Initially constructed in 1895 to cope with increasing traffic flows in Amsterdam’s increasingly congested Canal district, the Raadhuisstraat thoroughfare is wedged strategically between the Royal Palace and Westerkerk, straddling two of the city’s main waterways. Despite the presence of an ornate 17th century backdrop and an alluring architecture of its own, this street has puzzlingly remained nothing but an underwhelming, albeit bustling, passageway for the past few decades. Until now that is. Young entrepreneurs Theodoor Kuster and Jelle Lispet run a fashion and PR agency for quite some time, but having a good notion of brands and what good retail entails, they’ve have also successfully dipped their toe in that pool.
By being chummy with the mogul who owns this stretch of prime real estate, the duo have now taken their operations to an audacious next level, transforming Raadhuisstraat into the Dutch capital’s new axis of cool shopping. Their endeavour is anchored by the Pelican Studio, a newly opened concept store – mind you, it’s actually shop number two, following the opening of a franchise right next door – with continuously tweaked offerings. Set across two spacious ground floor units, the store measures 330 sqm. [3,552 sq.ft.] and features an interior by local design practice Framework Studio. the setting is largely defined by a subtle infusion of pastel colours, ingrained in the founders’ minds by the iconic 1980s TV hit series Miami Vice, and playfully captured in a number of fixtures and walls.
Expansive front windows and large skylights allow in floods of daylight that bring the carefully colour-coded shop sections to life. Also situated on the premises is a coffee bar, a new satellite venue of Leonardo Belloni and Daan Bonsen, two hospitality entrepreneurs who manage a string of popular watering holes across town. The Pelican Studio aims to indulge a shopping demographic that’s discerning in both quality and style options, and does so with a tightly curated range of men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and footwear collections that allow them to effortlessly go from chic to sporty. These offerings are supplemented by a matching range of lifestyle products. Currently on the brand list are coveted names such as Ami, Delikatessen, Maison Kitsuné, Harmony and Wood Wood. One floor up, the Pelican Studio features additional a-grade space, suitable for events, meetings or presentations, and which is rented out.