Beauty in the polder
Roberto M. Benetti
Polders are typical features of the Dutch landscape. They consist of tracts of low-lying marshy land which is drained and protected from tides and flooding by embankments, dikes, dams, canals, sluices, spillways and other drainage works that allow the water level to be controlled artificially. In one of these areas near Aalsmeer, a town just outside Amsterdam renowned for its flower auction, architect Willemijn Beekman from Enzo Architectuur & Interieur designed a complex of three luxury buildings called Nordiawerf. The buildings consist of three essential parallelepipeds with double-pitched roofs, large windows and terraces inspired by the simplicity of the Dutch suburban building tradition and modernist regionalism. «It is an idyllic location on the banks of the Ringvaart (ring canal),» explains Beekman. «It was once the site of a shipyard, the vestiges of which can still be seen in the jetties, moorings and boathouses available for use by the apartment owners.»
The home we are visiting is located in one of the three buildings and was designed by Beekman himself, who describes it as follows: «The clients, a very wealthy couple, wanted an extremely luxurious interior complete with spa and fitness room and with an exuberant, baroque style.» The apartment extends over three levels. The spacious garage, mooring and entrance are located on the ground floor. On the next level, which can be reached by stairs or lift, the architect has positioned a hallway and a lounge area leading to a long corridor with the master bedroom, bathroom and walk-in wardrobe on one side and a guest room with bathroom and laundry room on the other. At the end of the corridor is a large double-volume living room with an open-plan kitchen island that extends towards the canal via a large panoramic terrace (there is another at the back of the house) with extra-large windows to capture the iridescent magic of the northern European light. The third floor houses the spa, the gym overlooking the living room below, and another terrace. «We opted for all these balconies and loggias to allow the clients to enjoy the sun throughout the day,» explains the architect.
The three floors are connected by a sumptuous staircase, the epitome of the baroque aura that Beekman wanted to recreate in the apartment. «It is the highlight of the interior design project and exemplifies its exuberant stylistic approach,» he explains. It is an exceptional structure with an ornate balustrade custom-made by Zoen, the spin-off of Enzo Architectuur & Interieur responsible for handcrafting the furnishings and accessories designed by the practice. The stylised decorative motif of the banisters recalls the human figures that animate the lift cabin and seem to float in the sky. The same design graces the transparent Droom (meaning «dream») doors on the staircase, again custom-made by Zoen, complemented by gold panels protected by thin glass. The risers and treads of the stairs are clad with gold and black Calacatta marble-effect porcelain tiles from Caesar’s Anima collection. This extraordinarily warm, textured surface reappears in a white or grey finish almost everywhere in the home, from the staircase to the living room and kitchen.
Most of the lighting is provided by recessed or projecting spotlights, supplemented in the kitchen, living room and bedrooms by designer pendant lamps. The furnishings are carefully distributed to maintain a sense of spaciousness and display a harmonious blend of vintage and contemporary styles, in some case alluding to certain poetic solutions by Gio Ponti. With its sophisticated, avant-garde technology, rational layout and luxurious finishes, Beekman’s project conveys an overall sense of comfort, aesthetic sophistication and freedom.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <= 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <=145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): Conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 MATT
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme