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Amsterdam Red Light meets Dutch countryside

Warmoesmarkt is a local food market in the heart of Amsterdam that brings a bit of the countryside into the city.

By Jeanne Tan / 13-11-2008

Dutch food is definitely being rediscovered and it's about time.

Located in one of the oldest streets in Amsterdam, now turned tourist trail, Warmoesmarkt is a small market-like shop offering organic fruit and vegetables mostly produced by local farmers, and regional food from The Netherlands like cheeses, bread, jams, meats etc. The store is an initiative of Piet Hekker (owner of the successful De Bakkerswinkel bakery/cafes) and Andy Verdonk (owner of Anna Haen Hoeve, a farm store in Abcoude) who believe fervently in the small-scale production of food in a traditional way.

Designed by EventArchitectuur, the interior feels like a cross between a depot and a marketplace. Dictated partly by the module of a simple black crate, the planning is characterised by a strong grid which can be seen in all aspects of the store from the floor plan, construction and shelving to the signage and visual identity. The crates which are normally invisible utilitarian elements become a prominent feature in the interior, acting not only as display units but also light fittings throughout the store. The central to rear part of the store features a combination of shelving and work benches that resemble market stalls. Near the goods, tasting plates offer delicious nibbles. At the rear of the space, a corner workshop hosts cooking courses and also allows visitors to further sample foods. The central corridor leads to a back garden which refers to farming plots in the Warmoestraat of the past. The gorgeous illustrations were done by Peter Müller.

The concept of the grid and use of standard elements was interpreted into a visual identity and signage system by graphic designers Lesley Moore. Their inspiration came from practicality in combination with improvisation, and the simple hole punch. Little holes adorn the signage and notice boards throughout the store and the type. 'Everybody owns a hole punch, and every hole punch has the same size', says Karin van den Brandt from Lesley Moore. 'We made a grid based on a hole punch in several places in the interior as the foundation for the graphic elements. So it becomes easy to hang or move brochures, signs or price tags in the shop, somewhere in the grid'. For the typographic elements, the designers worked with the theme Grow. 'The size of the hole (from the hole punch) is the basic element – the seed – of the letters A, O, R. Even when the font-size becomes larger, the size of the perforation-hole will stay the same resulting in various As, Os and Rs, that will give the font a dynamic character'.

Dutch food is definitely being rediscovered and it's about time. Warmoesmarkt is a celebration of food traditions of the past fused with the lifestyle of the present and will no doubt in the future, be a roaring success.

Photography: Vincent Zedelius

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