February 9, 2021

Carlo Alberto Monteverde Designs Colorful Cultural Hub for Artists and Students in Amsterdam

The ground floor of WOW Lieven is a vibrant open space, while the upper level features offices and service rooms for the staff. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.

Amsterdam, a beloved destination among backpackers and tourists alike, is adapting to an influx of newcomers with no plans to leave. In response to the growing number of students and entrepreneurs, residential complexes have popped up in the suburban districts adjacent to the city center, many of which include cultural hubs to encourage social interactions, such as WOW Lieven.

Located in a student housing complex in the New-West area, local architect Carlo Alberto Monteverde designed the interior of the 200-square-meter hub (approximately 2,153 square feet) to function as what he calls a “living machine,” which fluctuates and morphs over time. On the ground floor, blocks of color and a series of simple plywood-finished boxes divide the space into three areas: the entrance in blue, used mainly for concerts and exhibitions, followed by the center in yellow with a bar and shared desks, and a dining area in red. “The color palette is a fundamental feature of the space,” says Monteverde. “Since it has been thought of as cultural space and crossway for artists… the primary colors—red, yellow, and blue—are instances of starting points; a metaphorical primary ‘palette’ of spaces for the users.” 

The transient nature of the hub enables it to function even beyond its current home, if the need to move it arises. The design elements can be easily disassembled and rebuilt in a new locale. “As the city is a transforming canvas where young professionals leave their first signs, the Wow Lieven has been intended as a blank canvas that will change faces during the following years thanks to the interactions between users,” Monteverde adds. 

Laminated perforated panels fill the wooden boxes enable the users to hang artworks for temporary exhibitions or working tools. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.
A sculpture of a figure daydreaming, designed ad hoc by Carlo Alberto Monteverde, features chrome finishings. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.
The yellow chairs and tables signify the start of a new work zone in the space. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.
In the workshop area, the furniture is designed by Richard Hutten for Lensvelt, except for the table produced by Monteverde’s studio. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.
The entire project is designed to be completely disassembled and replaced in a different space, embodying temporality and transformation. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.
The furniture selection belongs completely to the Amsterdam based design furniture label Lensvelt and is a homage to the Dutch design. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.
The inspirational statue is visible throughout the space. Photography by Peter Tijhuis.

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