Award-winning studio i29 made the interior design of Felix Meritis Anno 2020 commissioned by investment group Amerborgh.
A distinct and charismatic design, inspired by the rich history of the building. Every space within the building refers to a specific period in the building’s history. The starting point was to show the diversity and to give all rooms their own identity, just as in 1788 each department was given its own interpretation. Together they form a collection of colorful characters in the house of enlightenment.
The building has been completely renovated in collaboration with a large team of specialists and advisers; new installations and acoustic facilities have been carefully inserted within the monumental shell. MATH architects were responsible for the structural renovation. The plan is based on the restoration of the original building contour, whereby the necessary installations are completely hidden by a new lifted roof. In contrast to the existing classical environment, new interventions and finishes by i29 in the interior are clearly recognizable as such, bringing the building to the present again.
The entrance area includes a restaurant and reception which are modern interpretations of style rooms from the 18th century. i29 applied original colors and wall coverings, yet produced with contemporary techniques. For the restaurant, an image of a typical Dutch sky has been translated into a tactile wall covering. In the reception area, an old etching from the original Teekenzaal shows on the textile walls.
i29 collaborated with Buro Belen for custom design textiles that match material and colors within the design. A light installation connects the two rooms to create a grand entrance as a modern “chandelier” from the ceiling. LED signage is incorporated behind a large mirror wall for information on the program. The same mirror information screens with interactive LED signing have been placed throughout the building.
The Concert Hall, famous for acoustic concerts, is finished in original color schemes which regained a classical appearance. Large steel chandeliers and acoustic wall cabinets place the interior in the present at the same time. Flexible wall units can be opened or closed for sound absorption or reflection, and now make both acoustic and electronic music possible. They also provide technical, light and sound facilities. Both a classical concert and a house party are now possible, as the building must ultimately be a vibrant culture house for both the young and the old.
The Zuilenzaal has its own unique character within the building; i29 proposed to preserve the raw character as much as possible. The room is, however, almost invisible, completely prepared for the future with the integration of all necessary technology, lighting, and installations, but the history is still overwhelmingly present. In the Shaffyzaal all colors and materials refer to the illustrious sixties and Dutch artist Ramses Shaffy when the room served as a meeting place for the Dutch avant-garde. A modern interpretation is the use of Intense and high-contrast colors on acoustic walls. Along with matching pieces of custom design furniture and a bar area cladded with rough steel sheets.
The biggest challenge was to bring this old monumental building to the “now”, not only in terms of technology, installations, and acoustic facilities but also in appearance and experience. In line with the original philosophy of the Felix Meritis society, the new interior is progressive but made with respect for its history. A new chapter of the cultural house for the curious mind.