Villa Arena Restaurant

Villa Arena Restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands be Benthem Crouwel Architects, 2001

Floating in the atrium of Amsterdam's Villa Arena Home Furnishing Center is a restaurant designed by London's Vigile & Stone Associates, in cooperation with Amsterdam's Benthem Crouwel Architects. Reachable via second-floor footbridges, the restaurant's most notable feature is its patina-green, copper cladding, wrapping the oblong cylindrical object.

Perched atop six slanted steel columns, the restaurant's exterior is in sharp contrast to the surrounding glass and metal of the atrium, just like the signage and furnishings of the adjacent shops. Popularized in buildings by James Stirling, and recently in Alsop & Störmer's Peckham Library in London, here the patina-green copper contains a bit of irony; the internal conditions of the atrium are far less severe than the outside in terms of copper's natural patina. Therefore the green color is more an aesthetic choice than a speeding up of nature.

Aside from the green, copper cladding object "floating" in the atrium, the restaurant has other flight connotations, both in how it is accessed and the cylindrical space it contains. Also the doors that cover the entrances when the restaurant is closed work much like airplane doors, in this case hinging upward. Horizontal glass openings frame views of the six-story atrium, at a height for the seated visitor, with vertical slit windows giving an upward view in four locations.

The ends are capped with glass, referencing the shop windows of the surroundings atrium stores. Inside the restaurant is designed to act as a respite from the hustle of the shopping at Villa Arena. Therefore its location and exterior are appropriate, helping the make the restaurant a foreign object in its locale.