concrete is proud to announce the opening of Zoku Amsterdam, an extended hotel concept that will change the hotel industry.
The first Zoku is now open for business in the heart of Amsterdam. The new workmeetsplay hotel concept has been created for the global nomad. Zoku creates a new category – a homeoffice hybrid, also suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighbourhood. Facilitating global living and working for the travelling professional, Zoku, Japanese for family, tribe or clan, disrupts the hotel industry. Zoku is a relaxed place to live, work and socialise with likeminded people while getting wired into the city. Zoku Amsterdam is located on the Weesperstraat, easily accessible by car and via public transport hubs, with quick connections to the city’s business, culture, entertainment and shopping areas.
In 2010 concrete was approached by the founders, Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius, to develop a new type of hotel focused on global nomads, the new generation of creative business travellers who like to mix work & play within a living environment. concrete immediately started thinking about a smart solution for the rooms, in which global nomads can stay longer, work longer, live longer and play longer. When the design process started, there was no physical building yet. And to be sure Zoku lofts could be implemented in almost every empty office building, the first principle was that the size should as much as possible follow the standard grid size of existing structures, namely a grid of 1.8 metres. This means the Zoku lofts provide a good solution to the growing number of unoccupied buildings.
Location: Weesperstraat 105, 1018 vn, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Client: Zoku and Beyond / HotelsAhead - Hans Meyer, Marc Jongerius
Project team concrete: Rob wagemans, maarten de geus, ulrike lehner, ayca dogan, bart de beer, murk wymenga, sofie ruytenberg, femke zumbrink, jolijn vonk, cathelijne vreugdenhil, matthijs hombergen, jeroen vester, paula gäbel, joyce kelder, erik van dillen
Concept development: Zoku in collaboration with concrete
Architect building: Mulderblauw architecten
Roof landscape: Dakdokters, Growndowntown
Graphic design: Wearepi
Photography: Ewout huibers
No. of rooms: 133
Total area: 5,800 m2
Duration construction: 18 months
Opening: May 2016
Bespoke signage: Signwise
Bespoke lighting: Frandsen, tde lighting
Terrace lighting: Inlite
Bespoke furniture: Meuviro
Loose furniture: Muuto (DK)
Room module: Polcom
Furniture: Kraud, MHB, Dakdokters
Floor: bolidt, EGE
Kitchen supplies: Levens
Zoku Amsterdam, the first to open, is situated in the ‘Metropool building’ at the Weesperstraat, a former office building by architect Arthur Staal. When you come from the city on your bike, like a typical Amsterdam resident, and leave the Rijksmuseum and skinny bridge behind you, you see a glimpse of a modernistic building with a seemingly floating top floor. Arthur Staal, also known for the Shell tower in the north of Amsterdam, always added something special to his buildings, known as ‘the crown’. On this crown concrete designed a traditional Dutch greenhouse, one of its kind in Amsterdam, which is connected to the existing structure. The guests’ first meeting with Zoku will be on top of the Metropool building, walking through a green oasis but still connected to the bustling city thanks to the amazing views. All public functions are allocated in the crown on the top floor. As soon as the guests enter the living room on the top floor and leave the city behind, this is when they become a Zoku member, and are able to meet other nomads, eat, play, work, read, and do all the stuff they would do at home. After meeting a Zoku sidekick, who will help them find their way in the temporary home, the full Zoku experience can begin.
Zoku Amsterdam is the first of many more to come. New locations are currently being explored in, for example, Paris.
DESIGN STORY / NARRATIVE
Entrance lobby on ground floor
When you approach the building you see a glimpse of large Zoku letters and the Zoku manifesto on the wall in a double height entrance lobby on the far right of the building. While you are waiting to go up, you can already get acquainted with the city via posters revealing the current cultural activities. The lift then brings you to the communal spaces of Zoku allocated in the crown of the building on the 6th floor, where you can check in.
