Category Archives: Hotel

Meet The 2016 Winners: Nicemakers

Posted on June 9, 2017 by Annalisa

Amsterdam-based studio, Nicemakers, founded by partners Joyce Urbanus and Dax Roll, was joint winner of the WIN AWARDS 2017 Hotels category with their stunning project: The Hoxton, Amsterdam.

Made up of five 17th century canal houses, the building was once home to the Mayor. It is now a stunning hotel with 111 rooms across five floors.

Described by the jury as having a ‘measurable sense of space, of place and flair’, The Hoxton is just one of many projects undertaken by this dynamic duo to win international acclaim.

We interrupt Joyce’s travels to discover what Nicemakers is up to now…

Joyce Urbanus & Dax Roll

What projects are you currently working on?

A great hotel project in the centre of Paris. It is privately owned and will have around 80 rooms with a lovely inner garden which all the rooms are facing. The design is ready; we are currently building the Mock-up Room.

We are also working on a jewellery store in New York, a new-to-build hotel in Amsterdam, and a couple of great residential projects; from an 1800 Century farmhouse in the East of Holland to a Brutalist – style penthouse of 550m2 in Maastricht.

The Hoxton – Joint Winner – 2016 Hotels category. Image Credit: Alan Jenssen

Nicemakers works on a wide range of projects across all sectors, is there any sector that you haven’t tackled yet that you would like to?

Dax is still waiting for a boudoir to do the design for!

Will you be looking at product design in the future?

Yeah, that is definitely on our agenda. For almost every project we do we design a lot of custom -made items, so it is definitely not something new for us.

The Hoxton – Joint Winner – 2016 Hotels category. Image Credit: Alan Jenssen

What advice would you give to young architects and designers thinking of starting their own practice?

Make sure that besides design, you also develop your skills in listening and understanding your client and their brief. Go and visit buildings, try to understand the energy of a space and make sure whatever you design is aligned and well thought of.

Research! Know about the history, or the future, or just the area. There are great products, suppliers and developers in every country that you work.

And…be ready to give everything you have; it will take a great amount of energy, it’s 24/7 full-on. But always feel the confidence that you’ve ‘got it’…. it will go with a lot of up’s and downs.

Amsterdam City Apartment. Photo Credit: Alan Jenssen

What does a typical day look like?

There is no typical day, one is always different from another.

What’s next for Nicemakers?

Being consistent in keeping up the quality of work, with the love that we feel for our projects and clients, as we do now.

Amsterdam City Apartment. Photo Credit: Alan Jenssen

Would you say that working in Amsterdam inspires you?

Yes, it’s a dream city. Cosy and international. Our HQ is on one of the Canals, we have an amazing big garden in the back, what else could you wish for?

Can you name a few of your favourite places in Amsterdam?

Toscanini and Café de Klepel are our all-time favourites. That’s where we celebrate the good things in life with the best service and amazing food and vino.

Restaurant Jacobz

I’ve read that you love to travel. What places would you love to visit that you haven’t already?

We’ve seen quite a lot that we wanted to. There are quite a few places that will take a longer trip than just one week, like Peru, Argentina, and all the rest of Brazil we haven’t seen yet. But for now we also would love to discover more of Europe. It’s all next door…

Where are you happiest?

Every few weeks we try to go to a little house we always rent on Ibiza.  It’s a place just surrounded by nature and where the sun goes down every evening right in front of you. We cook meals, we read, we go for long walks, just be together and sometimes speak about new ideas. But most of the time we just empty our minds to maintain a strong focus and clear vision… and just feel really happy.

Thank you Joyce!