Studio thonik finalist Amsterdam Architecture Prize


The self-designed Studio thonik on the Wibautstraat in Amsterdam is finalist for the Golden A.A.P., the most important architecture award in Amsterdam.

Designed by thonik co-founder Thomas Widdershoven in collaboration with Arjan van Ruyven of MMX Architcts, the new studio is the biggest milestone in thonik’s history so far.

The new six-storey studio is a three-dimensional manifesto and the embodiment of thonik’s design philosophy, which is characterized by social commitment and a playful take on modernism’s heritage. The lines on the facade refer to Mexcellent, a typeface designed for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. The combination of horizontals, verticals and diagonals attests to radical simplicity.

The graphic cladding consists of 1 cm slabs of Trespa, mounted directly onto the insulation material. Widdershoven: “This sheeting consists of impregnated paper, produced by a company in Weert in the southeast of the Netherlands – truly Dutch manufacturing. Trespa is undervalued as a construction material yet it outperforms traditional brick. It is light, fully recyclable and has an undeniable graphic quality.”

Studio thonik stands out but doesn’t dominate its environment. It’s a pearl in an otherwise utilitarian setting, positively energising and engaging with the Wibautstraat’s overwhelmingly anonymous, post-war architecture. It bears witness to thonik’s belief that design should always contribute to a more beautiful and therefore a better world.


Studio thonik’s public function is not limited to that of tastemaker however. The Japanese restaurant and sake bar on the ground floor attracts passers-by and the large windows welcome a peek inside. The staircase, balconies and corner windows project into the street and connect the interior and exterior. The top floor is dedicated to debate and the exchange of ideas and includes a rooftop terrace offering 360-degree views over Amsterdam’s inner city and the financial district.

The new building has a gross floor area of 850 sq m (and a usable floor area of 600 sq m). The floor-to-ceiling windows are triple-glazed and layered with a special coating. The indoor climate is regulated with a heat pump. With additional solar and wind energy, high-quality insulation and smart ventilation thonik was able to make the building all-electric and zero emissions.

The most striking thing about the building is the combination of floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the city in and the interiors out, and the façade’s stripes – the effect is dazzling and far from subtle, but it’s also radical in its simplicity and highly detailed and elegant in its execution. (Wallpaper)

As with the Mexcellent typeface, Widdershoven aimed to use the building as a way of exposing large numbers of people to graphic design. (Dezeen – Architecture and Design Magazine)

Visual research, spatial quality and technological experimentation combine in the first project in three dimensions by the Dutch graphic design firm..(Domus Magazine)


Project information:

Design: Thomas Widdershoven (thonik) in collaboration with Arjan van Ruyven (MMX Architecten)

Interior design: Thomas Widdershoven en Nikki Gonnissen

• Acoustic wall panels designed by Simone Post with textile by Vlisco

• Staircase designed by Envisions (Sanne Schuurman and Simone Post)

• Cabinets and room dividers designed by Bart Guldemond

• Interior bar and restaurant designed by Bas van Tol

• Furniture advise by Hans Lensvelt

• Bespoke rugs designed by thonik


Curtains: Vescom; tiles: Mosa, Sphinx; furniture: Richard Hutten, Hay; lighting: SLV, AEG; rugs: thonik; textile ascoustic panels: Vlisco