Chosen over two other firms, Sid Lee Architecture and Sid Lee’s Amsterdam atelier were mandated to create the new Red Bull Amsterdam headquarters. The company agreed to settle in the North side of Amsterdam’s port area, in a site evocative of both an artistic street culture and the intensity of extreme sports. The project landed in an old heritage shipbuilding factory, facing a timeless crane and an old disused Russian submarine.
“To design the inner space, we aimed at retrieving Red Bull’s philosophy, dividing spaces according to their use and spirit, to suggest the idea of the two opposed and complementary hemispheres of the human mind, reason versus intuition, arts versus the industry, dark versus light, the rise of the angel versus the mention of the beast”, says Jean Pelland, lead design Architect and Senior Partner at Sid Lee Architecture.
Inside the shipbuilding factory, with its three adjacent bays, the architects focused on expressing the dichotomy of space, shifting from public spaces to private ones, from black to white and from white to black.
"Our goal in this endeavour was to combine the almost brutal simplicity of an industrial built with Red Bull’s mystical invitation to perform. The interior architecture with its multiple layers of meaning conveys this dual personality, reminding the user of mountain cliffs one moment and skate board ramps the next. These triangle-shaped piles, as if ripped off the body of a ship, build up semi-open spaces that can be viewed from below, as niches, or from above, as bridges and mezzanines spanning across space. In the architecture we offer, nothing is clearly set; all is a matter of perception."
Sid Lee Architecture is an architectural and urban creativity firm, based in Montreal (Canada), with a satellite office in Amsterdam (Holland). Founded in 2009, with the integration of the architectural firm Nomade (founded in 1999) Sid Lee Architecture is the result of the combined talents and skills of architect / urban designer Jean Pelland and Martin Leblanc and Sid Lee a well established marketing firm.
Sid Lee Architecture is a creative endeavor, exploring urban design and architecture through an innovative combination of collaborative design processes, media and technology applications. Challenging conventionality, this broad approach generates a new kind of design knowledge and cross-disciplinary culture, empowering the firm to work on a large diversity of urban and architectural ventures, from interior design to urban planning. This new design culture succeeds in delivering landmark projects of diverse sizes. That embody the demands and expectations of today’s clients; the firm has distinguished itself not only by its design excellence but also by an high client fidelity.