Barde vanVoltt draws on Japanese zen gardens for Calico Club interior

Dutch studio Barde vanVoltt has used rippled mirrored glass, boulders and pebbles to create the interior of Calico Club, a retail store located in a century-old farmhouse in the Netherlands.

The studio aimed to combine Dutch heritage with Japanese tradition to create an “unexpected” but never overwhelming interior for the store, which is located in the village of Nistelrode.

Clothes inside Dutch retailer
Pebbles decorate the floor in Calico Club

“The main objective was to pay respect to the monumental 100-year-old farmhouse that Calico Club moved into,” Barde vanVoltt co-founder Valérie Boerma told Dezeen.

“The challenge was to find ways to add materials we could remove easily to keep the original state of the construction as it was,” she added.

Interior of Dutch retailer
Barde vanVoltt added plants to the interior

Boerma and her co-founder Bart van Seggelen added several organic details to the space, which has been divided into different sections.

“The floor plan is shaped like a Japanese zen garden and its traditional elements of rock, water, and plants have been interpreted in more modern and abstract ways,” Seggelen explained.

Boulders inside clothing store in the Netherlands
Boulders are scattered throughout the space

On polished concrete flooring, the studio placed whitewashed boulders that are used as retail displays and created elevated pebble islands above which garments are hung.

Barde vanVoltt also designed matching islands made from walnut wood. The same warm wood is also used for the fitting rooms, cabinets and counters.

Wood counter in Calico Club store
Walnut wood is used for the counters inside the store

Materiality is an important aspect of the project, with rippled mirrored glass added in a nod to the water features that are often included in zen gardens.

“Rippled mirrored glass and silver colour was to create contrast and depth,” Boerma said.

“The rippled glass keeps changing from wherever you look at it, this added an extra layer to the space, much like water, that is always changing,” she added.

The aim was for the interior to “nourish creative flow, harmony and support it with a screen-free store policy to create calm in an unpredictable world,” the studio said.

Tree inside Dutch store
A large tree adds a touch of nature at the back of the store

At the back of the store, a tree sits inside a round glass bench behind a metal wall divider.

“Encased in a circular glass bench, the tree and the fashion collection opposite is given its moment thanks to a sheet of curved, rolled metal to separate it from the fitting rooms,” Seggelen said.

“And at the front of the store, customers are shown the best of the collection with floating glass display cylinders filled with hay.”

Exterior of Calico Club store
Calico Club is located in a red-brick former farmhouse

The pared-back designs and shiny materials inside the store contrast against its exterior, a rustic red-brick farmhouse.

“With every project we do, we feel the responsibility to search for high quality, natural materials that are produced in a sustainable way,” Boerma said.

“These materials and heritage come with earthy tones and it suited well with our Japanese reference,” Seggelen added.

Rippled glass-details in clothing store
Rippled glass references the water in zen gardens

Calico Club has been shortlisted in the retail interior (large) category of Dezeen Awards 2023.

Previous projects by Barde vanVoltt include a former garage in Amsterdam that was transformed into a family home.

Other recent projects in the Netherlands include an underground house and a wood-lined home in Zwaag.

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