Photo by Gry Goa ( @gryen74).
The international symbols for man and woman often used on signage for restrooms at airports, museums, restaurants and public places, etc., throughout the world are sometimes reinterpreted by designers. We noticed a lot of variations on the symbols at various places in Amsterdam on our recent visit there. Pictured here are the even more minimalist and pared down and arm-less versions of these symbols used in signage at Ij Kantine, a massive, beautifully designed restaurant and bar in Amsterdam’s northside across the Ij River. We’ll post images of the restaurant in a separate post soon.
The clothing store Tenue de Nimes is among Amsterdam’s most influential purveyors of denim, clothing and style, if not its foremost. The shop reliably stocks an impeccably curated selection of well-made clothing, jeans, shoes and accessories, including a lot of limited edition items. The shop also publishes a popular tabloid-format magazine on newsprint called Journal de Nimes and recently delivered edition No. 9 of the magazine in English marking their 5th anniversary. Beautifully designed and illustrated, this issue of Journal de Nimes provides a Best Of list of the owners’ favorite places in Amsterdam to eat, drink, find culture and even get tattoos. Other highlights are an interview with Yuki Matsuda (of brands Yukaten and Monitaly) and a visit to a Japanese textile-making workshop.
The introduction wall at a show of works by contemporary Polish artist Polina Olowska at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum displays the exhibition’s title “Au Bonheur des Dames” written as classic, early “wild style”-era graffiti by Mick La Rock along with some tags by other prominent graffiti artists from the international scene, such as Lady Pink.
We paid a visit to Lot Sixty One Coffee Roasters’s espresso bar and roastery on Amsterdam’s Kinkerstraat street. Lot 61 was opened in early 2013 by Australian coffee connoissuer and entrepreneur Adam Craig, who used to live in New York City, where he had opened and run the acclaimed Culture Espresso in NYC’s fashion-garment district. (In full disclosure, Adam is an old friend of ours who we’ve known since those NYC days.) In just a few months, Lot 61 has already upped the game in the rapidly growing Amsterdam third-wave coffee scene, as Amsterdam’s coffee lovers increasingly warm to the idea of take-out coffee and the importance of carefully sourced, roasted and brewed beans. The coffee here is first-rate. Check ’em out.
Pictured below are the contents of my coat and jeans pockets spread out on a table following my arrival in Amsterdam. Looking at these I realize that aside from my iPhone (not pictured since I used it to take the photo) it’s pretty much all (and perhaps more than) I really need for international travel and a seven-hour transatlantic flight.
The contents include, clockwise from top-left: Ray-Ban folding sunglasses, Property Of leather wallet, passport, Moleskine soft-cover notebook with Micron felt pen tucked inside, ear plugs (I lost one on the plane), dental floss, iPhone USB charger, cash (U.S. and Euro coins and bills leftover from last trip to Europe), lip balm, earbuds, Orbit chewing gum, a banana (leftover from breakfast on the plane), silk cloth for cleaning my eyewear and devices screens.
Or course, I’ve got a Porter carry-on bag with a lot more stuff that makes a long flight bearable, and in this bag usually bring along useful stuff, such as my Apple Macbook Air, external hard drives, HD cam, snacks, eyemask, eyeglasses, a change of clothes (in case we get stuck somewhere due to flight delay/cancellation), multi-country electrical adaptor, a few toiletries for freshening up, etc.
We just arrived in Amsterdam, and now, after settling into our hotel and freshening up from the flight from NYC, we’re enjoying a coffee in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby, pictured below. We’ll be spending a few days here hanging out with old friends, collaborators and creators, and checking out new spaces and checking in at the museums and galleries before celebrating New Year’s.
We like this large street art painting in Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood of a man and a woman holding brooms, as if waiting to sweep up the mess of graffiti on the wall below them. We don’t know who the artist(s), but there a small “FUMS” tag in the lower right of the painting, so maybe that’s the artist. If you know, send us an email.
Street art and graffiti on a roller shutter at the Amsterdam offices of Sid Lee, a hip Canadian advertising agency, which occupy a sprawling warren of adjacent townhouses and storefronts in the trendy De Pijp neighborhood.
Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum has an excellent modern and contemporary art collection, which includes “Something Pacific,” the cheeky and literally meditative artwork by pioneering Korean-American video artist Nam June Paik. The installation (pictured below) is of a classical, somber Buddha statue facing a closed circuit video camera and television set displaying a live video image of himself. Sublime.
Here’s a nice piece of photo-based stencil street art by the artist TONA in Amsterdam’s Centrum neighborhood. The artwork is wheat-pasted and shows a small, blonde child holding an aluminum can (perhaps a can of beer?)
This is one of the more interesting things we’ve seen in a museum lately. It’s the notebook of the man who originally conceived the iconic Volkswagen van, which eventually became the basis for the more popularly known VW bus. The notebook contains his initial sketches of the vehicle, and it’s on view in the design section of Amsterdam’s spectacularly renovated — and recently re-opened — Rijksmuseum. Though Volkswagen is a German company, the concept for the VW van was created by a Dutch race car driver named Ben Pon, who in addition to being an Olympic athlete and vintner was also an importer of VWs after World War II. Pon wanted a smaller, lightweight “truck” type of VW vehicle more suitable for the needs of the Dutch market. He was inspired by a small cart he saw in a factory, and based on his design VW began to produce the vehicle. The full story of how Pon’s idea evolved and got produced is fascinating.
Now that we’re finally getting some real summer weather here in New York City, we’ve busted out a pair of denim espadrilles with an awesome skull-and-bones sewn into each shoe. The skulls are wearing hats, though — look closely — and you’ll notice that the hats are different for the left and right shoes: the left-foot shoe’s skull has a bowler hat, the right has a top hat. We bought these a few weeks ago at a super awesome select shop in Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood called Tenue De Nimes.
De Pijp is a popular — if overplayed — Amsterdam neighborhood among hipsters, tourists, and expats locals alike. Not that these are mutually exclusive tribes, mind you. It’s home to a huge, famous street market, cool advertising agency offices, great cafes and lots and lots of street art, including these paintings below.
We love this multi-layered stencil street art image of this DJ dude wearing a baseball cap in the area of Amsterdam’s Centrum near the trendy De Pijp neighborhhood. The artwork is on the side of a corner building on Fokke Simonzstraat street that’s home to the popular Boulangerie Mortier cafe and is a spot with lots of street art.
A few months ago we posted about the really great espresso cafe in Amsterdam called Headfirst. We recently re-visited Headfirst and picked up a bag of their rich, heady-flavorful espresso beans, which came in a bag with hand-drawn labeling (“Costa Rica, Los Robles, Cup of Excellence #2”) by one of Headfirst’s co-founding baristas.