It's hard to believe that De Ceuvel, a beautiful multi-use urban oasis in Amsterdam, used to be a desolate industrial lot. Planned by Dutch design firm space&matter, the site is now a thriving rendezvous spot that emphasizes the benefits of salvaging materials while also helping to restore the landscape. Grassy knolls, grounded old houseboats, shops and a public restaurant welcome eager visitors to enjoy the once barren site.
The Municipality of Amsterdam granted space&matter and their associates access to the De Ceuvel site with a 10-year lease. Because of the temporary nature of the project, the designers’ budget was extremely limited. In order to develop their dream space, space&matter decided to emphasize recycled, reused and found materials for building their urban oasis. The structures on the site are also easy to move, making them relocatable after the lease is up.
De Ceuvel faces a canal, opening up the design for waterside dining, paths and park land. Taking inspiration from the site’s former life as a shipping yard, the designers recruited secondhand houseboats destined for the junkyard for use as shops, offices, workshops and meeting places. Surrounding the boats and the bamboo paths connecting them are soil-cleaning plants that help filter any toxins left in the earth.
For the next 10 years, De Ceuvel will serve as an urban getaway, offering up not only park space, but event venues, restaurants and creative boutiques on land that would otherwise remain unused.