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Character Builder

(March 2017) posted on Thu Mar 16, 2017

Designer Hilary Lancaster does her history homework and shops locally to give a former office building near Amsterdam a homey new soul.

By Christina Green

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“The original idea for the accessories and artwork was to use very simple Dutch objects in repetition,” recalls the designer. That approach is perhaps most apparent in the breakfast area’s animal skulls, a reference to traditional lodge homes in Holland, which are often adorned with such hunting-inspired decor. A mismatched mix of vintage mirrors, bells and blue jars in the dining spaces fortify the repetition notion while imbuing a sense of coziness reminiscent of rural retreats.

Urban Lodge Hotel
Oversized numbers act as memorable indicators of which floor a guest is on, while reclaimed wood cupboards tucked behind them conceal storage.

For continuity, themes from the public spaces were echoed in the guest rooms via a wood and concrete aesthetic. “If we had a large budget these would have been the actual materials, but as this was not the case, we used faux ones such as vinyl, laminate and wallpaper,” explains the designer. “We wanted a lodge-type feeling so we used oak veneer (laminate) on the headboard and cupboards … The urban part has concrete-effect wallpaper and floors.”

Punches of blue throughout the accommodations also take cues from Delftware. Plates serve as artwork above the beds. In the bathrooms, low-cost white tiles offset pricier blue and white accent tiles, which were created by a local artist and show off traditional Dutch motifs.

Developing a truly authentic design scheme in what could be perceived as a lackluster locale offered a two-fold lesson: There’s no need to overshoot the budget to deliver a strong statement and (perhaps more importantly) stick to the story. “We tried to use nearby suppliers as much as possible to save on costs, but sourcing reclaimed wood and having some furnishings made in Amsterdam—such as the large bench opposite reception—also added the local touch,” notes Lancaster.

“We always try to create a narrative from which the design will emerge,” she adds. “That’s why we start with research and deep concept work. It can take longer, but the result is worth it. There is nothing more soulless than ‘copy-and-paste’ design.”

From commercial to cozy, there’s no soulless detail left inside the Sloterdijk property.

OWNER/OPERATOR: Alex Chang, ceo, Urban Lodge Hotel
DESIGN FIRM: Fusion Interiors Group
ARCHITECT: Kentie en Partners; Architekten BV
DESIGN CONSULTANTS: Modular (lighting)
ART: Muzéo
FABRICS: Andy Thornton; Sancal
FIREPLACE: Focus Creation
FURNITURE: Andy Thornton; Fama Spain; Wiboma; Zuiver
LIGHTING: Andy Thornton; Brut; Dezign Lover; Modular; Serax; Zuiver
VINTAGE OBJECTS: Brut; Chez Kuom; Neef Louis


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