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WFH – The Design Bridge Amsterdam Edition

A window into our temporary creative studios (homes) and the objects we’ve curated for them.

In these challenging circumstances, and the more time we #stayindoors, we start to re-engage and take delight in the spaces we call home. Affectionately known as our working from home (WFH) cribs – cue the HD title sequence.

I’m sure we have all observed a plethora of make-shift temporary workspaces through the delights of Zoom, Teams, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp or whatever your preferred platform of interaction is. From spare bedrooms and living room take-overs to storage cupboards, we are adapting to a new way of living, communicating and creating.

Now, more than ever*, our homes have become a place of retreat, inspiration, and creativity – the virtual doors have been opened wide for our colleagues, clients and the world to see. The objects that live within our spaces help to get us through each day, keep our motivation high, and enable us to remember their unique stories (and the reasons why we fell in love with them).

Recently, I invited our Amsterdam studio to be brave and share a glimpse into their unique WFH cribs., and to also share a story behind an object that is in constant view.

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Daniel Leckenby, Design Director
“I love to be surrounded by things that give me peace – stones, crystals, statues and paintings I’ve brought home from trips to Nepal and India. To the left of my screen is a beautiful brass Krishna from my favourite place in India, Rishikesh, where the Ganges emerges from the Himalayas. Around his neck, a mala of pearl and rudraksha beads blessed by an enlightened man.”

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Andrea Lambert, Client Director
“We found the black and white image of this rather dapper gentleman in a junk shop. He came with a long story about a failed plan to move to New Zealand. Cutting it short, we were told that, after a big send-off, he was back in the Netherlands literally within a couple of weeks. His friends in the pub made this large image of his passport photo to celebrate his return. Some years later the picture was found in the storeroom of the pub and he now graces our wall. If anyone recognises him, we’d love to know his (real?) story.”

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Ashleigh Lambert, Senior Designer & Jess Chote, Senior Client Manager
“When Jess and I first moved in, the real estate agent promised he would get this green beast removed. So, we signed the contract, and then the landlord said ‘No, I never agreed to do that’. We have slowly got used to the cabinet. It’s not exactly the shade of green that makes you feel calm, but it certainly keeps me alert, bright and positive during these weird times.”

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Jacques Mackay, Design Director
“Unicorn Kitty (aka. Ty Heather) was first spotted in a store last year when I was in Barcelona with my sister-in-law. She is my desk companion with sparkly eyes who keeps me company and makes me feel less alone. A constant reminder for me to be kind, compassionate and always shine… especially to my colleagues.”

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Alex Normanton, Creative Director
“The joy of having a laptop is the flexibility to move to a different scene within the same location. I often get inspired by playing the piano (but that’s another story), and I’ve always had a fascination with typography, old signs and vintage ephemera. This London bus destination blind (circa. 1930s) was silk-screen printed, glued onto linen and hand wound around a set of rollers (for use onboard the famous Routemaster buses). The final stop on the bus route is revealed by turning a handle to the required position. Ironically, this small section was found at Neef Louis, in North Amsterdam.”

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Jade Lee, Studio Manager
“The square-framed piece: my Aunt cross-stitched this for my Mother when I was adopted. It has my birthplace, date of birth and my name on it. The piece of tinfoil: to protect stuff from my asshole cats.”

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Carla Traini, Creative Director
“I have just moved to Amsterdam and inside one of the kitchen cabinets I found these wonderful cups. They feature different naked people painted inside each cup. They have changed my coffee routine before work and every morning I invent different stories around each character. I’ve even opened an Instagram account to tell the world: @story_of_a_cup.”

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Aad Windig, Creative Artworker
“Our (Wes Anderson inspired) house is stacked with colours and antiques. This rather naive oil painting from Willem Bakkum (1919-1979) is a wedding gift from my love to me. It has everything to do with my fascination of the disappearing world of circuses, funfairs and gypsies.”

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Thanks to you all for being so candid, brave and willing to share your unique spaces and those special eclectic items with the world.

The next edition?
I pass the challenge on to Sam Cutler in our NYC Studio.

Alex Normanton

Written by Alex Normanton and his fellow WFH Amsterdam Studio colleagues.

All images shot by storytellers on smartphones (apart from Daniel who has a fancy camera).

*A phrase made famous with a recent trend in filmmaking for various brands.

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