As if charming canals and beautiful bicycle paths weren’t reasons enough to visit Amsterdam, the cosmopolitan city just welcomed another beautiful landmark with a gorgeous multipurpose space for both work and play. Converted from a former tram depot in Amsterdam west by design firm Studio Modijefsky, the cavernous Kanarie Club is a stunning example of adaptive reuse that’s refreshingly modern without compromising the building’s historic integrity.
Although Amsterdam is better known for its canals, the city also prides itself on its extensive tram network still in use today. To pay tribute to the old trams, the architects carefully preserved elements of the De Hallen tram depot, formerly used to service broken trams, during the restoration process. The new interior pays homage to the materials and color palette of the 19th century tram depot, from the custom-made furniture that mimics the vintage design of old electric tram seats to the tram signage and language adopted for the restaurant signage. The architects bring greater attention to the old trams with light-integrated arches and enclaves aligned with the tram rails in the ground.
Tall vaulted ceilings, skylights, and large windows fill the venue with natural light, while the open layout adds to the sense of spaciousness. Exposed brick, industrial lighting, and multiple references to the tram depot’s history give the space an industrial chic vibe, while the bold colors, strings of light, and tropical plants gives it a playful edge. The centrally located bar placed atop a platform forms the focal point of the venue. Level changes help delineate different spaces. During the day the Kanarie Club functions more as co-working space and is outfitted with lockers, charging points, and built-in USBs. The space also has restaurant amenities and a kitchen.
The most playful space in the Kanarie Club is the Pool Bar, a lounge area with a blue-painted pool that has no water. Studio Modijefsky writes: “The concept is taken from the squatters who used to live in the old tram depot before its renovation, they used the leaking water from the ceiling to create an inside pool for themselves. The new pool however will not be filled with water. With round comfy cushions and a splash of blue everywhere, it’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a cocktail. Made out of blue rubber with a stroke of matching tiles, the pool is complimented with a typical pool railing and a wavy mirror element on the bar lift. Pool signs and graphics with a direct reference to swimming pool rules have been used in the space to emphasize the identity of this part of the interior.”
Images by Maarten Willemstein