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Between The Sheets | Damask

In the centre of the old city, a hidden pattern of secret alley- ways has been partially
restored. A new house and atelier designed by Angie Abbink (Abbink X De Haas
architectures) is squeezed between two alleys, the Blue Sheet alley and the Black
Sheet Alley. This is one of the few new developments in the historically charged Blue
Sheet Block where monuments and restoration take precedence. It is a neighborhood
rich in contrasts and culture, a block with a squatter’s history and surprising spatial

Nestled within the walls of the urban block, this special spot ‘’between the sheets’’ is in
a world of its own, where a glimpse of the church tower and the sound of birdsong
becomes one’s only contact with the rest of the city. It is a ‘backstreet’ world traditionally
dressed in virginal white, allowing light and air into an otherwise narrow and dark place.

The project is steeped in contrasts. On the one hand the hous- ing corporation required
a practical, flexible, affordable and durable social welfare house which resulted in a
simple white box with 4 facades including the roof garden, each with its own urban story
and unique character.

On the other hand the tenant is a nature-loving cartoonist with a creative family who
lived in an old run-down social welfare house down the same alleyway. They lived in a
home overflow- ing with art, colour, memories and collections, veiled from the outside
world where light filtered through from unexpected angles. Every space in the house
was filled, and every square inch of wallspace covered, the very fabric of the place
exuded colour, colour, colour.

The needs of the urban situation, the client and of the users were combined in a simple
white treasure chest with a veiled facade, behind which a colorful family can create its
own world. This veiled house was conceived as the final statement in an urban
restoration project which lasted almost 20 years. The designer Chris Kabel was
commissioned to express and materi- alize the veil.This art project was initiated by
Angie Abbink who worked together with Kabel in this sublime integration of art and

Kabels design consists of white aluminum panels perforated with a repetitive patter

nusing an industrial punching technique as an affordable alternative to laser
techniques.The perforation is a grid of adapted hexagons. The shape is designed
specifi- cally so that it can be folded in two directions to either catch the light or create a
shadow. The observer thus discovers a drawing on the façade created by light and
shadow reminis- cent of the textiles industry that used to flourish in this part of   

Damask covers a building and uncovers a history.

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Between the Sheets
Architect: Abbink X De Haas architectures
Client: Housing Corporation De Key
Contractor:      Schakel & Schrale BAM
Location: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 146 Amsterdam
Program: 1 social welfare house & atelier
Plot: 68 m2
Area: 180 m2 + 60 m2 roof terrace
Completed:     april 2012

Concept material: ©Studio Chris Kabel
Execution: Studio Chris Kabel
Initiation & Engineering: Abbink X De Haas architectures
Production & assembly:          Metadecor

Material:                                       Aluminium
Hexagons:                                    circa 48.000
Size: 90 m2
screen panels
40m2 balustrade/chimney panels

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