Moos Bar & Café, Spaarndammerbuurt, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

With designers and architects tripping over themselves to interpret the latest, popular trends – often at the urging of their clients – it is easy to miss subtle genius or sensitive interpretations of vernacular styles.

When we saw Moos, a bar and café in Amsterdam, we almost passed it buy. It is not particularly striking, cool or elegant. Outside or in, it doesn’t try to impress or shock. But it has an interesting story to tell.

Designed by Amsterdam-based Studio Modijefsky, a nine-person firm established by Esther Stam in 2009, Moos is the latest entry into the Goudvisch Family of bars and cafes.

The client, Joost Lebesque of 3WO commissioned Studio Modijefsky to complete not just the interior of Moos but also to create the name and brand identity.

The story behind the unusual interior of Moos is based on the location, a ground-floor space in a corner building in the Spaarndammerhuut neighbourhood, best known for the innovative Het Schip housing complex.

It was designed in 1919 by Michel de Klerk, one of the founding members of the eclectic architectural style of the Amsterdam School in which buildings are generally made of brick with complicated masonry and rounded appearance. Amsterdam School style also featured elaborate building elements inside and out including decorative masonry, art glass, wrought ironwork, and integrated architectural sculpture. The aim was to create a total architectural experience including both the interior and exterior.

Moos certainly ticks of the eclectic box with its multitude of materials and elements. The overall muted red-brick-and-wood colour scheme ties together the otherwise busy interior that includes tiled surfaces, wood panelling, multi-patterned flooring and textured fabrics.

The two-level space is 108,5 square metres (1,162 sq.ft)  in size with the terrace adding another 45 square metres (484 sq. ft). The bar on the ground floor is made of marble with brass detailing and pale pink, beige and yellow tiling.

The mezzanine level features more modern accents such as mirrors, neon, bright colours and framed pictures in addition to the traditional features.

Studio Modijefsky is known for several public projects including the renovated Museum of Arnhem, Amsterdam headquarters (restaurants and breakout rooms), and work at Schiphol Airport and Van Gogh Museum.

Lead by Esther Stam, the Moos team includs Moene van Werven, Natalia Nikolopoulou, Agnese Pellino, Ivana Stella, Felicia Urena and Blerina Xhigoli.

The Amsterdam School Museum Het Schip, located in the complex, is dedicated to this style. The structure gained is moniker, Het Schip (the Ship) from the shape of the red-brick building.

In addition to Moos, the Goudvisch Family of bars includes Bonnie, Arie op de Hoc and Neef van Fred, all located in central Amsterdam. Tuija Seipell

Images: Maarten Willemstein

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