PEACOCKS AND MAGPIES
A historic Amsterdam bank has become a high-end new club, thanks to a collaboration between designer Charlotte Emmerig and artist Peter Korver
Designed by the architect of Amsterdam’s once demolished Crystal-Palace and its famous Amstelhotel, this Bank office located between the Rembrandtplein and the Opera, was a subtle reminder of the days of economic boom at the end of the 19th century, a period commonly referred to as the 'Gilded Age'. Originally commissioned by Abraham Wertheim, leading figure in finance and culture of the 1870's, the new club on these historic premises was to be designed as a tribute to this man and his era, hence the name; ABE.
Although the history of the place was there, due to a thorough acoustic reconstruction the interior was no longer. Today this new spacious club has one of the longest bars in Europe and is decorated with a bright palette of pastel-colors mixed with a selection of monumental historical elements. A large segment of antique safe-deposit lockers hovers as an ornament high over the stairs in the lobby. An original bank-counter serves as wardrobe. Highlight of the historical element however is a set of two monumental murals. Here we find a different set of colours; the dusty green of printed money, gilded like a fin-de-ciècle banker's boudoir. Abe's Peacock room in the v.i.p lounge was designed by Peter Korver and executed on site. A light hearted reference to the room James Whistler painted for London’s shipping tycoon Frederick Leyland in the 1870's. Men like Leyland and Wertheim; contemporaries, businessmen and patrons of the arts. Abe’s peacocks however - two monumental statues of gold-leaf behind brass vault bars - have seen their space being invaded by Magpies, while in the loungebar Korver has painted four more of these birds, now blown to almost man-sized proportions.
Lean, agile and intelligent forest birds, thriving in this modern urban environment. Magpies have built a name for themselves as having a strong appetite for glam and a habit of stealing glittering objects. Due to their black and white outfit they might even be taken for bank robbers, but the right light on their shiny black feathers reflects a rainbow of colors and brings out the peacock in them.
A glittering reference to the Gilded Era to which club Abe wants to pay homage.