Store Tour: Exploring Dutch Culture
Jump into the mind of Liz Muller – design extraordanaire, visionary, and coffee enthusiast.
I’ve enjoyed designing Starbucks® stores all over the world. But I was most excited to create this one in my hometown of Amsterdam, in the historic bank-vault space at Rembrandt Square. I knew it was an opportunity to celebrate coffee’s extensive Dutch heritage. And my own.
We designed this space as a theatre, with the bar as the stage. We collaborated with dozens of local artists to bring the entire store to life. To tell the story of coffee in a way that gave people reason to interact with it. Everything here has meaning, with so many beautiful surprises to be found. From the original bank vault’s exposed concrete and 1920s marble floors to the entire wall illustrating coffee’s early journeys to and from Amsterdam. A journey starting in the early 1700s, when Amsterdam was one of the biggest markets with the earliest known traders of coffee, tea and spices.
I saw this store as very female in its form. The tiles are her skirt, the two columns, her legs. The burlap bags from our nearby roastery wrap around the columns as her stockings. And the antique blue delft tiles on either side of the store? Her bracelets, of course.
As you’re walking into the store it says, in High Dutch, “The freshest coffee in the world, you get right here.” That’s because for over a decade Starbucks has roasted its coffee for Europe just down the street. So as if this creative shrine to Dutch culture and community wasn’t enough, we’re serving the freshest Starbucks coffee on the continent right here at the The Bank on Rembrandtplein.
Coffee is just so important to our culture. Even today, you’ll rarely find us ordering a coffee to go. The Dutch savor the company and community just as much as the coffee. That’s why we designed this place, first and foremost, as a gathering space. A place for anyone to enjoy a comforting drink with a friend, watch a concert, listen to poetry or take a journey through Dutch coffee history.