At the Amsterdam home of Dutch architect Felix Claus, the sea is the unobtrusive star—not the churning ocean, but a calmer, metropolitan sea that laps at the shores of this picturesque city. In the new residential neighborhood of IJburg, located on seven artificial islands constructed in Lake IJssel, Claus has fashioned an apartment whose magnificent, panoramic windows make the surrounding body of water a part of the decor. “I’ve tried to allow practicality and the typical Dutch composure to exist side by side with the sensuality and exuberance of the Mediterranean,” he says.
Claus’s design is highlighted by the use of refined materials and elegant details. The rooms are painted in soft grays; the floors are made of Jura stone, which, he says, “has an integrity unlike that of any man-made product.” The apartment is on the top floor of a dramatically minimalist five-story building that also houses Claus en Kaan, the architectural firm that Claus founded with partner Kees Kaan; fittingly, the company has designed a number of the structures in IJburg. Wide-angle windows and outdoor terraces take in the lake and the constantly mutating Dutch cloudscapes. “I wanted to create a world in which the indoors and outdoors are two communicating realities,” Claus says. “I wanted a place of relaxation, where I could be lulled by the way the rooms flow into one another.”
Neon lighting in the kitchen and soft lighting throughout the house provide illumination when the natural light outside the windows grows dim. The furniture is minimal, with a selection of well-chosen design classics, including chairs by Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, and Hans Wegner. In the study, shelves on one wall hold books—including architecture monographs, collections of poetry, and seagoing tales—as well as a row of miniature air conditioners. More shelves in the kitchen contain cookbooks, protected from spills and splashes by large glass doors. “I like the idea that they’re on display,” says Claus, “like jewels in a jewelry box.”
Originally published in ELLE DECOR Italia.