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  • Location: Hasselt, Belgium
  • Program: Restaurant
  • Area: 3.710 m²
  • Year: 2021
  • Status: Realized

In 2020, the general reconstruction of the Grote Markt in Hasselt will once again create a beating heart for the city. A clear square is created centrally, the contours of which are formed by separate buildings. The well-known buildings Drugstore and De Markt are also undergoing a total metamorphosis, both architecturally and at the level of the interior. The heated terrace construction with a slatted roof beckons passers-by who are only too happy to insert a resting point here. The open structure with benches and French chairs makes the visitor curious about what is happening behind the new facade.

The family business that operates the two catering establishments is going for a new concept with a clear vision. Taking into account the historical architectural appearance of the separate buildings, the new design attempts to maintain the visual recognisability of the two buildings. Nevertheless, both the exterior and the interior strive for unity.

The design language of the new facades is inspired by the neighboring facades. For the facades of the various buildings, an attempt is made to make the original articulation of the various buildings visible again as much as possible. There is a search for various plays on the same theme, with each facade differing in subtle details from its neighbor. For materialization, a conscious choice was made for the simplicity of materials; brick and metal. By playing with a joint color, working with different shadow areas, and a subtle difference in rhythm, 2 different facades are created that nevertheless belong to 1 family.

Internally, the buildings of De Markt and Drugstore will be merged into one entity. The catering function is retained on the ground floor and extends further to the first floor. Here you will find a meeting room and next to it the kitchen, or the heart of the catering industry. The upper levels will be furnished with hotel rooms. A combination of voids and patios ensures spaciousness and light penetration throughout the entire interior.

Despite the fact that the two buildings are structurally merged, the ground floor level strongly emphasizes the diverse identity of the two catering establishments. The bar area is centrally located here and seamlessly connects the two atmospheres. The drugstore is designed based on a French concept as a nod to the past. The dark colors in combination with a distinct ceramic tile, the mirror wall, spherical lighting fixtures, velvet sofas, and cognac leather immediately immerse you in this warm interior. In the center, the large fireplace and wine fridge provide a transition to De Markt. A fresh herringbone parquet is combined here with pastel colors and the central pizza oven with a serving counter provides an extra experience here. At the front of the room, the neon lighting catches the eye as a reference to the historic facade, but also, especially as a fun element above the sofa. Upon entering you are immediately attracted by the patio at the rear of the building, but the monumental void with the jungle plant concept also immediately attracts attention.

Customers are not only received on the ground floor level and the first floor. For example, the cellar with brick vaults can at least be described as surprising. The narrow staircase from the Drugstore side takes you to the classy wine cellar. This space speaks for itself and needs little to achieve the desired atmosphere.

As soon as Drugstore can open its doors again, both regular and new customers will immediately feel at home and be immersed in the new concept of the family business.