Now I’m not a Starbucks fan. I’m really not. But you can’t really resist loving their creativity. After seeing the Japanese concept store by Kengo Kuma I was like ‘oh, this is really creative and interesting, good work’ but after seeing this I was like ‘wow’. I’m talking about the new Starbucks concept store that opened in Amsterdam and is located in a historic (now former) bank.
Now even though they are using the make the huge corporate company into a cozy little local coffee shop tactic to get more loyal customers and because of, well, just plain business, I can’t help but say, once again, wow. This concept store is truly beautiful, you must admit, and not only is it beautiful, it holds an awesome concept too.
The story begins three years a go when Starbucks corporate architect Tony Gale described the company’s new Global Store Design Strategy – he stated that “we like to do different things in different regions, to reflect what is going on in the local culture” – and this new coffee shop is just that – a mixture of tradition, history and coffee, at its finest. It’s also all about using existing resources; for example, it is built by a sustainable building guideline (what else would you expect from Starbucks?), the entire shop is made from Dutch oak, while the benches, chairs and stools are reclaimed from local schools. Also, more than 35 artists and craftsmen decorated the space with quirky local design touches and sustainable materials. “Local design details include antique Delft tiles, walls clad in bicycle inner tubes, wooden gingerbread biscuit molds and coffee bag burlap, and a ‘tattooed’ ‘Delftware’ mural highlighting the important role 17th century Dutch traders played in exporting coffee around the world.” All in all it’s Amsterdam in Amsterdam. A coffee shop holding all the local tradition and characteristics in a 4,500 square foot space.
Photo: Rien Meulman, Contemporist
Also, this special new place has a special title – “The Laboratory”:
The new shop, while the latest in a string of Starbucks concept stores, is the first in the world they are openly referring to as a ‘laboratory’. A large beautiful store inspired by contemporary Dutch culture and its deep coffee tradition, The Bank was purposely created to push Starbucks beyond its comfort zone in terms of innovation and experimentation. What works in the Amsterdam store will make its way to the rest of Europe. Considering its well-earned progressive reputation, Amsterdam might be the perfect spot for trying out new things. Starbucks The Bank will function as a testing center for innovative coffee brewing methods in its ‘Slow’ Coffee Theater and offer small batch reserve coffees available nowhere else on the continent.
But what is a huge coffee shop without a bit of social media? “With hundreds of people living, literally, above the shop and thousands of more within a minute’s walk, the shop will also playfully use social media to communicate relevant moments in their daily schedule. For example, the bakery will send out a tweet announcing ‘warm cookies’ the minute a batch rolls out of the oven.” Cute, isn’t it?
So, there you have it. A beautifully designed coffee shop in a beautiful city. If I were living in Amsterdam, I would maybe, just maybe get over my anti-Starbucks feelings and get in for a cup of coffee. It’s a fantastic mixture of coziness, tradition and style – in other words, Starbucks did it’s job well, yet again. I hate to admit that I really couldn’t resist it. Could you?