Renowned brands behind one front door
Interview with Ton Minkels and Rob Cornelissen by Viveka van de Vliet
In a beautiful area of Amsterdam, at the north end of Cruquiuseiland, the office of Design Post Amsterdam offers a view of the glistening water with its houseboats and the light shining through the many windows of the two floors of this interior collective. In the showroom, Design Post Amsterdam presents renowned brands such as Arco, Arper, Casala, Eikelenboom, Kvadrat and Montis, which have an area of 1500 square meters to show their collections together.
In addition to presentations of current design collections focused on lighting, textiles, and furniture, Design Post Amsterdam itself regularly organises events and workshops. These often include appealing speakers – from young designers to established architects – who talk about current issues that interest the target group: a hundred or so interior design professionals, including architects, project designers, stylists, and the press.
‘The city has a lot to offer in terms of creativity and has a many permanent showrooms and design shops,’ say Ton Minkels and Rob Cornelissen of Design Post Amsterdam. ‘But there’s no event that connects them like Eindhoven with Dutch Design Week or London with Clerkenwell Design Week.’
To be honest, they themselves already had an idea of organising something like Designers Saturday in Langenthal, Switzerland, which is specifically aimed at the professional target group and similar to what GLUE is doing now. ‘But we simply lacked time and organisational power,’ says Cornelissen (responsible for Eikelenboom, with labels such as Luceplan, Vibia, HollandsLicht, and Santa & Cole) and Minkels (responsible for the Italian brand Arper).
‘Such an event is twofold: you make architects aware of what is present elsewhere in the city and in our showroom, and, on the other hand, you throw open your doors and receive people in your own home. GLUE is the originator of that idea. The three-day event also fits in well in these times of corona: you can visit various locations fanned out over the city by bike,’ says Cornelissen.
If GLUE is there to glue the Amsterdam design world together, Cruquiuseiland is the glue that convinced many creatives that it is an ideal place in Amsterdam to set up your studio or showroom, ever since the Rijnboutt architectural firm transformed the former industrial area into a lively living-working environment at the mouth of the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. Meanwhile, creativity is concentrated on a number of square meters and you will find, among others, the Dutch showrooms of the Italian brands Moroso and Flos, LEVS Architects, studio Linse (interior designer Paul Linse), and studio Henk.
So, there’s plenty to do here. Consumers are also very welcome at GLUE, say Cornelissen. They already have a presentation in mind for the design route. ‘The interior has undergone a metamorphosis and the presentations have been completely renewed. There will be plenty of attention paid to the challenges that interior designers and architects face in the interpretation of “after corona” work environments.’
Design Post Amsterdam is a successor to the famous Pakhuis Amsterdam that was founded fifteen years ago with the aim of presenting different brands side by side behind one common front door. It was a progressive initiative at the time. After it closed its doors in 2012, Design Post Amsterdam provided a continuation with this new hotspot for interior design enthusiasts and professionals eight years ago. ‘We too see a synergy between different brands that are in fact each other’s competitors but that have common ground,’ says Cornelissen.
Design Post Amsterdam shows the power of the whole. ‘All these brands with their own networks provide a multitude of contacts, many more than if you do it on your own,’ says Minkels. Besides, there’s only one place for a company to be located and that’s Amsterdam, they believe. ‘Our foreign partners like to come to this city, to our waterfront location, and that wouldn’t have been the case if we had been somewhere on the periphery,’ they say with conviction. ‘In our boat, we’ll let them discover Amsterdam from the water. Everyone appreciates boating through the canals, especially after dark. It gives you a literal and figurative insight into the city.’
‘The bond with Amsterdam goes beyond that,’ says Cornelissen. ‘In the nineties, I spent the first ten years of my working life in Amsterdam. The combination of comfortable residential areas and a vibrant pub and nightlife, and the international character makes the city unique to me. In addition to Amsterdam-Zuid and the Rivierenbuurt, East – where we are also based – is now on the rise,’ he believes. Cornelissen has a tip. ‘If you’re in Amsterdam for GLUE, visit the lasting pearl on the edge of East: De Kas, a top restaurant that is conceptually ahead of its time.’
Meanwhile, they also feel that you can’t bring Design Post Amsterdam to the attention of professionals in the creative industry often enough. ‘Since most people know us but our location not good enough, GLUE is a good time to literally put ourselves on the map and bring our brands to the attention of potential new contacts, including young architects and designers.’ Design Post Amsterdam will open the doors of its showroom wide.