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New Levis Store in Amsterdam a Model of Reuse and Recycled Construction

Leon Kaye | Friday January 6th, 2012 | 0 Comments
Levi's Store, Amsterdam, Kalverstraat

Levi's Store, Amsterdam, Kalverstraat

With all the attention we here at TriplePundit have given to cities that are models of resilience and sustainability, there are cities that are leading examples of the successes, and challenges, of leading green.

Amsterdam is one city that comes to mind immediately as a model of sustainability. And why not? Home to the Global Reporting Initiative, small and compact, full of gorgeous farmers markets, and eye candy bicycling everywhere, Amsterdam and much of the Netherlands shine for its healthy lifestyle and forward thinking.

Not everything is perfect in this European jewel. Nearby is the world’s largest flower auction that spews out carbon emissions faster than many international airports, and its reliance on incineration as part of its waste diversion agenda has its fair share of critics. A dubious public transport plan has raised eyebrows as well. Falling into one of its canals should be left off of your itinerary. The Dutch indulge in their fair share of consumerism, too, evident in a walk along Kalverstraat, one of its most popular shopping streets. But on that street is a new store that has done its part to minimize its environmental impact–with some chic fashion sense.

Levi’s last month opened a new two-story store on Kalverstraat. The 2700 square foot store’s interior is full of reused, restored and repurposed materials. Old bicycles, which are among the more benign objects tossed into the city’s canals, are mounted all over the shop’s floors and walls. Repurposed steel pipes painted in a variety of colors (using no-VOC paint, we hope) give an illusion of scaffolding. And old church doors and benches now sport piles of jeans. Recycled wood is all over the store: the cash desk, for instance, was built from old floorboards from another store’s location. Old boats and other second hand goods make up the store displays. In sum, the store is a winner, and embodies Dutch sensibility as much as sustainability.

The project’s path from conception to completion was not seamless. Como Park, the lead design agency, was at first over budget and a delay in permits actually gave its team time to rethink the layout. By letting the store show off its brand while allowing the interior reflect the city in which it is located, this store on a crowded Dutch street is an example that other stores would do well to follow.

Leon Kaye, based in California, is the editor of GreenGoPost.com and contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Levis.


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