In the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, architecture office XML has designed a store saturated in white light.
The store called Hangover Information Center (HIC) sells bottled water and ‘Reset’, a specially food supplement and drink that mitigates the negative effects of too much alcohol consumption such as a hangover.
The Red Light District in Amsterdam is currently transforming from an area dominated by the sex industry to a more programmatically diverse neighborhood. The store is located in the heart of this district and is part of this gradual transformation. XML’s challenge was to come up with a design that could attract people that pass by and yet communicate to be something completely different than its neighbors. The architects decided to play with the idea of light, as it is already the most important aesthetic feature of the area in the evening.
Core element in the store’s interior is a 9 meter translucent bar containing 28 tube lights that creates a glowing white light amidst the red lights in the area. The element refers to the idea of a reception desk, familiar of pharmacies. A mirror at the end of the shop extends the length of the bar element and visually doubles the small space of the 17th century Amsterdam souterrain in which the store is located.
Behind the bar, staff dressed in white lab coats offers visitors health information about the physical effects of alcohol consumption. The two products for sale in the store - water and Reset – in a sophisticated retro-futuristic packaging by local artist Jordi Ariza Gallego, are displayed on long shelves of folded metal with integrated lighting.
The store is one of the first steps in the gradual transformation process of the area towards a more diverse and balanced neighborhood.