Coffee goes to the next level at the latest Starbucks outlet in Amsterdam, where the new store concept functions as laboratory with a ‘Slow’ Coffee Theatre, hyper local design, floating community gathering spaces and in-store baking. Starbucks - The Bank is a glimpse into Starbucks' vision to the future.
Starbucks, with a staggering 19,800 stores across 59 countries, recently opened its first concept store ‘Starbucks –The Bank’ in Europe. The store is located in the vault of the historic Amsterdamsche Bank, a landmark building on Amsterdam’s famous Rembrandt Square. The store functions as a test space for rare and exclusive coffees, diverse coffee brewing methods, and new food concepts. The ‘Slow’ Coffee Theatre is inspired by the ‘Slow’ Food movement as it will deliver a super-premium, personal coffee experience.
“This store is the ultimate expression of coffee, design and community at its best. We strategically placed our first European concept store in Amsterdam as our European headquarters and roasting plant are located here,” said Rich Nelsen, Senior Vice President of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The space takes Starbucks store design strategy to the next level creating a deep connection to coffee and the local community. Measuring 4,500 sqf, the store is conceptualized as a theatre space with the 57 foot coffee bar as its stage, the multi-level community areas will cameo as stages for local bands, poetry readings and other cultural activities.
“With this store I was inspired not only by the role 17th century Dutch traders played
in bringing coffee to the world, but also by the place The Netherlands holds today as a design and creative capital,” said Liz Muller, Director of Global Concept Design, Starbucks. “My vision was to bring the space to life by celebrating local history and tradition while looking to the future by giving it a sense of theatre and discovery.”
Transforming the vault of the former bank into Starbucks-The Bank, more than 35 local artists and craftspeople worked under the direction of Dutch born Muller who was also the creative force behind the first three Starbucks concept stores that opened in Starbucks home town, Seattle, starting 2009.
In their drive to build sustainable store designs, The Bank is a significant aesthetic departure, kitted with witty local design touches and built with sustainable materials. It was built under strict Leed sustainable building guidelines to reduce the impact on the environment.
Acting as the focal point of the space, The Bank houses one of the longest coffee bars in Europe, where the 17-meter long bar provides
the setting for ‘Slow’Coffee Theatre which will premiere Starbucks’ first ever Clover brewing system in Europe. Offering an area for high interaction is the large wooden community table top made by local craftsmen from Dutch Oak.
An eye-catching design element is the ceiling sculpture above the community table which is made from 1,876 pieces of individually-cut oak wood blocks. Here each wood block was hung by hand at different heights to create a rélief effect. The Starbucks Siren also has been stained into the wooden blocks.
The walls have been transformed interestingly, which adds character and local flavour to the space. Recycled burlap sacks used for transporting coffee around the world are used as décor around the concrete pillars. While a section of wall is clad in bike tire inner tubes, with a nod and a wink to the very traditional transportation the Dutch use daily. Adding to this, wooden "Speculaas" moulds used to make traditional Dutch biscuits, line the walls.
Created by a local artist, the mural inspired by traditional ‘Delftware’ design features a story that celebrates the important role 17th century Dutch traders held in bringing coffee around the world.
The original marble floor tiles, preserved from when the building was constructed in 1926, cover an area where the original bank vault was located. Besides this, reclaimed antique "Delft Blue" tiles have been given new life at the store. All the furniture has been reclaimed, restored and given a new life. Starbucks –The Bank has employed various measures to incorporate sustainable design and build methodologies which have become vital to the Starbucks store design concept today.
In terms of water and energy conservation, the store uses low-flow faucets which help
conserve water, while LED and CFL bulbs reduce the use of energy. Within the store, natural, water-based and chemical free paints have been used, which also avoid interference with the coffee aroma.
During construction, the majority of resulting waste was diverted from the landfill, where wood, metals and concrete were reused or recycled.
With the belief that environmental impact should be as minimal as possible, Starbucks has been building and renovating stores with locally sourced materials and craftsmen and incorporate reused and recycled elements where possible.
While Starbucks -The Bank brings coffee and community in a unique and creative setting, one can only imagine what the next concept store will offer
Starbucks strategically placed the first European concept store in Amsterdam as their European headquarters and roasting plant are located there
This European store Design Concept is the ultimate expression of coffee, design and community at its best
An eye-catching design element is the ceiling sculpture above the community table which is made from 1,876 pieces of individuallycut oak wood blocks
A ‘Slow’Coffee Theatre offers an area for high interaction on a large wooden community table top made by local craftsmen from Dutch Oak