Raymond Frenken, writer and editor, is one of our frequent guests in Lloyd Restaurant. “Writing is a craft. That I’m able to contribute to artist books, as cultural artefacts, is a luxury. The titles I work on aren’t throw away books: they are designed with a lot of attention and time, they can be appreciated and kept for 100 years or more. As a freelance writer I don’t have an office. I am at my most productive in a place that’s anonymous enough to work and personal enough to feel at home. That’s why I come to Lloyd Restaurant. It’s not completely silent but the buzz doesn’t demand my attention. The kitchen prepares a special toast PDC for me, made with pain the campagne. And when Bjorn is in the kitchen, some extra ham and cheese.
We are always happy to see guests come back time and again. Last week Sayaka Abe was in Amsterdam to organise an exchange programme for seven Japanese high-school students from Jonier high school in Kamiyama, Japan and Students of the Dutch school Pietergroen from Katwijk.
Born in Japan, Sayaka graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Institute – Fine Arts and is at home in both cultures. Her work often comes from personal stories of people she meets and stories she collects and can take various forms. She makes incredible drawings on textile too!
Sayaka and Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam go a long while back together. In 2009 she took part in the Rodekool met Stampot project, in 2012 we hosted a workshop she and Krimo Benlaloua organised as a part of their interdisciplinary design and art platform Home-Work. In 2013 she set up a temporary post office and invited our guests to share experiences of their stay. in 2014 Sayaka took part in a group project Uchinokoto in CBK Amsterdam Dear Sayaka, thank you for being such a loyal friend.
Videographer Levi Maestro from Los Angeles, CA stayed with us for 10 days to discover Lloyd Hotel and make a video about us. We met up to get to know him a bit better.
What brings you to Amsterdam?
“I’m travelling in Europe. Trying to see new things and make videos along the way. I have my own production company, so I’m doing work for companies as it comes. Like this video I’m making for Lloyd, I only thought of it two weeks ago. I was thinking that I want to make videos about places that I like.
Usually my videos have a multitude of things happening: persons, places. It’s about so many things. I wanted to start profiling places that I could dig into more. This place is something like that. It has a lot of layers. So I’m going to try to make videos now, sort of the same I’ve been doing all along, but for instance I’ve never made one just on a hotel. Those are the things I’m looking, well, not looking for, but like when they come along, then I act on it, you know? It’s really cool when you’re in a place that’s so much different than when you’re from, because things tend to be more interesting.
What was the very last thing you photographed?
“That was probably my room, 602. The reason I like this room so much is that I always thought the A-frame roof is so neat. Like in the States, you barely ever see it. Only in maybe some really old houses in certain kind of states, but it’s very rare. There’s something about it that seems so fake, right? It seems kind of like a dream, like a fairytale type of place. And it’s funny, because the swing is not even that much big of deal, but just it being there makes it a whole different kind of place. Very cool.”
The genesis of EarthEnable began in 2013 when Gayatri (32) travelled to Rwanda as part of a Stanford class on Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability. The problem: 80% of Rwandans live on dirt floors that encourage disease and infections. Gayatri, now based in Rwanda, set about addressing this issue with an affordable and sustainable idea: an earthen floor finished with a custom-developed oil. No concrete, substantially less emissions and reduced chances of disease.
How did you approach problem solving in a brand-new context such as Rwanda?
“Design thinking changed the way I think about problems and how to solve them. This was a major turning point in my life. Before, as a management consultant I came up with a hypothesis, did the analysis and then came up with an answer. Now, instead, I spent two and a half months just learning and being with people in their homes in Rwanda; being open to spending time learning and being empathetic. You can’t lack empathy and design a product for someone’s needs. And empathy can be taught. Innovation can be taught too. I learned it, I am a living example of this.”
EarthEnable was the winner of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2017
For three whole days in February Lloyd transforms into a tiny Tokyo, full of Japanese design and craftsmanship. We would like to introduce you to Emiko Chujo, initiator and director of MONO JAPAN.
What was your motivation to start organizing MONO JAPAN?
About ten years after I moved to the Netherlands, I started to miss a certain kind of handcrafted products which I loved so much in Japan, but couldn’t find anywhere in Dutch shops. I wondered why, and began investigating the differences between Dutch Design and Japanese craftsmanship. I realized that both cultures could learn a lot from each other and felt an urge to connect the two on the level of design and crafts.
