The first Zoku is now open for business in the heart of Amsterdam. The new work-meets-play hotel concept has been created for the global nomad. Zoku creates a new category — a home-office hybrid, also suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighbourhood.

Amsterdam is a natural fit for Zoku’s first home as a leading European hub for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. The brand has partnered with Startup Fest Europe to be a home base for the international attendees, kicking off a full programme of learning and connecting on Tuesday, 24 May 2016.

Facilitating global living and working for the travelling professional, Zoku, Japanese for family, tribe or clan, disrupts the hotel industry. Zoku is a relaxed place to live, work and socialise with like-minded people while getting wired into the city, designed in partnership with design firm Concrete. Zoku Amsterdam is located on the Weesperstraat, easily accessible by car and public transport hubs, with quick connections to the city’s business, culture, entertainment and shopping areas.

Amsterdam’s new hub for global travellers to meet locals
“Zoku reflects Amsterdam’s modern values of diversity, entrepreneurship and creativity,” says Hans Meyer, Co-founder and Managing Director of Zoku. “Our objective is for Zoku to connect thinkers from various industries, and facilitate the emergence of a new hub where talented international travellers mingle with locals.” Next door to Zoku is a five-story location of international coworking space WeWork. The local area is known as the “Knowledge Mile” thanks to the dense concentration of commercial, educational and entrepreneurial talent in the city centre.

Disrupting the hotel industry, one Zoku Loft at a time
Zoku is the winner of the 2015 Radical Innovation Award as well as “Best Innovation & Disruption” from the Serviced Apartment Awards. Both accolades celebrate the Zoku concept with its revolutionary Zoku Loft that shifts the focus of the room from the bed to the living space, with a four-person table that can be used to work, dine, entertain or just hang out. The Zoku Loft features a fully equipped kitchen, cleverly designed extensive storage space, plentiful office supplies and an elevated, loft-style sleeping space that can be accessed by a retractable staircase and screened off to make the loft cosy, business-like or something in between. The Zoku Loft’s stylish furnishings are from Danish design brand Muuto, which characterises the Scandinavian design tradition through aesthetics, functionality and craftsmanship. Zoku’s residents can add a finishing touch to their Zoku Lofts by choosing their own art, making the spaces truly personal.

Social spaces designed for dining, working and connecting
Zoku expands the definition of a hotel into a platform where knowledge, ideas and people can mingle on a daily basis. Encouraging connection, Zoku offers diverse social areas to encourage effortless interaction between Zoku’s residents, Amsterdam’s locals and the in-the-know Zoku team called Sidekicks. Zoku introduces the Community Manager, a new role that organises events to expand the residents’ social and professional circles, facilitating a true sense of community. Open-plan living and communal working spaces are available 24/7, making conversations and meetings easy.

Zoku’s Living Kitchen serves locally sourced fresh, healthy food quickly and conveniently with ingredients from Zoku’s rooftop garden and greenhouse. The Living Kitchen grants the opportunity to share a meal with neighbours and locals alike, host small dinner parties and meet others at long, communal tables. Local kitchen heroes make occasional appearances for special dining events that attract both Zoku residents and Amsterdam locals.

Building a greener Amsterdam: a city collaboration
Formerly an office building, Zoku Amsterdam transformed the building’s rooftop into an urban green garden for natural ventilation and rainwater capture, a project co-financed by the City of Amsterdam. Zoku’s design firm Concrete partnered with Amsterdam-based rooftop gardening experts De Dakdoktors to design hexagonal plant beds around the 6th floor Social Spaces filled with lush, colourful flowers. Roof food specialists GrownDownTown envisioned the selection of vegetables and herbs in the garden specifically for Zoku’s community and Living Kitchen. The public rooftop garden allows residents and locals to experience the seasons in the middle of an urban environment.

Better Together by Zoku offers flexible event spaces designed to fuel ideas
Rooted in the belief that collaboration is critical to success, Better Together by Zoku challenges traditional industry standards for meeting and event spaces. The hotel’s bright, naturally lit top floor features 360 square meters of flexible space to host productive, inspiring gatherings for professional or social affairs. Unique meeting room features include flexible furniture layouts, whiteboard walls, ample natural light and even a kitchen for cooking together. The eight meeting rooms can accommodate up to 8 people each, and the event space holds up to 175 for product launches, hackathons, cocktail parties and more.

Zoku’s global future
Zoku’s global roll-out will expand to Europe’s innovative hubs of creativity — London, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. “We are happy to announce that Zoku has won two fantastic sites in Paris in the Reinventer Paris competition, which kicks off our global expansion. We’re in exclusive negotiations with local renowned developers,” says Marc Jongerius, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Zoku. “Zoku brings a new space-efficient, home-office hybrid to a city, creating a community in cultured metropolitan areas. Neighbourhoods that work best for Zoku are buzzing with entrepreneurship, creative industries, shops, entertainment and culture.” Suggestions for new locations are welcome, with the Zoku team offering an attractive tiered rewards programme for leads to locations, developers, contracts and more.

Booking and pricing information
Zoku Amsterdam features 133 Zoku Lofts and over 500 m2 of social space for its residents. Book your Loft today at www.livezoku.com. A one-night stay in a Zoku Loft starts from 150 EUR/night and the nightly rate for a month’s stay could be as low as around 100 EUR/night. The longer a guest stays, the more cost beneficial, and the more the guest will get out of his or her stay.

Designer: concrete
Project team: Rob Wagemans, Ulrike Lehner, Ayca Dogan, Maarten de Geus, Bart de Beer, Murk Wymenga, Sofie Ruytenberg, Femke Zumbrink, Cathelijne Vreugdenhil, Matthijs Hombergen, Jeroen Vester
Architect building: Mulder Blauw

Photos: Ewout Huibers