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Thursday, February 16, 2017

An unlikely oasis in the city!

By Rita Roy Choudhury
Photography: Ewout Huibers; courtesy the architect
Read Time: 2 mins
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Dining out has always been a special experience; even more so, when paired with a shopping experience at the luxurious Bijenkorf Utrecht in Amsterdam…

Designed by the reputed i29 interior architects and housed in Bijenkorf, also known as BeeHive, ‘the kitchen’ is a bright and airy food-court a la restaurant that sits on the uppermost floor of the store.  Designed to top off an energetic day of luxe shopping, this eatery has an ambience that entices people to take a welcome break from the often exhausting demands of shopping.    

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Islands of mini kitchens surrounded by transparent glass walls bring the cooking experience home to shoppers. Since the kitchens cook up foods from different parts of the world, customers can walk up and watch the theatrics of live-cooking. Cooking is the star here and the food is always on view.


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The distinctive hexagonal honeycomb logo of the department store continues to be a dominant motif in the restaurant. Incidentally, the geometric black and white pattern is a unifying theme across the restaurant floors and the food counter fronts rendering a playful, energetic feel to the space.   Its no-fuss vibe creates an unobtrusive envelope, whilst tying the aesthetics in a blend of natural phenomena sans any additional pieces of art or other evocative objects of desire.

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As if to shout out above the heavy traffic that typically passes through the restaurant, clear markings guide hurrying shoppers to the right food counters. The open design allows for an informal setup, flexible for either a cozy meal in the city or a working group lunch meet.    

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This restaurant rewards us with many surprising elements, one such being the living green wall at its centre. The lush green foliage is reflected in the use of natural materials like wood seating, and complementary upholstery; with warm tones of nature repeated in a recurring theme across the green glass wall dividers all across the restaurant.   As if in a green oasis in an urban desert, this refreshing restaurant is a welcome addition to the cityscape of Amsterdam.


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Fact File:
Client: De Bijenkorf
Design: i29 interior architects
Materials: Oak wood, metal frames, tiles, ceramics, glass, fabrics
Furniture manufacturer: Stooff

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