Strangelove Amsterdam

Strangelove Amsterdam; imagine amazing food and drinks, a dazzling disco vibe, an appeasing  art space, a crunchy cinema and plant paradise in one. I kid you not; this place is your childhood dream for enjoying the perks of community-building in an inspiring surrounding.

Upon entering LAB 111 / Strangelove Amsterdam I spontaneaously fell in love with every single aspect of it. I told the founders one thing: the aura of this building is exotic, intriguing and your comedown-free pill to happiness. If I could poetically describe this galaxy of little wonders, I’d say it’s the place John would take Yoko for dinner, and the place where Lynch would drink his cocktails. Kinda spacy, but embracing one key aspect: we are all sharing the same space and universe.

I had a little chit-chat with two of the founders Daan and Tobias. Together with Jan-Pieter, who also spins records on other nights, they founded a space where the business plan is purely based on atmosphere. Adios target audience and google analytics: this place is for every-effing-one.

Once upon a time three boys had a plan?
Jan Pieter and I got into touch with someone about this building -which used to be a pathological anatomical lab- back in the days. We just needed one more man to finish the holy trinity. I was at a festival when I screamed at Daan: “I have a plan and I want you to be part of it! I’ll call you after the weekend!”

D: Yeah, 9000 out of 10 times you never get called back after a festival. But Tobias did, and so the story began…

Who are you and where are you coming from?
D: I used to work at Canvas, which later turned into Volkshotel. It was a similar type of breeding ground for creativity, projects and fun in a shared space. The whole colourful vibe is something I brought with me to Strangelove, the hunger for collaborations with all kinds of inspirational people. I’m focussing on the more practical matters

T: I’ve always had this passion for culture and people and found the ideal combination right here at Strangelove. I lived in South America for a long time and I have Spanish roots. Combining my love for sun, culture and people was a match made in heaven with a place like Strangelove / LAB 111.This place is quite organic food-wise. How important is it for you to reach an audience organically as well?
T: Of course I love it when people talk about things they are fascinated about and source other ambassadors organically. Yet, this is the time we live in, so of course social media is also important to us. To elaborate on the term: there’s also an organic garden around the corner. So people who are gardening are basically coming to the same space as artists, musicians and people from the neighbourhood. It’s amazing how the blend of different people happens so naturally.

D: What’s fascinating is that everyone somehow gets culturally involved in a society which is otherwise so separated and divided on all kinds of aspects. The magic touch of bringing people together here: that’s what we aim for.Do you remember a filmic, magic moment happening here?
D: Yes, one of my favourite moments happened recently. There were two couples, who didn’t know each other, dining next to each other. One couple was just dating, the other one was dining elaborately, clearly knowing each oher for years. However, one of the lovebird sets only had 50 euro cash on them for a dinner which was quite a bit more expensive.
The people next to them loved their company so much that they said: we’ll take the rest of your bill. On top of that, because we like you so much, have two more wines on us. The 4 lovely people kept on talking and their night made ours slightly more magical too. We live for those moments, those meetings.

Your businessplan seems to be the atmosphere?
T: Definitely, I got pretty dizzy from all the questions on concept and targets. We want to create and guard an atmosphere where everyone feels happy and at ease. A place where people connect by sharing a fresh, warm and natural happiness through mutual experience.

How is the food? 
D: We offer everything seasonal, as local as possible and very affordable. Our chef Dennis Lee creates little art works for your most delightful cravings. Next to our organic culy aspect, we also have many nice beers.

T: What’s nice about the ‘experience’ aspect, is that people don’t just stay for one thing. Often dinner and movies are combined, or the people come for a last drink after the film. That’s also when we tend to stay and hang around.

How does it feel like going to work? It’s not a 9 to 5 kinda job.
D: Usually we are still here when we have to go to work the next day 😉 No, honestly I have never worked more than this in my life, this but never got so much back from it like now either. I could easily quit my rent and live here.

T: Yes, I can’t count the hours of work I’ve put in it, but the happiness I get back from it is priceless.

So it’s an Amsterdam boys’ dream come true?
D+T: Definitely! We also party a lot less than before. This place is an event itself and that’s what makes it so special and not your typical work place. This place became our second home, as well as a party in itself.

What music do you love & suits the vibe? 
T: I am quite in my Kraftwerk & Talking Heads mood at the moment. You can feel our personalities ghost through the restaurant when we switch something on of our choice. Of course I love to play more happy, wavy sounds too.

D: Afrobeat is currently what makes me happy. It also gives something extra when people love the music as well as the food.What’s your favourite cocktail then?
T: Espresso Martini!
D: I’d say our own Strangelove cocktail; it’s got Vodka, some bitters and a dash of Elderflower. Ask me at the bar 😉

Is it a goal to make this place a blend of people and stories too?
T: For sure! We recently had a day where a group of Ethiopian friends organised an event to call family back home. Super sweet! Meanwhile we had some people hosting an event on re-interpreting film. It’s a combination of family, technology, arts and enjoying life. That’s what Strangelove should do: connecting people offline.

D: Yes, it’s a place where storytelling is an underlying fundament. You can read Strangelove in many ways and every person could fine their own favourite part of the concept. You could all fall in love in different ways. Your mom could love it for the amazing coffee, your lover would love it for the perfect date night out, a film student will be captivated by the screenings. It’s a story we’d love to share with everyone and by everyone.

Then this must be the place:
Strangelove by Lab
Arie Biemondstraat 111
Amsterdam 1054PD

All pictures by De Cannière – Van Hemelrijck C.