Brasserie National | Restaurant

Antwerp, Belgium

2000 — 2002

Vincent Van Duysen Architects worked on the renovation and redecoration of this Neoclassical space and created a sober but rich interior.

The Brasserie National is situated at the head of the building where the ModeNatie is established. It was imperative to create a contemporary restaurant inside the existing Neoclassical building while at the same time make reference to an authentic brasserie – with all its conscious and unconscious connotations.

The result was an interpretation of the timeless brasserie-style filtered through contemporary shapes and modern materials.

The restaurant is a broad spatial experience and the materials sit in sophisticated harmony with the building and its function. The arrangement of the fixed furniture provides the necessary softness against the black-brown ceiling – a reference to the smoked ceilings of a classic brasserie – and dark walls to create a refined and intimate atmosphere.

Many brasserie archetypes have been referenced and reinterpreted: waiter station with copper reading lamp, illuminated mirror and glazed shelves behind the bar, and copper-bronze nameplates and menu trays.

Although the materials have been applied in a contemporary way, they sit in concert with both the decoration and character of the building such as pitted travertine which has a rich tradition in brasserie interiors and furniture with a dark brown upholstery that makes reference the past glory of brasserie-style furniture pieces.

The arrangement of the interior, in combination with these materials and furnishings, provides contrasting volumes and spatial interactions between the vertical and horizontal elements creating a subtle interplay of function, division, and program.

The seating at Brasserie National are prototypes of the VVD collection for B&B Italia.

Alberto Piovano