Amsterdam: Spiegelkwartier

Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier is an area near the museum quarter that is famous for its arts and antiques shops. Wandering around this area you are sure to find a feast for the eyes, from ancient Chinese antiques to modern paintings and everything in between, including some great examples of Delftware. In this area I found two great little shops offering European crafts.

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On my first trip to the Spiegelkwartier I discovered Spiegel: 100% Dutch, a recently opened shop with a range of home goods, decorative objects, kitchen utensils, fashion accessories, books, stationary, small works of art and more, all designed in the Netherlands. While not all the products were produced in the Netherlands, you can certainly find some lovely ceramics and textiles hand crafted nearby.

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The next day I revisited the Spiegelkwartier and stumbled upon another gem. matter .of material on Kerkstraat also stocks some great Dutch design, but with an interesting focus on materials.

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I was particularly captured by a series of ceramics called nontemporary by Hella Jongerius. This series is based on the dutch majolica tradition whereby roughly decorated plates were only glazed in the more expensive white tin glaze on the front, while the back was treated with a cheaper lead glazing. In Hella’s designs the tableware is partially immersed in the tin glaze, not only drawing attention to the production process but also revealing the Frisian clay for the first time in centuries.

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