The the foyer of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, originally designed by architect Cees Dam in 1986, has been renewed. Dam & Partners Architecten is responsible for the design of the new foyer in collaboration with Richard Hutten Studio, who designed the custom furniture. In separate phases, the public toilets were renovated, the storage cellar was transformed into an education center and the public foyer was completely renovated. The aim of the renovations is to offer the program to a wider and more diverse audience. One of the starting points in the design is to facilitate a better reception of visitors and a better connection between the various functions in the building and the wishes and requirements of our time.
In order to introduce dance, opera and music to a increasingly young and diverse audience, a small hall has been realized in a former cellar under the foyer. This versatile space is used, among other things, for activities such as recitals and introductions, and educational programs, such as open rehearsals and workshops for teenagers. The design of the education room, called Odeonzaal, can be freely arranged to facilitate the extensive program.
Due to the renovation of the foyer, the building feels more welcoming and its functionality has been greatly improved. The identity of the original design by Dam & Partners Architects from 1986 did not get lost in this process. “Over the years, many additions were made to the interior and we wanted to go back to the essence of the design. In the renewed foyer, the multiple layers of additions have been peeled off, thus creating a clear image again, in which both the contrast with the concert hall and the visual connection with the Amstel and the city have been enhanced, ”says Diederik Dam.
Attention has also been paid to reducing maintenance and increasing energy performance. For example, the pink carpet has been replaced by a gray, more durabel one that is less susceptible to stains and makes the red tones of the new furniture more pronounced. Circular walnut parquet floors have been laid around the curved buffets, which are covered with a mirrored metal to reinforce the connection with the urban surroundings. The shape of the parquet floors refers to that of the hall and to the curve of the Amstel river in front of the National Opera & Ballet.