something to add. And he has been doing so for a year now by setting up an accessible design shop where you can find a surprising mix ‘n match of products from established and up-and-coming brands with a higher design value and in different price ranges.
He is having a lot of fun. “I like being a linchpin for architects, agents, suppliers, and consumers; so many extraordinary, enterprising people visit looking for great stuff. It’s interesting to scout design for them that I find relevant, that you won’t encounter everywhere else, and with which I create a look of my own.” Troost wants to serve a target group that characterises itself as creative Amsterdammers who don’t have much living space, have money for high-quality, sustainable furniture with high design value, and who want to be surprised. However, people from the Gooi, Leiden, and Flevoland also come here for advice and to buy products from brands that cannot be found in their region.
According to Troost, this is an exciting mix of creative Italian design brands such as miniforms, Moroso, B&B Italia, Edra, and Zanotta, and Scandinavian design such as carpets from Finnish brand Woodnotes, and Danish textile brand Kvadrat by his good friend Marcel Vermeulen with whom he boxes at the gym a few times a week.
This is complemented by design from the rest of the world, such as furniture by Bensen from Vancouver, furniture manufacturer Stellar Works from Shanghai (which includes Danish designers), and German brand Thonet. But you will also find real design classics such as Jean Prouvé’s famous Direction Chair for Vitra.
In any case, it’s a nice place to wander around. On two floors, you will find colours, types of wood, fabrics, and lighting that contrast beautifully with the rough unfinished concrete of the rugged industrial building of 4500 square meters. And where most interior design stores benefit from little daylight, light and views are abundant here.
“I am familiar with many design stores, and Amsterdam has a fantastic range, just look at Mobilia and The Frozen Fountain. But, in the centre, you hardly find any single-brand showrooms, like those of brands like Artifort and Montis; they are far away in the south of the country and that’s a pity for the city. There is also a certain lack of synergy, even in this neighbourhood. GLUE could change that,” Troost believes.
For the event, the Kasstoor owner has an exhibition in mind that is spread throughout the building and consists of clusters of new design classics and real vintage furniture, such as the Egg Chair from the 1950s and 1960s.
He is hoping for potential new audiences, but also that people who are persistent in thinking that the interior design shop is still on Rozengracht (which hasn’t been the case for ten years), or that the shop no longer exists at all, can see with their own eyes during GLUE that Kasstoor is alive and well.