Dark Splendor

Space Copenhagen have come up with a Baroque interior concept for the restaurant and café “Le Pristine” in Antwerp.
Text by Anna Moldenhauer, Photos by Peter Paul de Meijer | 7/28/2020

Dark, opulent, illusionistic: The works of Flemish and Dutch Baroque painters such as Peter Paul Rubens or Rembrandt inspired the Danish design duo Space Copenhagen when it came to devising an interior concept in warm rust red, black, sand and grey for “Le Pristine”, a restaurant and café in Antwerp, Belgium. With color gradations and the emphasis placed on the energetic contrast of light and shade, they have succeeded in translating the mystical mood of the paintings into a three-dimensional space: In the setting the design tandem has created, every scene looks like a still life.

“Le Pristine” is located right in the heart of Antwerp, on the ground floor of a building from the 1960s. In order to repurpose the structure, an area spanning 445 square meters has been comprehensively modernized: Traces of this process can still be seen in some of the fair-faced brick walls that Space Copenhagen have integrated into the new interior concept. The restaurant and café are located in this rejuvenated section and merge gently into each other. While in the front section, which features a traditional wood-burning oven, visitors can enjoy a relaxed breakfast or sip an aperitif later in the day, in the rear section the focus is on finest dining á la carte. Owner is the thrice Michelin starred, celebrated restaurateur Sergio Herman, who runs the kitchen and creates Italian dishes with a Zeeland touch in reference to his childhood home.

For the interior design, Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen have drawn on the Baroque period’s penchant for leafy vines and lush bouquets. Indeed, the connection to nature is evident both in the covered inner courtyard and on the outdoor terrace. This is joined by a collage of historical and contemporary materials: The natural stone floor stands in contrast to cement, marble, oak and steel surfaces. Roman arches supported by pillars contrast to the concrete plastered, six-meter-high walls. The window front stretching almost all the way from floor to ceiling lets in plenty of daylight. The overall impression of the elongated room is dynamic, yet harmonious despite the numerous contrasts. The countless works of art and built-in elements that Space Copenhagen have selected with the support of creatives of the likes of Sabine Marcelis, Maarten Bas, Rinus Van De Velde, Bertjan Pot and Frederik Molenschot provide added visual highlights. In the evening, the special atmosphere at Le Pristine shows itself from its most beautiful side, as the soft candlelight of the block candles on the tables dissolves the formal rigor of the light provided by the black, linear pendulum spots to create a truly cozy atmosphere.

Contact Restaurant

Lange Gasthuisstraat 13
2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Phone: +32 33 76 337

Owner of the "Le Pristine" is the thrice Michelin starred, celebrated restaurateur Sergio Herman, who runs the kitchen and creates Italian dishes with a Zeeland touch.