Greenhouse on 6th floor
Arriving on the top floor, concrete designed a greenhouse that extends the communal spaces of Zoku, where you are surrounded by an urban jungle. Here the first meeting with Zoku takes place. Leaving the bustling city behind and walking through a corridor of glass with an outside feel you are guided to the communal spaces. The glass and steel structure full of green with great views of the Amsterdam skyline makes you feel on top of the world. This is the only architectural element added to the monumental building. When designing the greenhouse concrete looked at building structures of traditional Dutch greenhouses as they are found in the west of the Netherlands. The structure is as simple and light-weight as possible, to make it feel like a green oasis; like being outside but with the convenience of an inside space. The structure of the greenhouse carefully follows the floating zigzag façade of the 6th floor from where the hexagonal crown shape - a returning feature in the building - emerges.
Roof terrace on 6th floor
The greenhouse is surrounded by terraces, which also follow this hexagonal shape. Each terrace has its own function, with a pond, plants, herbs and hammocks, surrounded by a rooftop garden. concrete designed the tables on two hexagonal shaped terraces where you can grow your own vegetables and herbs and enjoy them while dining al fresco. The public rooftop garden allows residents and locals to experience the seasons in the middle of an urban environment. Adjacent to the greenhouse and communal spaces the terraces provide a great spot to relax and enjoy great views of the city
Leaving the city and the green oasis behind and entering the Zoku living room, you are embraced by the warm, cosy and light interior of the living room. If you did not register through the Zoku app yet, you can do this here at the fully equipped check-in booths located on the left and right side of the entrance. A Zoku sidekick will welcome you personally and give you the ins&outs for both Zoku and Amsterdam.
The bar is the beating heart of the living room. It is divided in three parts: the coffee table, the beer table and the central bar. At the high oak tables at the rear ends, you can start your morning coffee, grab a slice of cake, read the papers or have (alcoholic) drinks and snacks throughout the day, and, above all, get to know your neighbours. The bar in the centre, clad with green handmade tiles, gives you the possibility to hang out and chat with your friends. This bar is designed as a non-traditional bar and does not have a back or front; if you like you can get your own coffee or tap your own beer, but there will also be a sidekick available to provide assistance, if needed.
The bar is surrounded by cosy seating areas, where you can retreat alone or with friends, just to chat, work or eat and drink. When you decide to sit here, the transparent cabinets, made of white steel structures filled with plants and styling elements associated with home, work & play, enable you to remain connected to the bar area. If you want to sit more quietly, you can move towards the seating area near the windows next to the fireplaces, which will be especially cosy in winter, or to the ‘come on baby light my fire’ table on the left side of the building, where you can sit at a long oak communal table surrounded by a wealth of (candle) lights.
If you worked too much, need a break or want to watch your favourite sports, then you are in the right place. The game room in the right corner of the living room is separated from the rest of the space by a thin steel structure with glass doors. This room is soundproof, so you can watch TV or play games without disturbing other guests. The communal sofa gives you the possibility to get together with a bigger group. The fixtures behind the sofa feature integrated headphones, which you can use to watch TV or play a computer game without disturbing or being disturbed by others.
The living kitchen, located in the centre of the ‘Metropool’ building offers views towards the skinny bridge and the Rijksmuseum, and has an open and homely character. While the chef prepares delicious dishes in his professional kitchen, you can take a seat and chat with him at the oak high table while waiting for your meal. The kitchen offers everything the chef could need, including a pizza oven, green egg and a plethora of equipment hidden behind the bar with green handmade tiles. The living kitchen serves locally sourced, fresh, healthy food quickly and conveniently with ingredients from the rooftop garden and the greenhouse. You can share a meal with your neighbours or locals, host small dinner parties and meet others on the long communal tables. When positioning the living kitchen, concrete decided to open up the façade of the building and design the outside area as a connecting terrace. On the terrace the hexagonal shapes in the floor are repeated, and it features the same communal tables as in the inside area. In summer all the doors of the living kitchen can be opened to create an even more spacious feel. And don’t worry, if you are scared of heights, all the beautiful plants, carefully selected by the specialists of GrownDownTown, create a natural sense of safety.
