Amsterdam Schiphol – Say it with flowers ….
Amsterdam Airport’s new Lounge 3 is a breath of fresh air … and not just because a giant tulip emporium sits at its heart!
In late 2011 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol completed the refurbishment of Departure Lounge 3 bringing the gateway a timely makeover and throwing in a certain amount of radical design into the retail mix. Lounge 3, which sees some 5.3 million travellers pass through each year before boarding their flights, now offers 26 shops, seven food and drinks outlets plus various other services ranging from wellness areas, free WiFi and a currency exchange point.
For the real ‘wow’ factor you need not look along the corridors and concourses but browse skywards instead because suspended in the air is the unmissable green glass house called the House of Tulips. As the visual highlight of the retail area, House of Tulips melds both the Netherlands’ floral heritage and, through its design – a typical Amsterdam townhouse façade coupled with a greenhouse – an identifiable Dutch architectural style.
Underneath you can buy everything from gift boxes of bulbs, to bunches of flowers and seeds for a wide range of plant varieties. The amazing thing about the store is that, to reveal its contents, the greenhouse lifts up and down when it opens and closes for business every day – so if you happen to be around early morning or late at night keep those eyes peeled.
Next door there is something equally eye-catching. Say Cheese is the cheese shop that looks like it’s contents; the main yellow fascia is carved out with holes like a giant piece of Edam. The entire sales unit is in the shape of an oval with what look like cheese rounds stacked around the outside.
Further along is Bread! another eye-opener selling a variety of sandwiches and freshly-squeezed fruit juices. Its clever design incorporates wooden bread racks that tower high in the air in the heart of the lounge using a construction similar to the interior of a Dutch windmill. All three projects are the creative work of design firm Tjep.
Aside from these typical Dutch themes, international brands are also present as never before at Schiphol, in their own boutique spaces and on a big scale. In the lounge you will find the very first freestanding Victoria’s Secret to open in a European airport selling everything from bags, T-shirts to perfumes and its famed stockings and lingerie.
At French haute couture house Hermès, the focus is on distinctive shawls and elegant bags while next door is British fashion icon Burberry which still has a massive amount of international pulling power. Other new arrivals to the lounge include crystal maker Swarovski and writing instruments and lifestyle brand Montblanc.
The upgrading of Lounge 3 has been very well received, so much so that cognac brand Hennessy chose it alone among European airports to showcase a limited edition masterpiece called Beauté du Siècle. The product was created on the occasion of the centenary of Kilian Hennessy, the 6th generation after the founder of the famous cognac house, and was exclusively sold at the Finest Spirits & Cigars store in Lounge 3.
Beauté du Siècle is a work of art containing a Baccarat crystal decanter of exceptional cognac created by Master Blender and Taster Yann Fillioux from 100 eaux-de-vie, the oldest of which date back to 1907. It is the fruit of the work of more than 10 artists and craftsmen. That is reflected in the also very exceptional price of €150,000… excluding VAT!
The Finest Spirits and Cigars Store is a stop for those looking for the world’s most exclusive and rare wines, cognacs, malt whiskies, champagnes and special Cuban cigars. Recent years have seen a strong rise in demand for exclusive products at Schiphol mostly from passengers from China and Asia Pacific.
Overall, the refurbished Lounge 3 is an exciting space: a nicely-conceived synergy of Dutch and international brands which allow themes about the Netherlands to shine without being overpowering – and a new wave of international brands to make their mark for the first time at the gateway.
For our overview of Schiphol Airport please see our…