A few weeks ago we were visiting Amsterdam together with Airbnb. One of the spots that was on top of our to-visit list was the Blom & Blom shop, where we met up with the owners Kamiel and Martijn Blom.
In a beautifully refurbished warehouse in the North of Amsterdam you’ll find the airy showroom and workshop of Blom & Blom, founded by two brothers, Kamiel and Martijn Blom. The duo shares a passion for forgotten items and lost places, refurbishing left-behind furniture that they mostly track down in abandoned factories and military complexes in the former DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) in East Germany. Eager to collect all kinds of furniture for their common project, it’s still 90% of the time lamps that they find and bring back to their workshop in Amsterdam. Martijn explains: “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that lamps can still be found in these old factories. Lamps are a very important element, since light can strongly influence an atmosphere. It’s something you can play with. We sell aesthetic objects that can really have an effect on a space.”
When fixing the old items it’s especially important to the brothers to preserve their unique character, their history and charm. Every sold item comes with a ‘passport’ that marks its origin to make sure to keep its vivid past alive. It’s a rewarding task for the brothers to bring these old, left-behind items back to life and the thought that a lamp from a former DDR factory will now be hanging in Hawaii, the US or even back where it came from, in Berlin strikes them.
Kamiel Blom used to live in Berlin where he visited a lot of abandoned places to take photos. He saw many old lamps dangling from the walls and ceilings and that was when the idea for their shared business sparked. Both coming from a different background, they though it was time to do something with their hands and get physical again after working mainly in the digital world. Today they are quite fulfilled with what they do, encouraging others to form a profession from their passion as well saying “I think you can make a profession from every hobby if you work hard and believe in it.”
In collaboration with Airbnb and the Make One Less Stranger initiative. The campaign was set up to turn strangers into friends by an act of hospitality. 100,000 hosts throughout North America, South America, and Europe participated, hosting a stranger and sharing their experiences online.