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Social merchandise for Casa 400

Together with a number of young designers from Pal West, socially conscious design firm Studioversus has created a range of merchandise for Hotel Casa 400.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 30-09-2010

To the east of Amsterdam lies a hotel with a social agenda.  Named Casa 400, the building offers rooms to paying guests and provides accommodation for students. In line with this unique concept, Studioversus and organisation Pal West were asked to develop a range of products and work clothing.

Pal West is an initiative that helps young people (aged 14 to 17) to develop their design talents by working on a project with professionals in the field of fashion. Seven budding young designers were chosen based upon their previous work at Pal West and their connection to the hotel’s neighbourhood. They were asked to come up with a line of merchandising and workwear together with Studioversus. “We aimed to make both the design process and the finished project unique,” says Isabelle Scholtemeijer from Studioversus.

In-house design

A scarf, a set of glasses and the so-called Neighbourhood ticket were the three products developed by Pal West’s Rabiye Soy, Devante Noto and Vera van der Werff. The ticket acts as a “do not disturb” sign and doubles as a guide booklet, giving information about the hotel’s surrounding neighbourhood. Having a workshop set up in Casa 400 ensured hotel staff got a look in at the design process and managed to inspire more than just the merchandise. “The kids saw all kinds of ways to integrate their designs as they were developing these products,” recalls Scholtemeijer. The pieces feature various illustrations inspired by the location of the hotel, and the bar now has a whole wall covered in the same graphic design as the neighbourhood ticket.

Working Fashion
In addition to the merchandising, Studioversus was given the challenge to design the new workwear for Hotel Casa 400’s staff. Led by fashion designer Anneloes Ouwehand, four of Pal West’s young fashion designers (Anna Foulidis, Kiki van Caspel, Josefine Smid en Zefania Landburg) did research into the functionality and quality of workwear. Inspired by Amsterdam’s famous crosses – found in the city’s crest – the uniforms feature a graphic design incorporating the symbol that indicates the wearer’s position in the hotel through colour coding. For instance, the receptionist wears a grey dress with a pink and purple print and the catering staff wear a shirt with the same pattern in blue and purple.

“The biggest challenge was getting all parties really involved in the design process,” says Scholtemeijer. “In the end Casa 400 has a set of products that shows a great collaboration  on a social and material level.”

Photos courtesy of Studioversus

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