Greetings from Amsterdam. Writing from the amazing Lloyd Hotel. Sadly, no pics to post as I have no laptop with me or access to upload yet. I swore no laptop on this trip and little computer. I honestly do not know how I survived the last ten years working on a computer, yoga I guess. It feels great not to be thinking about twitter, blogging, and do I dare say it, working on designs on the computer. Since I have been here I have used my sketchbook to log all my ideas. Life has slowed down finally. It will speed up again in no time but I will relish in this break.
Speaking of slowing down and lifestyle, what I have learned so far about Amsterdam is biking and being near water sooth people here whether they know it or not. While the weekend is busy, so I learned today, the weekdays are low key and there is a calmness here I have not felt in other cities around this size. Amsterdam is a medium size city. Not even close to London or Boston in size but not small either. The only place I feel rushed is at Central Station. The tram is confirmation that people are in a hurry no matter what. But, 99.9% of my time here so far has been pleasant and people are extremely helpful and friendly down to the main entrance I made into Amsterdam. I left my mark all over the airport when I threw up three times in a side area on teh way to baggage claim. A Dutch girl from my flight grabbed all my stuff adn got it out of teh way. I had motion sickness and was dehydrated plus ate too many nuts. It just all and all was a rough day but worked out.
On another note, the Dutch like their bikes, food, beer, design, and living simply. They are masters at solving small spaces. I believe this makes them better at living with less. The spaces they inhabit are so well thought out and beautiful, whether old or new, vintage or modern, that they become timeless. With very few alterations the entire space can change easily. They know how to integrate ceiling to wall to floor with very attractive features. Simple shelves, peg holes, drop down tables, built in wall shelves, ceiling to floor suspension lamps (which I have in my Lloyd Hotel room and will post when I am home) and much more.
Bottom line, solve the overall space from top to sides to bottom. Do not think only about the walls. I honestly think Americans use way too many elements in their homes. We seem to add and use everything. Not to mention, everyone thinks they are a designer in America. Design is extremely serious in The Netherlands and incredibly respected so much so that you feel it everywhere you go. Well though tout signage, identity, and furniture. It is well curated, exhibited, juried, and criticized which sets a high standard.
Everyone should take a look closer at The Netherlands and Scandanavia. We need to minimze our space and fill up our life with healthy fun activities like cycling and going to parks more, not Las Vegas, which by the way uses more energy than anywhere in the world. We need more parks, bike paths, and vacation time to enjoy life. Life is not about working non stop. Life is meant to be enjoyed.
Tomorrow I am off to Vondelpark and the Hare Krishna Temple. I will walk all day again because I can. It feels great not to drive. Speaking of driving I see very few cars here. So many bikes. So many. Think of how much energy is being saved and what we can do in the US to really evolve. PS, there are no large SUVs here and if you had one it would never fit on the road. Everything is very small and narrow. Same in London and Paris.
Next post will be from India. Full trip recap 2/16.