enhancing the soul of an interior, honouring its history.


client Thomaskerk
year 2015
When designing an interior space, we first dive deep into its history. We look at the varying atmospherical values and the daily life/usage of space. Our way of working builds onto what is already given; layering in time – in order to enhance the soul of the space. Through materiality, Thomaskerk gave us the opportunity to connect the history of the building and embrace it even more whilst offering a contemporary outlook. We intended with this project to extend the church hallway’s historic soul to the entree. 
Designed by Karel Sijmons, the Thomaskerk in Amsterdam was built in 1965. The church hall has a particularly pleasant atmosphere. Perhaps it has something to do with Sijmons having been deaf; he elevated vision and touch in his work. The building gushes historical meaning, such as the wavy ceiling that relates to Moses who split the Red Sea. Sijmons opted for sandstone from the very region of the Red Sea for the floor. The hallway being vast with a cool atmosphere that asked for warmth. Though beautiful materials were utilised, it wasn’t an area where people stood still in. The question for us was: could we evolve it into a space in which people could spend time in?
A crucial challenge was tackling the acoustics, due to the usage of mainly hard materials. We asked ourselves how we could blend texture and textile, taking into account the pattern of the brick walls that contained so much history. And how to blend in the directions of the sanitary room which generally is in contrast with the rest of the interior. We pondered on what kind of furniture would enhance the space’s qualities.
We opted for spraying a smaller cotton texture onto the bigger brick texture, revealing a functioning acoustic layer as well as adding on to its visual depth. 3D lettering hidden under the cotton layer forms a subtle guidance. The big Wooden Textiles mural reveals a gradient that represents an abstract view of the sea and the horizon. This connects us to the ceiling of the church hall. Another effect the horizon gives is that it allows one to look into the surface which creates a spacious effect. Vintage furniture pieces made by Sijmons was taken out of the cellar and restored to function again. We added a table in the same wood. The drawing of the wood-veneer shows an entire drawing when forming one big table. And yet, they can also be used separately. All drawing on the multi-functional usage of the space, which is used as a study room or for breaks. This reveals how we enhanced a space with its own richness in story and qualities that we merely brought to life.
tapa makers:
Folaha group
Pisila Illiuli

Alisi Pahulu Tonga experts:
Tuna Fielakepa
Rosemarie Palu
Amy Lofgren
Moana Guttenbeil

tapa embroidery:
wall texture:
Climate Plaster
execution tables:
Winter Vandenbrink