Vitra Showroom, Amsterdam

The Brief

Having decided to move their Amsterdam showroom into an old industrial munitions complex, Vitra asked us to facilitate the interior design of the space and contribute to the architectural planning. Embodying the company ethos and business needs, the final design also needed to maximise the space in order to accommodate several showrooms, a shop, sales office, staff cantina, presentation and furniture mockup rooms, warehousing facilities and a workshop.

The Challenge

As we were converting historic buildings, minimum intervention to the existing fabric was required. However we also needed to unite the three disparate buildings to create a natural flow between office and showroom spaces.

We also had to allow enough space to create backdrops for displaying existing furniture collections, whilst retaining flexibility to house temporary exhibitions, future displays and products.

The Solution

The revised building layout means staff and visitors now enter through the end of the new T-shaped building designed by Braaksma & Roos Architects. This building sits between the two retained heritage buildings, the rear of which overlooks the green bank of the canal from a large picture window. We exaggerated this perspective with an organising red carpet runner, along which the reception desk, display boxes and seating areas are all placed.

On each side of the reception are two linear offices where we installed long workbenches with screened private concentration booths at the ends. This meant we were able to naturally delineate the area and enhance the whole space with a continuous linear roof light above.

Finally, to increase and make the most of the floor space for product displays in the showrooms, we added mezzanine floors. White polished resin planes were used to split the grey epoxy concrete floor into a series of two-dimensional display zones for different designers’ products. We also used the symbolic red carpet runner to mark out the space and added interest and breaks by installing moveable hanging information panels.

The Reaction

“The Amsterdam showroom is breathtaking.”Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra Chairman

The new showroom has featured in Projekt Interieur and Reizen & Vrije Tijd


Gary Turnbull