At van OnS in Amsterdam, the small store Ambra and Rik van Os started five years ago in the wonderful “Venice of the North”, you can find Dutch and Danish furniture from the fifties and the sixties. Situated on a crossroad between two streets, at a glance two large windows reveal all the pieces that are displayed with great care inside the store. We are a stone throw’s away from the Admiralengracht, the canal that cuts through the entire city to the west of the old town centre, in a tranquil bourgeois neighborhood you can reach via tramline, bicycle or boat, or even by car, for those people who really don’t want to come to terms with the philosophy of this city!
Rik and Ambra Van Os moved to Amsterdam ten years ago, when they were barely twenty years old. They bought four chairs from a website that dealt in secondhand furniture to decorate their new home. They learnt later that these chairs had been designed by Cees Braakman, one of the most important Dutch designers, who for thirty years was the manager and the creative mind behind the minimalist furniture brand Pastoe. Their passion for vintage furniture was born from this unexpected discovery. They stared to learn about design and to purchase other pieces, and when their home was finally full, they started to sell them.
‘50s to’70s furniture on display by Ambra and Rik van Os. Right-hand side, a teak and oak sideboard by the Danish Kai Kristiansen; in the centre, the iconic Egg chair designed in 1966 by Arne Jakobsen and still manufactured to date by Fritz Hansen; and left-hand side, the Isocele coffee table series by the French-Algerian designer Max Sauze.
A passion for design helped Ambra and Rik discover that their talent lies in spotting beautiful quality period pieces, as well as using their craftsmanship skills. “We’ve been creative as long as we can remember” says Ambra, who enjoys restoring furniture. She and Rik make everything together, they buy, restore the pieces and deliver them, and even manage their website. “We’ve started buying and restoring furniture as a hobby. At the beginning, we used to keep it in our basement, then in a small shed, then in bigger and bigger warehouses. Now we have a store, a workshop, a warehouse and even an upholstery space”.
Left-hand side, the EA 124 lounge chair designed in 1958 by Ray and Charles Eames in original green naugahyde, manufactured by Vitra. The Dutch-made coffee table by Louis van Teeffelen and in the background a Danish-made rocking chair designed by Illum Wikelso.
Right-hand side image, a ‘50s sideboard by Cees Braakman. The floor lamp designed in 1951 by Isamu Noguchi, the Nova pendant lamp by Jo Hammerborg and ‘60s Danish-made teak sideboard.
Nothing beats when you can turn your beloved hobby into a career. Ambra and Rik quit their day-jobs two years ago, she was a teacher and he was an art director for film and television. Since then, they spend their time looking for and restoring vintage furniture, and travelling around Europe optimizing research and delivery.
In 2017, The Netherlands celebrates one hundred years since Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian started the De Stijl movement. Dutch contemporary designers, from Marcel Wanders and Piet Hein Eek, are some of the most regarded names around the world. The most innovative country in Europe couldn’t be complete without a store that sells the top Dutch design of the past century.
Witte de Withstraat 123, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: 0031 645 772 927
0031 616 403 949
Wednesday 11.00 – 19.00
and by appointment
Courtesy van OnS