In one of the most-visited neighbourhoods of Amsterdam stands an old brick apartment building that has been refurbished to fill its interior with light and harmony. Architectural studio Willem Benoit Interieur, with the help of the fabricators Houtwerk BV, has transformed this 90-m2 apartment, spread over two floors, into a perfect home to enjoy the city’s canals. One of the main ingredients of the project – and partially responsible for the amazing final result – is the use of HI-MACS® as the primary material in the essential spaces of the home: the fully open-plan kitchen and the bathroom. The pure, clean lines of the material successfully deliver the clarity and brightness sought by the architects.
One of the characteristics of the streets surrounding Amsterdam’s canals is their dark, elongated buildings with uneven façades that create a unique urban landscape. What were once warehouses have today been converted into stylish homes that embellish some of the most important canals, such as Prinsengracht, where this apartment is found, right between the Anne Frank House and the Stadsschouwburg, one of the city’s most prominent theaters. Despite being located in one of the busiest areas of the city, the team from Willem Benoit Interieur managed to create a peaceful atmosphere on the inside. The minimalist-style apartment is characterized by the spaciousness of its open-plan areas, the feeling of freedom, and the brightness provided by the huge, bare windows, the white ceilings and walls, and the focal point of the elegant kitchen island.
The white color is repeated throughout the home, counterbalanced with light shades of blacks and grays, found on the iron frames of the windows and doors, and in the sofa. The architects opted to keep traditional materials in all the spaces, such as the iron and wood that are the perfect complement to the contemporary acrylic stone; according to Benoit, “the aim was a modern building, with a light, clean interior, respecting the original elements.” The apartment conveys simplicity and clarity as soon as you walk in. A formidable glass door, framed in iron, gives way to the first floor, where the open plan living room, dining room, and kitchen are all found, united by the original beams in the ceiling. The link between these three spaces is the unique and magnificent acrylic stone kitchen island, ideal for cooking and hosting guests in a completely unencumbered space.
The bathroom and bedroom with dressing room are located on the second floor, and are both bright, open areas, again thanks to the large windows and the use of glass to separate the rooms. With a totally simple look and a smooth texture, the washroom is perfectly fitted to the space available. Its surface is also water resistant, completely hygienic, and easy to clean and maintain. The white acrylic stone of the shower tray and the wash basin are key in the contrast between the light and dark shades of the materials and surfaces that is repeated throughout the apartment. The white elements contrast with the dark parquet, the touches of black used in the furniture accessories, the exposed old wooden beams, and the iron on the windows.
The final result of this refurbishment in the “Venice of the North” is an elegant home with a deceptive simplicity. In a project with these characteristics, the functional advantages and design potential of the acrylic stone are abundantly clear, whilst the dialog between classicism and modernity which the designers played with constantly throughout this apartment.