AMSTERDAM – Mirjam Espinosa and her husband Tom have recently completed their third model of boutique hotel brand Hotel V. With the three sites located throughout Amsterdam, the most recent addition – Hotel V Fizeaustraat – is situated in the East of the city near the Amstel River, rather than in the centre where its two older siblings – Nesplein and Frederiksplein – can be found. The owner/operator duo are eleventh generation Amsterdammers with great insight into the happenings of the city and what their clientele desire. With experience garnered through their previous hospitality developments, Mirjam Espinosa thinks they have a good recipe of varied knowledge to not only develop and operate but also design without the need for trained professionals: ‘When you are able to create your own working space, you can dive into all the details very deeply, whereas professional interior designers have a broader vision generally.’ The existing building utilised for the hotel was designed in the 1970s by Piet Zanstra. Mirjam decided to observe the same era for interior inspiration.
Acting as developer, designer, owner and operator has its benefits. In a typical development model there are many separate specialists. Sometimes a lack of communication can lead to the agenda of one discipline taking precedence, culminating in loss of quality for the user. A project can become overdesigned when a designer has free reign over the outcome, tending to induce the feeling of a museum of beautiful objects. Conversely, leaving the work solely to a developer can create a focus on bottom line figures. Mirjam avoids these issues through working on all roles at once, allowing a common goal to emerge. She collects and assembles, selecting varied products from designers, while sometimes designing items herself. ‘A comfortable, liveable feeling is created by mixing designer interior items with custom-made items and vintage or rare pieces,’ she says – always with economy, function, beauty and user satisfaction in mind. The visitors’ experience is the common goal she sets, ‘First the people! Design without people in a hotel is lifeless and lacks energy.’
Taking note of interior styles of the 1970s, Mirjam used brown hues with timber. Green colours complement internal planting, and brick – as an external material, is introduced to the kitchen. Referencing the rigid geometry of the exterior building form, she installed geometric tiles in the bathrooms and geometric timber flooring in the bedrooms. Consideration for acoustics occurred throughout the public and private space. Soft treatment of finishes in the hallways that lead to the bedrooms allow people to circulate without disturbing guests. The application of coved vertical timber panels in the restaurant allows for the muffling of load voices and kitchen clashes for a pleasant dining experience. Three vitrine-type boxes artfully organise different functions. The two interior boxes house a planted garden and a wine tasting experience, while the exterior box hosts those who require a cigarette break – avoiding the smell affecting the new guests’ arrival experience. As a self-trained designer, Mirjam is considered in her understanding from aesthetics and technicalities to the social interactions of her guests, which has resulted in a successfully composed interior.
Photos courtesy of Hotel V/Joram Blomkwist