Industry Update
Press Release24 May 2016

New home­office hybrid ZOKU opens for business in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Zoku

  • Defining a new hotel category and signifying The End of The Hotel Room as we know it
  • Loft rooms inspired by the global nomad lifestyle are designed for work and play
  • First Zoku located in the heart of Amsterdam's historic eastern Canal District
  • Partnership with Startup Fest Europe kicks off Zoku's Opening Week

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The first Zoku is now open for business in the heart of Amsterdam. The new work­meets­play hotel concept has been created for the global nomad. Zoku creates a new category ­­ a home­office 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 like­minded 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, Co­founder 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. The opening partnership with Startup Fest Europe reflects our commitment to entrepreneurism and new technology." Next door to Zoku is a five­story 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 four­person 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, loft­style sleeping space that can be accessed by a retractable staircase and screened off to make the loft cosy, business­like 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 in­the­know 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. Open­plan living and communal working spaces are available 24/7, making conversations and meetings easy. The Zoku app further connects residents with a social network and chat feature.

A holistic approach: Curated programmes for mental and physical wellbeing

Zoku maintains partnerships to facilitate wellbeing amongst residents who are living and working on the road. Promoting a healthy lifestyle and work­life balance is central to Zoku's philosophy. Fitness partner High45 offers residents high­intensity interval training in 45­minute classes in the studio on the ground floor, and the Zoku Community Manager organises pre­work yoga lessons for a mindful start to the day. Residents can book top­quality massages and beauty services in the Treatment Room. As mental stimulation is paramount to life at Zoku, emotional intelligence experts from local community partners teach regular on­site courses on ideating, intellectual balance, life lessons, creativity and more.

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 co­financed by the City of Amsterdam. Zoku partnered with Concrete and Amsterdam­based 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 roll­out 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, Co­Founder and Managing Director of Zoku. "Zoku brings a new space­efficient, home­office 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 one­night 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. Meet. Sleep. Work. Dream. Love. Live. Zoku. #EndOfTheHotelRoom

Zoku Origins

The concept behind Zoku is the result of extensive crowdsourcing and research efforts by Zoku and futures consultancy The Future Laboratory. Zoku is built on the principles of co­creation and community. During the development of the first Zoku location in Amsterdam, the founders sought a way to include the community and allow the supporters to become a true part of Zoku. Therefore, they established a crowdfunding campaign to fund one portion: Better Together by Zoku, the innovative meetings and event spaces. The team selected Dutch crowdfunding platform Collin Crowdfund with the goal of raising €300,000 as part of the total investment of €425,000. Backers were able to invest in increments of €500 with a 7% interest rate and a linear monthly payback in 48 months. The campaign's pre­opening went live for Zoku's closest advisors, which raised €200,000 in three days. When the campaign went live to the public, the remaining €100,000 was raised in just 18 minutes.

About the founders of Zoku

Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius developed Zoku. Along with working internationally for other hotel companies and startups, Hans Meyer is also the initial creator of the citizenM hotel concept. Hans is responsible for concept development, branding, marketing, operations and strategic partnerships. Marc was partner of a mid­sized private equity buy­out fund and is now responsible for the international roll­out (acquisition and development), strategic partnerships and asset management of Zoku. Working directly with future guests, Zoku envisions a world with smarter solutions. Minimising the waste of space, resources and time, Zoku will unlock new opportunities in the hotel industry. The Zoku team will focus on the international roll­out and manage all operations. www.livezoku.com .

About Concrete

Concrete is an award­winning interior design and architecture agency based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The agency hosts product and interior designers, architects, visual marketeers and urban planning/ architecture design. Concrete designed citizenM, W Hotel London and Verbier, Supperclub worldwide, KLM Business Lounge schiphol and UBRY New York and New Jersey. The agency is the winner of multiple highly acclaimed awards in the design, travel and hotel industries. www.concreteamsterdam.nl

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Zoku

Facilitating global living and working for the travelling professional, Zoku, which is Japanese for family, tribe, or clan, will disrupt and create a new category in the hotel industry - a home-office hybrid, also suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighbourhood.
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