Was it 2009 when I first visited the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam? Or was it 2010? Oy, I’m getting old! In any case, I was there for one of the first editions of Elle Inside Design and I loved every inch of it. The beautiful old building, the quirky interiors – heck, even the Indian elevator music was just so. In fact, it was so ‘just so’ that I distinctly remember writing the Lloyd Hotel an e-mail asking them what they were playing. In case you want to know, it was G.S. Sachdev and it was my most enlightening elevator ride ever.
I was back at the Lloyd Hotel last month. Not as a casual visitor but as a guest. And instead of merely visiting Elle Inside Design, I was now a speaker at the event’s successor, called Elle Decoration Live. The last few years definitely have been a ride. One of my favorite parts of blogging is doing interviews. And so right after I had checked into room 114 of the Lloyd Hotel, I sat down with its designer, Dutch furniture maker Wannes Royaards.
So Wannes, how do you get to design a room at the Lloyd Hotel?
The story started with this lamp I had designed. One day I was having a drink at the hotel and noticed it standing here. It turns out that Suzanne Oxenaar, one of the founders of the Lloyd, had bought it at an art gallery. It is now known as the LLOVE lamp and it’s the first design released under the LLOVE label. In order to present the lamp in a suitable environment, I was given the commission to design the ideal hotel room around it.
Which is pretty amazing, because you’re originally a furniture maker, right?
That’s correct! I started out making cabinets and kitchens. Things got a little out of hand when I started a company together with someone else and we rented this big workspace that in retrospect was too expensive. We had to design a lot of white handleless kitchens to make enough money to afford it. I left about a year and a half ago and got back to designing and making everything by myself. I have a new appreciation for making things with my own hands. Production is so uniform nowadays, so IKEA-like that I try to put something of myself in the furniture I make. I like to think that my work has a soul. Character, if you will.
In preparation for this interview I went over your website and realized just how recognizable your design style is. How would you describe it?
A lot of my work is based on cartoon characters. I like their naivity. The chair in this hotel room for example resembles a cat with its tail upright. I don’t often compare my work to what other contemporary designers do. But when I do, I’m actually quite proud of it. I used to just make what had to be made. Now that I have to think about what my design is supposed to be, the pieces start to fall in place. My work has a clumsy quality to it. In the end, I think clumsiness can be very affectionate. It can even cheer me up – and in general, I’m not the most upbeat person there is.
The big eye catcher in this room is the red cabinet – what’s the story behind it?
It was originally a design for a refrigerator, believe it or not. Before the economic crisis of 2008, I used to make kitchens for first-time home buyers who could easily finance an additional 15,000 or 20,000 euro’s for a custom-made kitchen. That all ended when the money dried up and people had to start going back to IKEA kitchens – which nobody liked because they’re all the same. I thought to myself, now why don’t I design something around it? Make a beautiful cabinet that you can put a refrigerator in? I’ve put a modified version of this refrigerator cabinet in this hotel room because it sort of reminds me of Spongebob.
I’ve also put a lot of thought and effort in the laminated gold wall that separates the bathroom from the bedroom. I didn’t want it to look too decadent so I combined it with chipwood paneling that I painted yellow. And as a finishing touch, I added a small window with a vintage lace curtain. Another clumsy detail, right?
What advice do you have for aspiring furniture makers?
It’s true what they say – just keep going! If you stick to it, you’re bound to run into people who believe in you. Who give you an opportunity to do something special. There are so many designers out there. But with a little luck and some goodwill, you’re bound to float to the surface.
I had an absolutely wonderful stay at room 114 of the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. And so can you! In fact, Wannes Royaards is already working on three new rooms for the hotel that proudly calls itself a showcase of Dutch Design. To emphasize its 10th anniversary, the hotel now introduces its own design label: LLOVE Design. Following on the succesfull development of the Lloyd Table*, Wannes Royaards’ LLOVE lamp is the first design that is released under the LLOVE label.
As curator with an eye for former and new design classics, Lloyd Hotel has looked beyond the latest hypes since opening in 2004. Over 50 internationally known and upcoming Dutch artists and designers made their mark here.
Want to have your own Lloyd Hotel LLOVE lamp? Sure you do!
All you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t forget to mention the delivery address. From 13 November to 31 December 2015 you can buy the LLOVe lamp for the amazing introductory price of €150 incl. VAT. Starting January 2016 it will cost €225 (still very, very reasonable!)*
*Prices mentioned are ex €6,95 delivery costs within the Netherlands.
PS: When I stayed at the Lloyd Hotel, they had this great little Japanese market going on – I couldn’t resist sharing the pictures with you along with some casual photo’s I took around the hotel. Here they are!