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X BANK, Amsterdam. The first cement building

X Bank, a concept store selling works by emerging Dutch artists

In the center of the city of Amsterdam sits X Bank, a concept store selling works by emerging Dutch artists. It is located inside the Kas Bank building, a former financial institution a few steps away from Dam square. The Singel – the first canal dug in Amsterdam between 1428 and 1450 – is a waterway which for many years has been synonymous with the city’s history and its borders. It once acted as a defensive rampart, protecting the expanding city center. Until 1585, Amsterdam – from the river Amstel and the word ‘dam’ – developed only inside the perimeter defined by this canal.

A former bank in central Amsterdam

X Bank is inside the original nucleus of the Dutch capital. Architect F. W. M. Poggenbeck designed the building. It was built in 1908 and it represented a novelty for the city of Amsterdam as the first construction in cement. As a banking institution, an underground vault, a monumental ground-level atrium, and employee offices on the upper floors characterized Kas Bank. The first expansion of the building took place in 1982. While, the real transformation came in 2015, when the Europe Hotels Private Collection bought it, turning it into the W Amsterdam. They also incorporated the neighboring building, erected in 1928, which originally housed the telephone switchboard for the Dutch capital. The monumental character of the original architectural structure still characterizes it.

Dutch architect Uri Gilad, and Israeli interior designers Alon Baranowitz and Irene Kronemberg, developed the project. While Willem-Jan Kuipers designed the spa. Design Story Publishing published a book about the project, The Story of a Bank that Became a Spa, in 2017. The original structures house the halls and restaurants of the W Amsterdam. The marble details, reminiscent of the 1920s, characterize Duchess, the restaurant located in the Bank’s hall. On the roof is the W Lounge, where customers can sip cocktails on seats arranged around a swimming pool.

Atelier Reservé at X Bank

From 2017 X Bank has started operating online

The X Bank shop spans seven-hundred square feet. One hundred and eighty artists from the fields of art, design and fashion have a space here. The store, accessible from Spuitstraat 172, is open all week. For the first two years, customers could only purchase physically. But since 2017 X Bank has started operating online. Today, the store offers a selection of one-hundred-and-thirty-two articles, with prices ranging from 7.5€ for a set of Playing Cards NL (where the eight of spades shows Arjen Robben, a still-active Dutch soccer player) to 750€ for the Magic Morocco bracelet by Bjorn Van Den Berg (twenty-four-karat gold plated metal with colored crystals).

X Bank’s collaborations with artists and brands

Among the other articles are magazines, books, clothing garments and customizable accessories – the uniting thread: all Made in Holland. X Bank has collaborated with artists and brands. The designer Esther Dorhout Mees created a semi-couture clothing line in 2016. Among the other collaborators is David Laport, winner of the International Woolmark Prize in European Womenswear in 2017. From X Bank, one can also buy the limited edition Love Rocks Ice Cubes from Stoned Marble – in pink marble –, the Delfter Piep Egg by Brutus Kookt, a utensil for boiling eggs which sings Dutch songs when its job is done (In Holland Staat een Huis, Twee Emmertjes Water Halen and Wilhelmus, depending on the egg’s cooking point). Two other articles revolve around eggs in the store: Marcel Wanders’ ceramic Egg Vases, available in gold and silver. To create the egg shape, Wanders used hard boiled eggs inside a latex condom.

Another work for the artist – who was born in Boxtel in 1963 – is exhibited as part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Its title is Knotted Chair (1996), a chair built from a structure made of a carbon fiber core and a layer of kevlar, hardened with epoxy. Wanders’ fame inside the Netherlands grew after he collaborated with Peter Lute in 2005 to create the Lute Suites, seven eighteenth-century cottages outside of Amsterdam looking onto the Amstel river.

X Bank 

Spuistraat 172, 1012 VT, Amsterdam, Netherlands
X Bank is an urban concept store and exhibition space in a historic building showcasing artwork by Dutch designers.

Joanna Vlahos

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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