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DDD - Feelosophy

The Overtoom will come to life during DDD with a route designed to reveal the history and hidden treasures of this so-called “servant’s entrance” to the Vondel Park.

By Gabrielle Kennedy /asdf 16-09-2010

For Dutch Design Double, international brand design agency Design Bridge is presenting Feelosophy, an installation trail designed to uncover the essence of one of Amsterdam’s most unsuspecting roads – the Overtoom.

Feelosophy means being in tune with one’s feelings and intuition so it makes good sense that a branding mentality is behind this project.  “Branders really try to look at things differently,” says Design Bridge creative director Claire Parker.  “Branding is about uncovering the truth within for everyone to see.”

The Overtoom is the road that runs along the west side of the Vondel Park – the big green space that acts as the heart and soul of Amsterdam.  Interestingly, the parallel road on the south side of the park is a stiffer more affluent artery.  “The Overtoom feels like the servant’s entrance,” laughs Parker, “which makes sense because it was always the trade route.”

Together with her team, Parker has uncovered a fascinating history and lots of secret little haunts up and down the road, which trams and cars use to enter and exit the city center.  “We found everything from brothels, and horse stables, to seventeen different types of ethnic food restaurants and an array of rehabilitation centers,” she says.  “So much exists here that people don't even know about – there is something to satisfy ever basic human need.”

During the Feelosophy event, stickers representing the five senses will line both sides of the Overtoom.  “We are producing a map, but we don’t want to tell people exactly where to go and what to do,” Parker says.  “Instead, the symbols will hint at what might be found if someone digs a little deeper.”

The idea for Feelosophy first occurred to the Design Bridge team when they moved their offices from the Keizersgracht to the Overtoom three years ago.  “We needed more space,” says Parker.  “At first we were skeptical, but once we got here we realized the history and importance of the area.  The building we are in now used to be a stable for the horses used to pull trams, then it was a school for ladies to learn how to ride bicycles in big skirts.  Then it fell into disrepair.”

Over one hundred years ago the Overtoom was a canal filled with barges, but in 1904 it was filled in.  “Green parakeets still fly overhead to the bridge at the other end though,” says Parker.  “It was also the route used by the pilgrims on their way to Begijnhof.”

Design Bridge is an interntational brand design agency with offices in London, Amsterdam and Singapore.  The Feelosophy project has been researched and executed outside office hours.  “We all got involved mainly because we have a sense of passion for our local community,” says Parker.  “The little differences make such a difference.  Of course we are a commercial business, but we are in the business of understanding people and having insights.  We don't exist in a cocoon – otherwise we would have chosen to move outside the city center and just churned stuff out.  It’s cheaper there after all.”

Feelosophy on Overtoom in Amsterdam starts October 4th – check back here for a link for their soon-to-be-released blog.

Feelosophy on Clerkenwell in London coincides with the London Design Festival starting this weekend.

Please click on small images at side to enlarge.

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