Graphic design in architectural façades

A bright new star goes live on YouTube: meet the makers of studio thonik, a groundbreaking building in more than one way

Completed in the spring of 2020, studio thonik is, by any standard, in a league of its own. After only a few months, the building is already one of Amsterdam’s architectural landmarks. It has made nondescript Wibautstraat, south of the city centre, a must-see destination, and its stunning, striped façades have become instantly iconic.

And yet, there is much more to studio thonik than meets the eye. For the dynamic duo behind the building, the project – for all its striking visual appeal – is just as much about sustainability and versatility as about innovative aesthetics.

On September 24th, 2020, Trespa live streamed on YouTube a fully interactive presentation of the project: it will give you the opportunity to interact directly with Thomas Widdershoven, the building’s owner, and Arjan Van Ruyven of MMX Architecten.

The former, as the principal of thonik, a graphic design agency, relished the opportunity to express in 3D ideas uniquely his own. The latter, a bold and open-minded architect, resorted to outside-the-box thinking and technical know-how to transform Thomas Widdershoven’s ideas into a structure that is, at the same time, a building, a sculpture and a highly accurate transcription of the original concept

As a graphic designer, Thomas Widdershoven was keen to stick to a clean-cut, stringent play with shapes and colours: inspired by his fondness for stripes, a ventilated façade was born that combines into a truly singular pattern two solid colours from the Trespa® Meteon® Lumen collection – Athens White and New York Grey. The façade panels, in this enhanced version of black&white, make the most of the subtle sheen and tonal depth of ‘Diffuse’, a new sophisticated finish option.

As part of a commitment to long-term relevance, both environmental and societal, the building was designed for maximum efficiency – it meets the ZNC (Zero Net Carbon) efficiency standards – and exceptional versatility. In fact, it can be easily converted, at any time, into apartments, while the two lower floors are equally suited for hospitality or retail purposes. The Trespa® Meteon® façade panels being made of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), they are exceptionally resistant and durable. Accordingly, they contribute in their own right to studio thonik’s sustainability.

Adding to the building’s uniqueness, the installation of the façade was a technical tour de force, with a bespoke sub-framing of a type never used before in the Netherlands.