dark mode light mode Search
Search

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV’s Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

Electric car maker NIO has unveiled its flagship location in Europe at a seven-storey building situated on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht. Originally constructed in the late 19th century, this historic building has been transformed into the new NIO House Amsterdam, thanks to the interior design expertise of MVRDV. The design seamlessly integrates elements that reflect NIO‘s brand identity while also paying homage to the building’s rich history.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

The NIO House Amsterdam now offers a diverse range of spaces that cater to various needs, including relaxation, work, events, and exhibitions. One notable feature is the color gradient that spans across the building’s floors, inspired by NIO’s slogan of “blue sky coming.” The lower floors boast earthy tones, gradually transitioning to a vibrant and airy blue hue that dominates the modernist rooftop pavilion.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

This building holds a significant place in Amsterdam’s architectural history. Originally designed by Jan van Looy, it was constructed in 1891 for the New York Life Insurance Company and stood as one of the tallest private buildings in the city. Throughout the majority of the 20th century, it served as the home of the renowned Metz & Co department store. In 1933, an extension in the form of a steel and glass rooftop pavilion was added, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, a prominent figure in the modernist movement of Dutch architecture. However, in 2013, the building underwent a transformation and became an Abercrombie & Fitch store. As a result, the upper floors, including the iconic Rietveld pavilion, were closed off to the public, and many of the original interior details were concealed.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

In all of their global locations, the introduction of a NIO House transforms the structure into more than just a conventional “car showroom”, but rather a communal space with diverse functions that enrich the surrounding neighborhood. The ground floor not only houses the car display, but also features a café with a charming yellow kids’ corner; moving up to the second floor, one can find the Forum, available for local businesses and event organizers to host workshops, presentations, and intimate lectures, as well as a “Joy Camp” for children’s entertainment. The third floor offers co-working areas open for public booking and use, while the fourth floor showcases an art and design gallery that can double as a platform for NIO products or a venue for local artists to exhibit their creations. Beyond a fifth floor designated for NIO’s offices, the sixth floor and rooftop pavilion are dedicated to event spaces.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

MVRDV’s architectural design highlights the staircase, showcasing its historical details and making it a focal point of the structure, visible from the main areas on each level to guide visitors. The project prioritizes an open and spacious environment by eliminating internal barriers, raising ceilings, and emphasizing vertical connections like the atrium that connects the ground floor to the café.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

The design team has meticulously crafted a selection of materials that undergo a gradual transformation, becoming progressively more pristine and weightless as they ascend the building. This deliberate choice creates an immersive experience, evoking a sense of traversing through different atmospheric realms from the earthly realm to the celestial heights.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

On the ground and first floors, the walls are adorned with a unique 3D-printed material derived from recycled beverage cartons. Developed in collaboration with Aectual, an Amsterdam-based company, this material not only showcases an earthy hue but also boasts a fluted texture, adding depth and character to the walls. Additionally, the floors on these levels are constructed using Duracryl’s Durabella, a sustainable terrazzo flooring that utilizes renewable resources, aligning with the project’s commitment to environmental consciousness.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

Moving up to the next level, the walls and floors transition to a warm and inviting wood finish, creating a cozy and natural ambiance. On the third floor, the wood floors are complemented by the application of eco-friendly paint, further enhancing the sustainable ethos of the design. As we ascend further, the fourth floor introduces a captivating peachy orange gradient on its walls, drawing the gaze upwards towards the vaulted ceilings of the original building, instilling a sense of awe and wonder.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

The culmination of this vertical progression occurs on the top two floors. Here, the walls of the sixth floor undergo a mesmerizing transformation, transitioning from a regal gold hue to a serene blue shade. This seamless shift seamlessly leads into a sky-blue floor, finishes, and ceiling within the Rietveld pavilion. Within this space, the essence of this iconic modernist structure is meticulously preserved, with refined touches such as the carpet and curtains, reminiscent of its original grandeur almost a century ago. The glass walls of Rietveld’s design offer panoramic vistas, allowing visitors to gaze upon the sprawling rooftops of Amsterdam, fostering a sense of boundless openness and providing a contemplative space for contemplating the future that lies ahead.

NIO House Amsterdam: MVRDV's Transformation of a 19th-Century Listed Building

NIO House Amsterdam stands as the third and largest NIO House designed by MVRDV, serving as the flagship location for the renowned electric car manufacturer in Europe. Preceded by NIO House Chongqing, which opened its doors in 2019, and NIO House Rotterdam, which made its debut in 2023 as NIO’s inaugural establishment in the Netherlands, this architectural marvel solidifies NIO’s presence and commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Image courtesy of Ossip van Duivenbode