House of Rituals
In October 2020, the House of Rituals opened the first two of its four floors in the centre of Amsterdam. This is not the usual kind of Rituals store of 80 square metres, but a four-storey department store of 3,000 m2 featuring a restaurant as well as a “body spa” and a “mind spa”, where visitors can immerse themselves fully in everything the brand signifies.
In a video recorded during the construction project, Raymond Cloosterman (founder and CEO) and Richard Lems (the Format and Design Director), explain how they imagine the House of Rituals to be, what is involved in the achieving such a dream, and why Rituals has already been working with Bulsink for more than 15 years.
Suddenly, those eighty metres are no longer a restriction. The only restriction is your own imagination.
Raymond Cloosterman started Rituals twenty years ago with one little store in Amsterdam. The formula currently has 850 stores in 29 countries and still intends to open another hundred stores a year – two every week. The House of Rituals was conceived as the company’s absolute showpiece, he says.
“It was our twentieth anniversary and we thought: what is the best birthday present we would like to give ourselves? Well this – a Rituals store of the future. A four-storey department store, where you can experience the brand in all its facets.”
Introducing new product ranges
Aside from taking the Rituals brand to the next level, Raymond says that he also wants to use his flagship store to introduce new product ranges which can give e-commerce turnover a boost. “We already had so many ideas about new things that would fit in our product range. The thing is: our stores are only eighty to a hundred square metres in size.”
“We are also on our way to becoming a digital brand, however, which has allowed us to change our thinking. Suddenly, those eighty metres are no longer a restriction. The only restriction is our own imagination. That is how we came up with the idea of House of Rituals: if square metres are no longer an issue, what else could we add? And what if we sell all of that online? Then we would need a showroom too, where customers can discover these products.”
During the renovations, Rituals discovered that the building once housed Amsterdam’s very first department store. “Such details make it extra special”, says Raymond. “Because for us, it is also Rituals’ first department store. It is something that connects us to the founders of the building.”
We have eight hundred stores, of which Bulsink has built a large part in the eighteen years that we have been working together.
Restoring the building to its former glory
“Rituals has done everything to restore the iconic building, a nationally monument, to its former glory”, Richard Lems explains in the same video. As the Format and Design Director, Richard is responsible for the look and feel of all Rituals stores worldwide.
He also says that, for the construction of the project, Rituals works closely with Bulsink – as it has been doing in many other projects for years now. “They were already at the third or fourth store that Rituals ever built and now we have more than eight hundred stores. They didn’t build all of them, but they did build a large part in the eighteen years that we have been working together.”
“I always call them early in the process, because I like to look at the building together with the builders; I like to have someone next to me who looks at it from their field of expertise. They are now working to get the job done and they are also very important in the preliminary phase. For example, we had started construction here already without any drawings. I think that is only possible if you already work very closely with a partner.”
“Bulsink takes care of everything; the entire building process, including planning, permits, third-party deliveries…” he continues, explaining his own presence at the building site only by Rituals never having done a project like this before. “Normally, they can build a store without us being there.”
“There is nothing I like better than this”, Richard concludes. “Especially at this speed. A construction project such as this typically takes three to four years. Well, we acquired the building in September last year and we’re opening in October this year! That means we are doing it in just one year.”