A design Mecca

By Matthew Glover

Recently, I was lucky enough to visit my design Mecca, Amsterdam, on a work trip. We were only there for a very short time but it doesn’t take long to feel completely inspired by your surroundings once there.

The architecture itself is stunning, with the canal-side, multi-story houses so completely different to what we see here they can’t help but captivate. There’s the different coloured, smaller-than-you-get-here brick, the amazing windows and the way that all the buildings lean towards the street. It all gives a sense of magic and instantly you feel excited and want to take in more.

There’s something about being surrounded by water too (Amsterdam has more than 100 kilometres of canals) that makes you feel free. With the canals comes bridges, 1,500 to be exact, another fine example of Amsterdam’s architecture. And, on top of the bridges there are three-deep stacks of bicycles, all of which makes great photography fodder. Even the street lamps are cool.

With the big windows it’s quite easy to peek inside people’s houses. Naughty we know, but you try and go and not catch yourself taking a sneaky look every so often. The walls inside are generally pretty plain, as is the furniture and curtains. Boring you might think, but no, because every single bit of furniture is beautiful, well thought out and fit for purpose. The bare walls too are merely a backing for the reams of beautiful art that can be seen adorning them.

Talking of art, being outside of people’s homes need not mean you don’t get to take it in. Every single side street, street corner, fuse box even is adorned with stickers, graffiti and posters. It may sound tacky but it’s quite the opposite. If I stopped to take a picture of every bit that I liked I wouldn’t have made a meeting, eaten, slept…

And then there are the bookshops, the art galleries, the cool little street shops and the markets. You could spend hours and hours exploring these places. Every corner you turn there’s something to look at and adore. Whether it’s traditional art, illustrated books, vinyl figures, furniture or bright bunches of flowers you could lose yourself just looking at, stuff.

Finally, because I have to leave it somewhere, there were the doors. Yes, yes I know that sounds dull, but seriously the doors in Amsterdam are amazing, I even have a favourite! Design is a way of life in Amsterdam and that’s why I love it there. Take a look at these pictures taken while I was away. They don’t really do the place justice but hopefully give you a flavour of the wonder that is Amsterdam.

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