NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV

Text description provided by the architects. Electric car manufacturer NIO has opened its flagship location in Europe, occupying a seven-storey building on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht originally built in the late 19th century. The new NIO House Amsterdam renovates the building with an interior design by MVRDV, which combines design elements reflective of NIO’s brand with a respectful treatment of the historic building. Now offering a wide variety of spaces for relaxing, working, events, and exhibitions, the building’s floors form a color gradient inspired by NIO’s “blue sky coming” slogan, from earthy colors on the lower floors to an airy blue that fills the building’s modernist rooftop pavilion.

NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade

The building has a storied history: designed by Jan van Looy when it was built in 1891 for the New York Life Insurance Company it was among the tallest private buildings in Amsterdam. For the majority of the 20th century, it was home to the Metz & Co department store and in 1933 was extended by a steel and glass rooftop pavilion designed by Gerrit Rietveld, arguably the most important Dutch architect of the modernist movement. Despite this heritage, in 2013 it became home to an Abercrombie & Fitch store; as a consequence, the upper floors including the Rietveld pavilion were closed to the public, and many of the original interior details were covered up.

NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography
NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography

Just as in all of their locations worldwide, the arrival of a NIO House turns the building not just into a typical “car showroom”, but a public building with a variety of functions that contribute to the neighborhood that hosts it. Above the car showcase on the ground floor is a café including a soft yellow kids’ corner; next, the second floor is home to the Forum, which local businesses and event organizations can utilize for workshops, presentations, and small-scale lectures, alongside a “Joy Camp” where children can entertain themselves. The third floor features co-working spaces that can be booked and used by the public, while the fourth is home to an art and design gallery that can equally be used to show NIO products or as a platform for local artists to showcase their work. Finally – above a fifth floor reserved for NIO’s own offices – are event spaces on the sixth floor and the rooftop pavilion.

NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Chair, Windows
NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Chair, Windows
NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Image 45 of 45

In MVRDV’s design the staircase, with its historic details once again revealed, becomes a central element of the design, and is always visible from the main spaces on each floor to help orient visitors. Throughout the project, the space is opened as much as possible to create a light and airy environment, removing internal walls, raising ceilings, and emphasizing vertical connections such as the atrium that links the ground floor with the café.

NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Image 15 of 45
NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography, Living Room, Sofa, Bedroom

The design team devised a palette of materials that becomes progressively cleaner and lighter as it ascends the building, suggesting an atmospheric journey from earth to sky. On the ground and first floors, the walls are paneled with a 3D-printed material made from recycled drinks cartons, developed in partnership with Amsterdam-based Aectual, which gives an earthy color and a fluted texture to the walls. Meanwhile, the floors are made from Duracryl’s Durabella, a sustainable terrazzo flooring made with renewable resources. On the level above, the walls and floors are finished with wood, while on the third floor, wood floors are complemented with eco-friendly paint. The fourth floor features a peachy orange gradient on its walls, which draws attention upwards to the vaulted ceilings of the original building.

NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography, Windows
NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Interior Photography, Living Room

This gradual vertical change culminates in the top two floors. The walls of the sixth transition from gold to blue, leading into the sky-blue floor, finishes, and ceiling of the Rietveld pavilion. Here, the essence of this piece of modernist history is faithfully preserved, with refined finishes such as the carpet and curtains helping to make it an exquisite space for events such as galas and fashion shows – just as it was almost 100 years ago. The glass walls of Rietveld’s design give panoramic views over the rooftops of Amsterdam, completing the feeling of expansive lightness and giving space for visitors to reflect on the future.

NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Image 33 of 45
NIO House Amsterdam / MVRDV - Image 35 of 45

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