WOW Amsterdam, 2014
A building like a multi-tool Swiss knife
Wow Amsterdam is like a Swiss knife. The former school building presently accommodates a hostel, a ‘broedplaats’ (creative ‘breeding place’), a restaurant, a herb garden and an art space. And like every pocketknife this building also has a handy hidden feature: the Plantage, an urban farm in the complex’ courtyard, which functions like a laboratory for food production in urban areas. The restaurant, where the fruits of this labour can be enjoyed, is definitely worth a visit.
Another of the Plantage’s accessories is the ink garden. Wow Amsterdam’s backdoor neighbour is AGA LAB, formerly known as Amsterdam Grafisch Atelier. They have become experts in the field of natural ink, which they use for various printing techniques.
The ultimate pocketknife tool is the artists. Throughout the year WOW Amsterdam hosts recently graduated artists from all over the world. They come to live and work in a place where the residents from the Kolenkit neighbourhood, the hotel guests and the Wow employees all contribute to an undeniable synergy.
After zooming in on WOW Amsterdam like this, it may seem like André Volten’s sculpture here is overlooked. This is not the case. I will elaborate on his work when we get to his big brother at the Sloterplas.