Following the angled wooden wall you will enter the workshop. The workshop is a place where you can come together with a bigger group, have a meeting at the large and playful table tennis table, and, when the meeting is concluded or you need some inspiration, enjoy a game of table tennis. concrete also designed a multifunctional cabinet, with space for printers, a 3D printer and tools, where you can get your prints, fix your bike or even add an extra hole to your belt. If you just need to release frustration because something is not going as it should, you will enjoy punching the huge punching bags hanging in the workshop which give the space an extra playful character. In the left corner a room that can be closed off provides additional meeting facilities. This meeting room, also known as the ‘twister room’, offers the opportunity to actually play Twister on a carpet designed as the Twister game, featuring dots following the colours of the Muuto dots on the wall. Moreover, if you want to escape the bustle of your neighbours in the living room, you can have your morning coffee here in peace, while cocooning in one of the beautiful hanging chairs.
The ‘Better Together’ spaces are located on the left side of the ‘Metropool’ building. In front of the second patio there is a breakout corridor. The angled wooden wall creates corners where you can have a seat on one of the couches for a quick phone call or read which meeting is taking place in the four meeting spaces on the paper rolls. There are two types of meeting spaces: a flexible meeting space that is empty when you arrive and where you can adjust the foldable furniture hanging on the wall to the setting you need. The cabinet here also functions as a stand during presentations or (lunch) buffets. The other meeting room is more like a formal ‘boardroom’ with inspirational art on the walls. During a full day of workshops you can switch between the two meeting spaces to create a different mindset.
Better together event space
At the end of the break-out corridor is the event space. This is the biggest space in the building which can be divided in two by mobile panel walls. Both spaces have a kitchen with coffee, lunch or bar facilities that can be opened by a sliding door. A grid of white dots is painted on the oak floor to create a playful field of possibilities and enable different kinds of set-ups with coloured foam blocks that can function as seats, tables, walls or showpieces. Together with the angled tables on wheels along the windows you can transform the event space for several small workshops, a yoga lesson, catwalk show, large-scale conference or company diner.
concrete thought out and implemented the concept in all levels of the design, from structure to architecture, from planning to design, from furniture to upholstery and styling. In accordance with the slogan of Zoku: Meet. Sleep. Work. Dream. Love. Live, concrete created four fitting themes:
- work is not a job
As explained, Zoku is a place where you can work in a familiar and relaxed environment. In the framework of this theme, the furniture and upholstery feature blue tones, as can be seen in blue table tops, retro revolt chairs with blue finishes and the custom made sofas with denim-look upholstery.
- zoku sweet zoku
Zoku will be a second home, where you can meet friends from all over the world. To feel at home, natural colours and soft materials were chosen, including soft tones, coir carpets, wooden or cognac leather chairs from Muuto and soft blankets.
- the rising sun
Zoku is a place where the global nomad arrives from all over the world. This is the place where the day begins or ends, where you can overlook the city and enjoy the sunset or sunrise. Here concrete chose colours that fit the different colours of the sun; red and orange tones that add warmth to the interior.
- the urban jungle
Zoku is a place where you will be surrounded by green, starting with your arrival experience on the 6th floor, when you exit the lift and are welcomed by a greenhouse with big green plants and a rooftop garden. Entering the communal spaces, the white transparent cabinets are filled with beautiful green plants. concrete therefore also chose to bring back some green in the furniture and finishes in order to increase the ambiance.
The application of the tones, upholstery and furniture within these themes is occasionally mixed and matched in the various spaces, resulting in a colourful, warm, cosy, and diverse interior.
TO THE ZOKU LOFTS
Typical guestroom corridor
A cobble stone printed carpet emphasises the idea of walking on a street to your house, while diagonal pedestrian crossings create a pattern between the individual guestrooms and make it easier to ask your neighbour for a cup of sugar.