MONO JAPAN is essentially a fair to create a European market for beautiful Japanese products. At the same time, I want to create new perspectives for both Dutch and Japanese designers by, amongst others, forming collaborations between them. MONO JAPAN motivates Japanese craftsmen to be creative an innovative, and simultaneously urges Dutch designers to explore all the amazing crafting techniques Japan has to offer.
The soft-spoken Danish chef and owner of Copenhagen’s one Michelin star restaurant 108 (pronounced as one-o-eight) Kristian Baumann is an energy bomb. He says, he has so much energy, that he actually needs the routine of running his own restaurant next to the fun part of being a creative chef with a test kitchen and a plot of land with 220 crops.
We asked Kristian about his experience with Steinbeisser Experimental Gastronomy and the dinner he served the night before. He told us, that though from the very start he was excited about the projects and was looking forward to it, the perfectionist side of him was very nervous. But on the night itself, just moments before the dinning room was finished and the guests walked in, he realized that the wow-power came not from food of vessels alone, but from the combination of the two, and it gave him an amazing feeling of creative freedom. So if you were one of the 65 guests nibbling on flower petals or sharing starters with people you never met before, thank the artists. The ultimate dining experience, according to Kristian, should have an element of surprise to it.
Once upon a time Canadian Daniel Burns wanted to be a math professor. When he realized it was not exactly his path, he switched to philosophy. It is only after completing his degree, that he started cooking professionally and went on to pursue proper chef training. Burns, who is now star chef himself, has worked…
Elffers first American best seller came out in 1973, ‘Tangram’. In it, he and Michael Schuyt present 1600 silhouttes of the ancient Chinese puzzle. It sold 1 million copies worldwide. Next, he did ‘Play with your food’ in which he and Saxton Freymann showed how fruit and vegetables can be transformed into animals in 150 weirdly hilarious pictures. It received national coverage in shows of David Letterman and Martha Stewart.
With Robert Greene he teamed up in 1998 to produce ‘the 48 Laws of Power’, again a major best-seller, followed by ‘The Secret Language of Birthdays’ which also reached 1 million copies.
38 years ago publisher Joost Elffers moved to New York, but he’s back regularly to his ‘sweet Amsterdam’. To see family and old friends, to make up with friends he’s fallen out with for no clear reason. And to discuss new ideas for books at the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy restaurant, for, he says, ‘the people I need to speak with use this place to have breakfast or work meetings. Tomorrow morning I will see Abraham de Swaan (Professor emeritus Sociology), and I just met a writer whom I coach. This place really works as the cultural centre it was meant to be’.
‘I come from a cultural family, which makes it easy for me to feel at home here. Does this ugly little lamp on the table irritate me? No, because it is part of the experiment of Lloyd Hotel. Until five years ago, the design mecca of New York was Moss in SoHo. This was a gallery-like shop where you could browse hypermodern furniture and retro home goods. Whenever they had Dutch design on the table, I always found it over the top nonsense. 38 years ago I left a country where functional design ruled; building dykes and sound chairs, modern design to support people’s progress in life. But what I saw at Moss New York were strange, expensive products, so ridiculous.
Thirty-five years ago I arrived in Amsterdam to study. I rented a room in the Jordaan and fell in love with Amsterdam. But, I hardly studied, I enjoyed the city too much. My first job was at a home for elderly dementia patients. The focus was on group dynamics, where seven people would help each other with everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning. It was a totally new concept in Amsterdam and the home won a lot of awards. When I moved to Sarphati House I met many artists, like the musician Ramses Shaffy. He never wanted to live in a home. At first we told him it was a hotel and luckily he fell for it. Together with Liesbeth List I came up with the idea of starting a home for both young and elderly artists. We had no meeting space for planning the project, so I used the Lloyd restaurant. Piet allowed us to use the meeting rooms. A lot of our inspiration happened here.
Andreas Rieger of Berlins einsunternull, is reserved and incredibly serious. And though he does not see himself as a star, believe us, the guests were still savoring the memories of his dinner days later.
Andreas is on a mission. He believes that German kitchen needs an identity. And he is on to something. Bitter, he says, is not only one of the misunderstood flavors, it is the one that describes Germans the best. Gastronomy is not just about nutrition, especially on that high level.
It has a broader cultural and social value. Unfortunately, taking utmost care of the dishes he serves, creating and developing unique flavours, comes with a higher price tag, making it an exclusive adventure not everyone can afford. But only if he could cover the running costs of the restaurant (including fair pay and healthy work load for his staff, he talked about with as much passion as about the food he and his team make) he would gladly charge 10 euros per meal.