We came across a totally new hotel concept that was launched in the pulsating city of Amsterdam in December 2011. The concept of ‘a hotel with rooms dressed as models’, allows each room to be treated with the same independence as a human model. Through this vision the street pavement becomes a catwalk, lights and tables are no longer seen a simple ornaments but as ‘body accessoires’, creases and pleats aren’t fabric features but structural forms. Hotel The Exchange, in combination with the restaurant ‘Stock’ and the shop ‘OPTIONS!’, veers away from being pigeonholed as a ‘fashion hotel’. It embraces the existing neighbourhood energy of the Damrak, a pedestrian artery running from Amsterdam Central Station to the Dam Square.
Hotel The Exchange is a concept by Suzanne Oxenaar and Otto Nan, initiators of the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam. Hotel The Exchange is part of ‘The Red Carpet’, an urban-renewal project that is aimed at giving the area ‘Damrak’ a more diverse and fashionable look.
The hotel has 61 rooms, each room has been designed and dressed by graduates and alumni of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI). Eight students and alumni were selected to drive the vision of the hotel rooms. They created designs using fashion metaphors. Before the process of ‘dressing up’ began, fabric designs took form under the tutelage of Dutch Studio INA MATT in cooperation with the Dutch Textile Museum. Different areas of the hotel were accessorized with luxury items like a 20-meter long illuminating necklace, cosy elevator coats, a fancy reception dressed as a bag and endless striped socks throughout the hallways.
Due to its unconventional spirit, Hotel The Exchange offers guests a choice of rooms ranging from 1 to 5 stars. Rooms received special names, related to the concept, like ‘Wall Flower’, where the room is embellished with paper flowers like a little girl’s prom dress, ‘The Pleats Room’, where the inspiration came from the pleats and folds in a simple white T-shirt when worn. Other names are ‘Woven Cocoon’, ‘City Camouflage’, ‘Building a View’, ‘Urban Crafts’, I Still Remember’ and so on.
The integrated shop called ‘OPTIONS!’ is a 230 m2 contemporary department store where shoppers can find a special mix of products, ranging from exciting designs from foreign countries to collaborations with local producers.
The restaurant ‘Stock’ caters to the paradox of fast living and slow food……..it quietly acknowledges the vibrant nightlife of the city with an indulgent all-day breakfast as well as a ‘hit-and-run’ menu of soups and sandwiches.
This new hotel concept and the different room concepts is set up to appeal to a totally different customer/guest. As the concept is not typically being transported as ‘fashion hotel’ it is in our opinion merely aiming at attracting guests that do like the idea of staying in a room that has been designed by a fashion designer, or like the concept ‘architecture meets fashion’. It will however attract ‘fashionistas’, no doubt about that, and guests that would like to experience something totally new and emerging. It will also contribute to the overall concept behind ‘The Red Carpet’ and could be seen as future concept that can easily be implemented on a worldwide level……be honest, in every key hub city there are fashion institutes and designers. We love it and will definitely seek the opportunity to stay at this hotel!