Wieden + Kennedy, the advertising agency of firms such as Nike and Coca Cola, asked NEXT to design their new accommodation on the Amsterdam Herengracht. The new building was a labyrinthine conjunction of two historical properties.
The six floor areas – 1,000 m2 each – were promisingly large, but entirely without vertical connections. NEXT’s proposal was to open up the hearts of the two buildings by inserting three glass shafts that cut through all of the floors. Inside the glass shafts we created double-high spaces that connect to every other floor. This creates diagonal sight lines among all the different floors in the middle of the building. The glass spaces are used as presentation and meeting facilities and are called the ‘meeting and working rooms’. This operation has resulted in a tremendous amount of transparency without loss of useful floor space.
The details of the interior include various contrasts, for instance between the rough unfinished shop floors and the perfection of the materials and the details in the glass meeting rooms. The original period rooms are extraordinary, too: they have been left intact wherever possible and bring the historical feel of the buildings to life. Front to back, we designed long cupboards that bridge the height difference between the floors. They are clad in magnetic materials so they can be used as presentation panels: every floor can be transformed from a shop floor to a presentation room.
The programme includes a small theatre for screenings, various studios for audiovisual productions, a gym with a floor made out of recycled Nike shoes, a penthouse with a bar and a roof garden overlooking the city, and a large garden with basketball facilities. On the elaboration of the interior design, NEXT collaborated with several kindred spirits. Snode Vormgevers, for instance, designed a number of tables that can slide out of the kitchen window. The tables include crosscut wood sections for the preparation of food that are removable and washable.