By Leigh Gotzmer
Updated May 02, 2016 @ 6:00 pm
Chanel Netherlands LEAD
Credit: Bart Van Vlijmen

Chanel's new Amsterdam boutique is definitely double-take worthy, and it's not just because the windows are packed with Karl Lagerfeld's creations. It's actually thanks to the building itself, which has a façade made entirely of glistening, individually cast glass cubes.

The original concept came out of architecture firm MVRDV's desire to create a standout storefront on Amsterdam's upscale shopping street, P.C. Hooftstraat, all while keeping the integrity of the townhouse's historic design. The glass composition mimics the original terracotta brick architecture with translucent blocks, windows, and architraves, kept together with transparent glue—alluding to the past in a fresh, modern way.

Chanel Netherlands EMBED
Credit: Bart Van Vlijmen

"We said to the client, 'Let's bring back what will be demolished but develop it further'," explains architect Winy Maas. MVRDV also managed to follow city guidelines (which meant keeping the top of the building's apartment exteriors in check) by fading out the glass seamlessly into terracotta bricks in an authentic blend of old and new. As if we needed another reason to flock to Chanel (or Amsterdam).