After gaining several years' experience working as a designer for Kelly Hoppen in London, Dutch interior designer James van der Velden opened his own studio in 2010: BRICKS Amsterdam emanates the perfect blend of van der Velden’s artistic upbringing and his love for design, resulting in the distinct style of the architectural practice. By combining classical elements with a broad contemporary approach, BRICKS Design is often described as ‘timeless eclecticism’. The “Garage Loft” project in Amsterdam's old town also radiates this. BRICKS transformed an old, abandoned garage built in 1950 into a new, individual home.
Van der Velden was particularly keen to combine the applied arts, namely the decorative arts, with the visual arts. The entire apartment almost resembles a personal museum in which it is possible to touch and even use the beautiful exhibits. A total living space of 1,400 sf is home to vintage furniture, solid designer lamps and an archaic steel table, as well as antique oil paintings and pencil drawings that are a particularly impressive feature in the large kitchen-diner. The design of the parents’ bedroom is dominated by a wall-mounted vintage motorbike that takes pride of place on the top shelf and serves as a reminder of the building's original use. In the bathroom, BRICKS has converted an old workbench into a vanity unit with the archaic surface-mounted Vero washbasin by Duravit sitting on top. The apartment as a whole is all about an interesting use of contrasts – dark and light, textures and smooth surfaces - or the interplay of black-and-white elements, such as the solid black window frames set against the pure white walls. BRICKS also ingeniously breaks the line between inside and outside by creating an "indoor" garden between the bedrooms and the kitchen-diner.