Since the year 2000, three striking canal houses in Amsterdam’s Herengracht have been the base of the Swiss luxury goods group Richemont that produces and sells jewelry, watches, clothing and accessories. Cartier, Piaget, Montblanc, Dunhill and Ralph Lauren are some of the group’s most famous brands. Dutch interior designers M+R liaised closely with Richemont to sensitively restore two history-steeped buildings from the 18th century. They also developed contemporary work spaces for the adjacent office building from the 1950s. The Wilkhahn furniture is an ideal match for the stylishly refurbished canal houses and the visionary office atmosphere.
The office building dates back to 1953 and has seven floors. The top floor was converted into a conference and restaurant lounge with a stunning view of Amsterdam’s old town. The interior is all about natural, warm shades of beige and the high-quality furniture was crafted from sustainable wood, brass and marble. The new interior reflects Richemont’s maxim that quality means attention to detail and outstanding craftsmanship.
M+R commissioned historical research into colors for the project. The findings were the point of departure for restoring the imposing canal houses and carefully selecting materials and the color palette. Exceptionally hard-wearing, high-quality linen wallpaper was applied to the walls to match the magnificent wood paneling. Following the remodeling and renovation, the whole of the interior radiates calm and comfort. The design is so timeless that it will have a lifespan of decades – in keeping with M+R’s vision for sustainable projects.
A winning combination of tradition and innovation
When creating the interior, the biggest challenge was to make it high quality, sustainable and a good fit with the world-famous Richemont brands. The interior was to underscore brand values, but not to take center stage. As a result, the interior had to go with the magnificent buildings in the style of Louis XIV, but also look contemporary and innovative. Which is why the interior designers sought products and materials that stood apart for quality, stylish design and meticulous craftsmanship and that blended in naturally with the stately looking spaces.
The refurbished, newly extended office building features a chill-out area on each floor and a fully equipped kitchenette with a bar, which serves as a communicative hub and place to receive visitors. Emphasis was placed on producing a calm atmosphere and workspaces with acoustic privacy to allow deep work. In these areas, the neutral color palette is complemented by brass accents, for example in the pendant lights above the workspaces. Custom-designed cabinets with rounded edges, plants and partitions ensure the space is quiet, inspiring and comfortable to work in. M+R custom-designed the wayfinding signs and icons for Richemont with enormous attention to detail as well.
A versatile table system for any occasion
Wilkhahn tables and office chairs also feature in some of the old buildings and the office premises from the 1950s. The modular Versa conference table by Wolfgang C. R. Mezger meets the demands of a modern working environment, where versatility and communication are so important. Bayonet mounts make the die-cast aluminum base frames easy to connect to table tops in various formats in no time – with no extra tools required. As the innovative table system can be extended or made smaller at will, it’s custom-configurable to any setting.
Wilkhahn’s AT Mesh office chair is all about timeless design, sustainability and healthy sitting. The stylish task chairs are ideal for both the historical buildings from the 18th century and the modern office building. This office chair’s aesthetic is impressive because its frame looks seamless. It offers a broad range of design options, from which a version with a white base frame and light gray seat was chosen for Richemont. Eighty percent of the mesh on AT Mesh’s backrest frame is made of recycled PET bottles. In addition to its attractive design, Wilkhahn’s AT Mesh stands apart for its patented, three-dimensional ergonomics in the interests of dynamic sitting.
It’s our responsibility to create sustainable attractive architecture that can stand the test of time. The power of a strong design is vision, innovation and the quality of realization