The Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy is the first one to five star design hotel in the world. It was created out of a curiosity to explore the cultural luggage of guests, a longing to make a connection between Dutch culture and theirs and a zest for making visitors feel welcome.
Initiators of Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy are Otto Nan, an art historian who organized parties in warehouse Vrieshuis Amerika in the 90ties, Suzanne Oxenaar, independent curator and cofounder of restaurant Supperclub, Liesbeth Mijnlief, who had set up restaurant Amsterdam and Werkendam prior to that of Lloyd Hotel, and Gerrit Groen, tax expert at Ernst & Young.
In the mid nineties, a debate was going on in the cultural scene about the international position of Amsterdam. The main thought was that more energy should be put into regaining a prominent position in the international arts field.
At the same time, the city council started to develop ambitious plans to rejuvenate the Eastern Docklands area, which had lost its harbour function and was used mainly by squatters who improvised housing and workspace in the large warehouses.
Oxenaar and Nan combined these two current events into a plan for a one to five star hotel, with a strong emphasis on cultural visitors. Hence a Cultural Embassy, which would normally represent Dutch culture abroad. Lloyd Hotel’s Cultural Embassy represents Dutch culture in Amsterdam, and organises the exchange with the cultures of the guests from all over the world.
It took the initiators eight years to form a team, attract investors and organise the building works. A combination of private investors and a housing corporation provided the financial solidity that was needed to make the plan succeed.
December 2011 saw the launch of a new hotel by initiators Suzanne Oxenaar, Otto Nan and Gerrit Groen in Amsterdam: Hotel The Exchange.
Dutch Design award for Best Client (October 2012)
Time Out magazine award for Best Hotel (October 2010)
Benno Premsela prize awarded to Suzanne Oxenaar (November 2009)
Vredeman de Vriesprijs (November 2006)
Talent du Luxe (November 2006)
Amsterdam Prize awarded to Claudy Jongstra (January 2006)
MVRVD were asked to give the building its next transition. It had to be changed back into a hotel after decades of having served as a prison. The architects had the insights and the cunning to come up with radical solutions which freed the building of its past without burying it.
MVRDV architects were a young bureau at the time they were approached for Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy. Artistic director Suzanne Oxenaar was impressed with their early projects, such as the headquarters for the Public Broadcasting Company VPRO. The identity and physical shape of its former villas were successfully brought into a radical new building. Projects like these won MVRDV international acclaim and established its leading role in the international architecture scene. The design team for Lloyd Hotel was led by Nathalie de Vries, one of the three principal architects next to Winy Maas and Jacob van Rijs. The team consisted of Fokke Moerel, Stefan de Koning, Sandor Naus, Eline Strijkers, Jeroen Zuidgeest, Stefan Witteman, Ignacio Borrego, Magali Homms, Teun Spruyt, Giselle Löb. The first sketch stems from 1996, the building works started in 1998 and lasted until 2004.
Being a national monument, the exterior of Lloyd Hotel is protected. Within the building, MVRDV carved a void through the volume – from the ground floor restaurant through to the sixth floor, to open up the claustrophobic interior and to create a communal area for guests. They used sustainable methods like densification and inventive re-use of existing structures before embarking on new construction.
It combines intimate spaces with an open plan. The creation of the void resulted in the restaurant and the open plan spaces bathing in natural light.
The open plan spaces – which also house the Cultural Embassy - are surrounded by the 117 rooms. MVRDV also designed a number of bathrooms for three star rooms.
Visser & Van Rijckevorsel filmed the process of transformation by MVRDV for their documentary ‘Lloyd Hotel; history of a building’, which came out in 2005.