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Generator Amsterdam by DesignAgency


The new Generator Amsterdam marks both the rebirth of a historical building and the evolution of a disruptive hospitality brand, pushing the boundaries of hostel experience. Generator’s global design partner, DesignAgency has collaborated with local architects IDEA Ontwerp to both convert and restore a former health sciences building and zoological museum, and breathe new life into the hundred-year-old brick structure, establishing the most impressive Generator to date.


Entering through the park entrance, flanked by original stained glass windows, guests rise to a soaring lobby with original terrazzo flooring and art installations that set the stage for social interaction. In the chill out lounge, the raked seating of a former auditorium is reminiscent of its scholastic past yet completely transformed with erlenmeyer flask-inspired lighting that glow over a lectern-esque bar.


A blackened metal feature stair that winds its way up to a catwalk and mezzanine encourages movement and people-watching while also leading guests to the former library, where they can relax amongst book stacks have been transformed into niche-seating for intimate meetings, gatherings or screenings.


The 168-room hostel follows Generator’s trendsetting concept of great design and an array of spaces that encourage social interaction — all at an affordable price. Many of the building’s original, heritage-designated spaces have been preserved and overlaid with contemporary twists. The design confidently mixes the history and charm of the building with Dutch references from folk culture and iconic design, as well as custom contemporary art and the playful lighting that is synonymous with the Generator brand.


The partnership with various Dutch artists and designers in particular helped to drive the project to new creative heights. Blom & Blom collected, restored and redesigned hundreds of light fixtures, many from abandoned factories in East Germany, each of which riffs on the building’s new-old duality. Dutch-French muralist and graphic artist Pieter Ceizer painted witty slogans on the inside of the elevator shaft that upend the otherwise mundane experience of travelling between floors. His idea to do so inspired DesignAgency to install glass panes in the elevator cars.


Amsterdam’s The Bright Side Gallery coordinated a team of additional artists, including Kamp Horst, Graphic Surgery, Hans van Bentem and Gino Bud Hoiting. Their sculptures, drawings and graphic interventions give each of their respective spaces strong visual identities, unique personalities and above all conversation starters.

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all images courtesy of Generator Amsterdam