Surrounded by harbors where huge oil-platforms and rusty tanker ships are parked, the former post office we acquired and were about to transform presented our first interior theme just by the view.

Big cruiseliners are gliding by seen from the rear windows, so a classic “Holland-America” style would have to mirror inside our newly acquired place, but while stripping down our post office walls and floors however; the space itself started to tell another story,  unveiling numerous other style directions :                                                                

The glass roofed ceiling and high pillars hinting subtly to old Hitchcock-sets and pointing us in the direction of a cinematic theme, but that would go along well with our Ship-liner theme.

 Our first design-approach was done in photo-based renderings, as a means of visualizing how the two styles would play along with our colour choices and (vintage) furniture.

With lots of deconstruction dust floating about, and daylight moving through the house in a lazy half circle, we found ourselves at one time entering a hotel-lobby, or at other times trapped in a Macy’s Department store after closing time.    

Marshall Fields’ mirrored wall 1948             style mirrored wall 2018

At night, with ‘Chinatown’s ghostly soundtrack echoing through the empty space, the loft revealed itself as if built by set designers of the old Hollywood studios. And with a ships’ horn blowing in from the sea harbor outside, I mean: who wouldn’t imagine visiting Humphry’s Casablanca club submerging in true Hollywood melancholia ?                                                                                                                            After the dust settled, armed with the inspiration accumulated during a job as window-dresser in Los Angeles, ( for which I occaisionally visited Paramount’s prop-department…), turning the loft into something  cinema-tainted seemed more than legit. And so Modernism was ushered aside to be replaced by the American forties, staying true to the building style .

Skylight Roof in Bedroomsuite                                                   a ‘Pacific Drip & biscuit’ – cappuccino

Lobby-café at Ralleigh Hotel  / Miami

For some extra visual input, we booked a summer weekend on the SS Rotterdam.

Having been the Holland America-company’s most prestigious project at the time, which was decked out with custom-made 60’s design, some of it flirting with the American modernistic or ‘Atomic’ style.

Not many other tourists on the ship, and a fast water taxi bringing you in : I can recommend this as a day trip to visitors of Rotterdam.

SS Rotterdam cruiseship-model

The entrance room of our loftspace was destined to become the old-style café-bar entrance-room . That the actual bar was left behind by the previous loft-owners was a a blessing .  To turn this space into a reception/Café was simply a matter of sawing the bar in half and placing it facing the windows.           The snake curved – with its formica countertop makes a perfect a coffee stop on your way in ( or out .. ).

This bar continues into the main big room, offering a sideview into the bedroom-suite, separated by transparent light brown curtains giving a cinematic view into the Jr.suite style bedroom.

( Video above :  entering Loft  )

50ties Belgian Cafébar

A neon cigarette-sign on the wall in the reception-café and a small black&white Marcus Blechman -print ( showing a Hollywood-choreographer and two chorus girls in a Polynesian pose ) modestly adding good ol’ Hollywood melancholy to the bar.                                                                                                                          

image below:   Jack Cole ; a choreographer who had worked on the sets of ‘Gilda’ & “Gentlemen prefer Blondes’ and was known for introducing his polynesian dance influences into hollywood musicals.

photo : Marcus Blechmann

Back to Computer renderings : they were a good way to envision, but it’s during the construction-phase that alternative solutions and restrictions reveal themselves..

The Loft having been built by the Dutch government meant sturdy thick walls and high pillars, that were originally thinner cast iron pillars, but cemented into another more Roman mold pillars without the ornamentaion.

We were lucky enough to receive input and creative braining on the big picture ( or lay out) from an Architect friend, and together we planned the start of reconstruction phases.

Soon the walls and pillars were jack hammered and wired with an electricity-grid and a A large floating mezzanine-floor was stripped and lowered to form a 3-steps-raised platform base to become the bedroom suite. This bedroom suite – located underneath the glass skylight roof was fitted out with an Art Deco sandstone fireplace and the glass panels in the roof were replaced. The light coming in directly or indirectly from above made it all the more tempting to make a sculptural Fireplace wall plate.

With this three-dimensional cove-sculpture in Art deco’ style – picturing a cruise-ship dropping anchor in some tropical destination.. , I was staying true to a ‘set building-approach’  and the Maritime concept. Using 80 mm foamcore ; The seperate parts were handcut , and covered after gleuing on the wood-base in layers of Venecian plaster. ( Both materials I had not worked with prior, but that’s when online tutorials come in useful.)

see below: moodboard for my Fireplace sculpture :

Holland America Line /Art Deco inspired plaster wall sculpture / Fritz Kok®
South east corner, or a ” Orient express 2st class waiting lounge”? ( the ‘Bauhaus” style statue is made from Apple’s Styrofoam boxing material )