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Studio Boekman: A young, vibrant addition to the National Opera & Ballet, by Dam & Partners Architects

Press Release: 19/12/2023
Text by
Lotte Senior

Tuesday 19/12/2023 the Dutch National Opera & Ballet hosted the grand opening of the newly completed ‘Studio Boekman’. The new Studio is a dynamic counterpart to the original 1986 design of the City Hall and ‘Het Muziektheater’ Amsterdam Citizen Hall construction by Wilhelm Holzbauer and Cees Dam, alongside our full scale redesign of the main hall in 2018. With its focus on flexibility and sustainable use of materials, Studio Boekman has been created with the future-user in mind, whilst paying homage to the rich culture and history of the National Opera and Ballet.

On July 5th 1982, the first ground was broken for Cees Dam & Wilhelm Holzbauer design of the National Opera & Ballet. When Dam & Partners Architecten renovated the foyer in 2018, the interior was stripped back to the essence of the original design and renewed purpose: to make the National Opera & Ballet a beating heart of many forms of culture and art, where everyone can find something to enjoy. Now, Studio Boekman carries this same purpose in every detail of its design.

Credit: Fabian Calis

Renewed Purpose with Sustainability taking centre-stage

As the National Opera & Ballet continues to be a beating heart of art and culture, Studio Boekman has been returned to its original function as a hall to welcome diverse productions by young creatives. The redesign by Dam & Partners Architecten has put several sustainable measures at core of this redesign. Since its completion, the National Opera & Ballet have been awarded the International Opera Award for their commitment to sustainability, with Studio Boekman playing a significant role:

Repurposing materials
The design uses existing materials and elements as much as possible, alongside involving little or no demolition. The repurposed materials are visible the minute you walk into the space, where guests walk on the original marble floor. The Studio is clad in clear-coated blue steel that have reused from NO&B’s own archive. The panels come from the decor for Lohengrin designed by Jannis Kounellis.

Green outside, green inside
In collaboration with Dam & Partners Architecten, the municipality of Amsterdam will reopen the North-South route from Amstel to Waterlooplein and add greenery and trees. The walkway symbolises the broader development of attracting a more diverse and younger public. This in combination with the green plants around the café not only improve the air quality but also give the foyer a unique and fresh contemporary look. The inclusion of circular planters gives the café an intimate and sheltered character.

All these details links the rich culture, history and craftmanship of the National Opera and Ballet with the user of tomorrow.

Communication with the visitor
A large display wall in the lobby of Studio Boekman offers visitors a changing display of old costumes and other decor pieces from NO&B’s fantastic studio. This links the history of opera and ballet with the future user, the large (second-hand) LED wall shows a beautiful dynamic image of opera and ballet and gives a young and dynamic appearance.

Fluidity and contrast with the main foyer
Studio Boekman is designed with a continuous aubergine-coloured sliding stand, and wooden floor that connects the audience with the performers. Therefore the hall itself has numerous options for different theatre set-up. The 2018 redesign of ‘main’ foyer surrounding the large hall has a steel crumpled wall around the room and a grey carpet with wooden circles and around Studio Boekman there is a steel wall of squares with indirect light. The interior has a dark gray ceiling and wooden circles with a light floor; contrast and harmony.

Bringing a focus on flexibility and sustainable use of materials, Studio Boekman links the history of opera and ballet with the user of tomorrow. For more information about the Studio Boekman project, click here.

Credit: Fabian Calis
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