A gateway to Amsterdam’s beautiful Oosterpark, Generator Amsterdam opens its doors to surroundings that include exotic birds, ancient willow trees and a whimsical children’s playground, as well as the Oost neighbourhood, the city’s hottest new destination for art, fashion and independent shops bars and restaurants.
Generator’s global design partner, DesignAgency has collaborated with local architects IDEA Ontwerp to both convert and restore a former health sciences building and zoological museum, and breathe new life into the hundred-year-old brick structure, establishing the most impressive Generator to date.
The 168-room hostel follows Generator’s trendsetting concept of great design and an array of spaces that encourage social interaction — all at an affordable price. Many of the building’s original, heritage-designated spaces have been preserved and overlaid with contemporary twists. The design confidently mixes the history and charm of the building with Dutch references from folk culture and iconic design, as well as custom contemporary art and the playful lighting that is synonymous with the Generator brand. Partnerships with local businesses such as local coffee vendor Stooker Roasting Company and Vanmoof Bicycles make the project stronger and more successfully integrated into its surroundings.
The partnership with various Dutch artists and designers in particular helped to drive the project to new creative heights. Blom & Blom collected, restored and redesigned hundreds of light fixtures, many from abandoned factories in East Germany, each of which riffs on the building’s new-old duality. Dutch-French muralist and graphic artist Pieter Ceizer painted witty slogans on the inside of the elevator shaft that upend the otherwise mundane experience of travelling between floors. His idea to do so inspired DesignAgency to install glass panes in the elevator cars.
Amsterdam’s The Bright Side Gallery coordinated a team of additional artists, including Kamp Horst, Graphic Surgery, Hans van Bentem and Gino Bud Hoiting. Their sculptures, drawings and graphic interventions give each of their respective spaces strong visual identities, unique personalities and above all conversation starters.
According to DesignAgency principal, Anwar Mekhayech, “Generator Amsterdam grew from a process of getting to know the city, meeting people and discovering its existing hotel scene and lifestyle brands. We also explored the opportunities and limitations of the amazing historic building. More so than ever, collaborations with artists and locals were essential in helping us bring our aspirations to life. We hope that the joy and authenticity of this creative process will touch guests and locals, inspiring them to make their own Amsterdam discoveries.”