restorative installation in conservatorium hotel

Restorative sensorial experience

Tailored for Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam, Marthe Biezen & Justine Kontou collaborated with Sizzer, Menno Kroon and Iscent in shaping a restorative sensorial experience; x-Ordinary Phenomena for the hotel’s annual Art Months.

Designed for the monumental buildings’ entrance situated at the Paulus Potterstraat, the installation’s focal point is accentuating sensorial awareness amongst the hotel’s visitors. Inspired by natural phenomena, guests entering the Conservatorium Hotel will be encouraged to reset and leave the outside world behind before setting foot in the hotel’s lobby. Natural elements, soundwaves, scent, and mindful design make for the aesthetic installation aiming to guide guests into a calmer and more contemplative state of mind, allowing visitors to fully submerge into the comfort and luxury Conservatorium Hotel has to offer.

The installation (10 meters wide) features three phases, each with its own composition and subtle references to nature’s restorative qualities. Being the successor to Kontou’s Contemplation Spaces (Dutch Design Week 2017), this sensorial experience is once again the result of a multidisciplinary collaboration focusing on wellbeing.

Multi-disciplinary collaboration

In order to improve well-being, existing studies on environmental psychology and Biophilic Design were explored to serve as a steady platform for Biezen & Kontou’s approach.
Cooperating with scientists and experts in all disciplines involved substantiated this way of working. All participating partners in no particular order:

Sizzer in cooperation with Amy Root, supported by Genelec, Universal Audio and MSV: bespoke music composition *more information can found below.
Menno Kroon enhanced the aesthetic installation with fresh flowers and plants
Iscent provide a custom made scent experience for an instant feeling of calmness

To complete the experience design lighting by Steven Banken, studio Thier & van
Daalen and VANTOT for Hollands Licht are integrated.

x-Ordinary Phenomena was on show from April 1 - July 16, 2019 in Conservatorium hotel Amsterdam. 

Bespoke music composition by Sizzer

For thousands of years people have used sound in practices for meditation and healing. Thanks to modern neuroscience, there’s also a renewed interest in the effects of sound on the brain.
For “x-Ordinary Phenomena” at the Conservatorium Hotel, Sizzer continues to build on previous research conducted by students at the University of Amsterdam (where we asked: “What makes music relaxing?”) as well as new research conducted in 2018 titled “Music for the Design of Spatial Well-Being.”
The bespoke composition “Tidal Waves” created for Conservatorium Hotel’s “x-Ordinary Phenomena” installation is based on the brain entrainment theory of “binaural beats”.
The idea behind binaural beat is that by playing two notes with slightly different frequencies (one into the left and one into the right) our brain is tricked into perceiving a third note. Through a biophysical phenomena known as entrainment, our brainwaves actually start to try and sync to this third note.

In this composition, the frequency of this third note is controlled to encourage what is known as ‘Alpha Brain Activity’. The general range of all brainwave activity is measured in hertz, from around 4 Hz up to 12 Hz and above. These brain waves are at the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Over the course of a day, we produce all kinds of brain waves within this range depending on whether we are sleeping (< 4 Hz) or if we are alert and busy (12 Hz and higher).

Increasing ‘Alpha’ activity in the brain (between 8-12 Hz) is said to relax the mind after complex thinking into a mode of relaxation. When the brain is encouraged to produce more Alpha brain waves through binaural beats, we experience greater peace of mind, being able focus inwards and away from outside distraction; an experience much like meditation.

Have a listen yourself and download the composition “Tidal Waves” here:

For more information about this composition, reach out Sizzer through or check out


"I’m really proud of this very special experience we created for our guests. It was the first time we did something like this and, personally, I think it was the best thing yet.
Our guests visibly enjoyed it and really appreciated the fact we tried to give them an amazing welcome, and offering them a way to really leave the outside world behind before entering the hotel’s lobby. The combination of nature, a wonderful scent and the perfectly matching music made for an unforgettable experience. And besides the guests, also my colleagues used the installation to recharge during their break. So very grateful for the beautiful work and great collaboration with Justine and Marthe."

- Beatrijs Aghina, Creative Director of The Set Hotels

"I really think it's the best installation at the annual Art Months so far and I've seen a lot! Everything has been worked out in detail to a high standard and the entire atmosphere is very nice. It’s shows a hotel can be so much more than “just a place to lay down your head” but also a real destination in itself. I'm happy when I'm on duty in the entrance and many of my colleagues regularly come and sit or stand near the installation because it's so relaxing."
- Gideon Beentjes, Doorman at Conservatorium hotel

I think the installation fits very well in the hotel. You can see that a lot of guests really react to it, being very happily surprised, and I also like to be near it in the entrance. It makes me more relaxed and it creates a very nice atmosphere!
- Doorman at Conservatorium hotel

Installation available for new location 

Would you like to experience this restorative installation in the building where you are working? Please contact for more information and the possibilities.


Concept & Design: Justine Kontou & Marthe Biezen  

created in collaboration with - and thanks to;

Sizzer | Amy Root | Genelec | Universal Audio | MSV
Iscent | Menno Kroon |
 Thier & van Daalen | VANTOT for Hollands Licht |
Steven Banken | Goof van Beek | Pyrasied and Conservatorium Hotel

Photos: Today's Brew