A NEW COFFEEHOUSE IN AMSTERDAM WILL BE THE TESTING GROUND FOR IDEAS THAT WILL FIND THEIR WAY TO THE REST OF EUROPE.
Starbucks is known for its unwavering consistency, from its unoffensively homey store décor to its burnt-coffee smell. But this Thursday, the brand that normalized the $4 latte is opening an experimental concept store in Amsterdam that offers a glimpse of the Starbucks of the future--at least in Europe.
Located in the former vault of the historic Amsterdamsche Bank on Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square), on the ground floor of The Bank, a commercial and retail development, the new Starbucks concept store will be a showcase for sustainable interior design and slow coffee brewing, with small-batch reserve coffees and Europe’s first-ever Clover, a high-end machine that brews one cup at a time. But the most radical departure is in the aesthetic: the multilevel space is awash in recycled and local materials; walls are lined with antique Delft tiles, bicycle inner tubes, and wooden gingerbread molds; repurposed Dutch oak was used to make benches, tables, and the undulating ceiling relief consisting of 1,876 pieces of individually sawn blocks. The Dutch-born Liz Muller, Starbucks concept design director, commissioned more than 35 artists and craftsmen to add their quirky touches to the 4,500-square-foot space. The new concept store will officially be open for business on Friday, March 9, 2012.
The designers took great care to retain some of the building’s original details, such as the 1920s marble floor and the vault’s exposed concrete. But while the design respects the bank’s architectural history, the store’s overall look approaches that of a theater, with the baristas visible from every vantage point of the multi-tiered spaces (which also cameo as stages for local bands, poetry readings, and other cultural events). The coffeehouse will also use social media to communicate relevant moments throughout the day--for example, by sending out a tweet when warm cookies roll out of its in-house bakery. The concepts that go over well in Amsterdam will find their way to other stores across Europe. They may even filter into the highly individualized local concept stores that Starbucks has been stealthily opening in the United States, including one made from shipping containers outside of Seattle.
This isn’t the first instance of a quintessentially American brand revamping its approach to appeal to foreign tastes and markets. Check my other blog posts dated December 6, 2011 about the new Burger King concept restaurant in Singapore and November 22, 2011 about the new McDonald's concept restaurant in Paris, France.
COMMENTARY: Now that's my idea of what a Starbuck's store should look like. BIG. Roomy, beautifully decorated, slick, modern and definitely a social watering hole. Not the little 1,100 square foot stores we are accustomed to here in the U.S. If you are ever in Amsterdam, and want to checkout the new Starbucks concept store in Rembrandt Square here's the location on Google Maps.
I love the location for Starbucks new concept store in The Bank located on Rembrandt Square. I can definitely see myself sitting under a tree doing my blogging while drinking a cup of my favorite brew.