The zoku loft
A loft at Zoku is much more than just a hotel room. It is a spacious micro-apartment, or, better yet, the ‘Zoku Loft’. In the loft Zoku and concrete identified, designed and positioned all functions and needs of the global nomad in an intelligent way, creating an interior module that enhances the sense of spaciousness and functionality. The Zoku Loft provides a stylish and spatial feel due to its flexible interior with a focus on the living and working space instead of the sleeping area. In lieu of the bed, the central element is a four-person table that can be used to work, eat or relax. The Zoku Loft offers a spacious experience in a room of at least 24 square metres. The living area consists of a comfortable two-seater sofa that allows guests to relax, receive company, read a book or watch TV. The so-called ‘Rest’ sofa by the stylish and top-quality Danish furniture brand Muuto was specifically adapted for Zoku. A thick, soft carpet has been placed on the bamboo floor in front of the sofa. The dining and working table is positioned close to the sofa. It is ideal for inviting guests for work appointments, enjoying a (self-made) meal or an evening of fun and games. The rectangular solid bamboo table top is combined with four ‘Fibre Chairs’ by Muuto. The lamp above the table by the same brand is called ‘Fluid’.
The kitchen is located behind the table. Its clever design offers all the necessary comforts with equipment by Siemens, including an induction cooker, sink, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, microwave and coffee machine. The work top and back wall of the kitchen consist of quartz composite, while the cabinets and doors are made of multiplex with a smooth white epoxy finish. The material typifies the general style of the Zoku Loft, and is also used for other fixed furniture elements such as the bed. The king-size bed can be reached via the iconic retractable stairs. Various functions have been placed below the bed, such as a retractable clothing cabinet, a TV and a work unit. The sleeping area, the most private part of the loft, can be screened off further by closing the semi-transparent wooden folding door. Contrary to standard hotel rooms, this makes the Zoku Loft ideal for receiving guests for either business appointments or casual get-togethers. The drop-off unit, located in an alcove below the bed, offers a variety of office equipment, and is the perfect spot for sending a quick email or storing a laptop. The wall of the Zoku Loft features a black steel U-shaped profile, which not only supports the retractable stairs, but can also be used to place framed art or photos. Zoku allows guests to choose these pieces in accordance with their own tastes to provide the loft with a more personal character. The opposite wall features a steel strip, which can be used as a memo magnet.
The high windows (which let lots of daylight enter the Zoku Loft) are covered with elegant, white voile curtains that filter the bright sunlight, as well as black-out curtains that can be closed before bedtime. The bathroom is situated next to the entrance. An oak medicine cabinet has been placed above the ceramic sink, and a hanging toilet is located opposite. The very spacious shower at the back of the bathroom can be closed off from the sink and toilet area with a sandblasted glass door. The back wall of the shower is completely covered with a mirror to optically double the size of the space.
concrete designed two types of Zoku Lofts for Zoku: a wide and a deep version. Except for the layout, the two types are fully identical featuring the smart use of standardisation and interior modules. For example the bathrooms as well as the kitchens are identical for both versions. With the two types of lofts Zoku can optimally link units in newly built buildings, as well as offering more flexibility for building the lofts into existing buildings, as is the case for Zoku Amsterdam on the Weesperstraat in Amsterdam. The longer you stay, the more you get out of it. Zoku Lofts can be rented for just one night, and are also ideal for those seeking a temporary living and working space from 5 nights up to several months, which makes it financially and culturally beneficial to guests who wish to extend their stay at Zoku.
concrete is proud to announce the opening of Zoku Amsterdam, an extended hotel concept that will change the hotel industry.
The first Zoku is now open for business in the heart of Amsterdam. The new workmeetsplay hotel concept has been created for the global nomad. Zoku creates a new category – a homeoffice hybrid, also suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighbourhood. Facilitating global living and working for the travelling professional, Zoku, Japanese for family, tribe or clan, disrupts the hotel industry. Zoku is a relaxed…
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