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messenger from afar

Location: Amsterdam, NL
Client: Space Encounters, Amsterdam
Program: bar, restaurant, nightclub, art gallery
Gross floor area: 450 m2
Project team: Joost Baks, Remi Versteeg, Stijn de Weerd, Gijs Baks, Vera Tamburlin, Clara Jansen

Bespoke furniture: Roord Binnenbouw, Amsterdam
Plant design: het Groenlab, Amsterdam
Contract furniture: Lensvelt Contract Furniture, Breda
Sheet materials: Finsa, Vlissingen
Natural Stone: Lucas Schoot natuursteen, Oss
Floor: Senso gietvloeren, Amsterdam
Fixtures: Xenz, Dronten
Curtains: Siersema, Amsterdam
Led lighting: Invent design, Amsterdam
Glass walls: Qbiq Wallsystems, Alphen aan den Rijn

Photography: Peter Tijhuis

On July 12, 2019, Oumuamua landed on the Asterweg in Amsterdam Noord: a temporary place where something new can happen every day. Nobody knows what it is exactly. Call it a club. A restaurant. A workplace, art expo, stage. Someday we know, until then we will celebrate.

Oumuamua is named after the comet that was discovered in our universe in 2017. The cigar-shaped body roamed the Milky Way for millions of years, alone and unknown. At first it seemed like something alien, something far away, something we had never seen before. And still nobody knows what oumuamua really is. They called it a “comet,” against better judgment. The body continued to wander, the name kept lingering: oumuamua, the messenger from afar.

That is exactly what Oumuamua does in Amsterdam Noord. A strange place with many new elements. Where you are both a stranger and a scout. Where you are positively surprised by art or music during dinner, or both. Where dinner can easily turn into a club night or vice versa. Where everyone and all tastes can meet. Call it a cozy spaceship, like a safe haven in the middle of a world in which all sorts of things are perishing.

But how to design something so temporary, without succumbing to clich├ęs like plywood and second hand furniture? And how to create a cosy space which can still be multi-functional?
The first thing one discovers when entering Oumuamua is the organized chaos of the existing wooden roof structure covering the entire space. When looking down you make notice of a seemingly liquid floor made from wildly mixed cast epoxy left-overs in different colors.

Three astronomic blue objects; a pyramid, an obelisk and an extraterrestrial monolith are positioned at strategic points in the space. They connect, divide and mark different areas without imposing a clear preconception of what will happen. Furniture and mobile walls filled with earthly species (plants) orbit around these cosmic solids allowing a limitless amount of layouts. LED lights that are orientated to the sky create a game of light on the wooden beams and can be remotely programmed to achieve the desired atmosphere.

Aside from being responsible for the design, Space Encounters also initiated and funded Oumuamua, out of a deep love for nightlife and adventure.