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Amsterdam loft hotel softens line between home, work & incubator

Aimed at a growing group of “global nomads”, Amsterdam’s Zoku is trying to avoid the hotel label and instead provide a home/office for their not-guests-but-“neighbors”. Each 25m2 (269 ft2) micro-apartment has a lofted bed, enclosed by slatted wooden doors and accessed by a retractable staircase so it can be closed off when entertaining or hosting meetings.

There is an under-bed desk, a kitchen and even a ceiling-mounted gymnast’s hoops for in-room exercise.

“We used basically every cubic centimeter of the loft,” explains Zoku co-founder Marc Jongerius. “We spent 5 to 6 years really getting all the details right. We started by doing 150 interviews with people from the target audience. The research that we did we hear from them that if they stay in a self-catered apartment they lack the social space, they lack contact with people. This is what we created upstairs.”

Upstairs you can borrow musical instruments, CNC print, play ping pong, work at long, shared desks or reconfigurable conference rooms (titled “Not a Bored Room”) or eat at communal tables.

“Zoku is a Japanese word it means family, tribe or clan” explains Jongerius. “I think we’re one of the first hotels in the world to have a community manager on the payroll and their only job is to connect residents.” Zoku has also partnered with WeWork in their Amsterdam space for those looking for more formal work spaces.