When looking at the epic architecture of W Amsterdam, inspiration is just on the horizon. Restored and renovated by the prestigious Amsterdam-based architecture firm, Office Winhov, W Amsterdam’s transformed space pays homage to the building’s monumental and historical character, dating back to 1908, while also enhancing and transforming it into a public building.
For eyewear designer, Aari Bostroem, exploring the space was the perfect inspiration for his collaboration with W. As the designer launched the exclusive collection AARI.BOSTROEM x W Amsterdam, we went behind the design process to learn all about the influences and inspiration that went into the creation and design of the stylish aviators that boldly reflect the city of Amsterdam.
How did you start your design business?
Aari Bostroem: We launched the brand in 2017 as a Dutch accessories brand in the luxury niche market. I had worked for multiple luxury brands, and I aspired to launch my own unique vision and creations. After receiving the Silmo d’Or award in the eyewear industry in Paris for the first collection, our start-up had become a successful design business which is planned to expand throughout the coming years.
The first collection was based on the idea of creating a contemporary relevant and unique design language for the brand. We selected three sunglasses styles that embodied three different creative messages under one strong direction. Different statements for different moments.
What’s your signature design?
AB: One of the sunglasses I designed is based on the beloved and well-known aviator shape, a design with history. In our interpretation, we modernized this style by rethinking the purpose and combining different materials and finishings to create a contemporary version of it. A clean modern construction with the use of high-quality materials.
How did Amsterdam fuel your collaboration?
AB: When I was asked to put the image of W Amsterdam into one of our styles, it was clear that it had to be exactly our METROPOLITAN aviator design. It was the perfect fit. As it was planned to be a special edition for the hotel, we researched and discovered the rich history of the beautiful buildings around the hotel’s location. We wanted to make this special background visible in our designs. Therefore, we customized our METROPOLITAN to reflect both buildings in two exclusive colors and material combinations only for W Amsterdam. A souvenir of the hotel with two sides that reside in one scene.
How would you describe the process behind this collaboration?
AB: All our glasses are made of french cellulose acetate and nickel-free stainless steel. During a process of more than 200 steps, each design is assembled by a family-owned manufacturing company in the south of France. With laser cutting, tumbling, and polishing, our designs are produced in limited editions to reflect the highest standard of the industry.
This collaboration is a great opportunity to join forces and reflect the modern Dutch design and state of the art travel. To create a luxury pair of sunglasses as a souvenir from one of the most vibrant and international cities in Europe. Our METROPOLITAN BANK and METROPOLITAN EXCHANGE, named after the two buildings of the hotel, are as unique as the locations they draw inspiration from.
What’s the key to great design?
AB: The success of a good design is to listen and to watch. You need to understand contemporary life and the needs of people. If you manage to pair this with their wishes and desires you can create something very special. Design background and history are important so you know what works and what doesn’t, plus you get a good sense of quality. But the times we live in change so rapidly that you need to be able to adapt and find your own answers to questions. That’s what makes each designer different and unique.
What’s your favorite part of the process?
AB: My favorite part is the moment when I come back from traveling or a simple day walking alongside the canals and start putting ideas into shape. Sketching is a very interesting phase, like an adventure. You never really know what comes out of your mind and how it will look on paper. Mostly I surprise myself when I wake up the next morning and see what I have drawn the day before.
What are three words to describe your design style?
AB: I definitely would have to answer: bold, desirable and new!