An exciting brand narrative for this new café and bar underpinned our scheme to create a venue with an independent vibe and an authentic feel – a space that separates itself from the adjoining hotel. We took an existing hotel area, formerly the Executive Lounge, and stripped it back to its bare bones, revealing the concrete substrate and structure, and the original, dilapidated brick walls. This gritty canvas became the starting point in our vision for an all-day café and bar which responds to the brand’s concept of rootedness in Brussels’ bar scene.
Finding our design inspiration in neighbouring inner-city hang outs, we developed an aesthetic that juxtaposes the uncompromising finishes of the envelope with refined oak joinery and marble tabletops held together with a painted mural, produced in collaboration with local artist Ben Coosmans. The mural flows from walls to floor and even the furniture like a giant tap root, evoking a sense of place inspired by the vibrant street art murals that adorn the facades and underpasses of Brussels. Further inspiration for the root-inspired mural was found in the curved lines of a local stained-glass window designed by Belgian architect and founder of the Art Nouveau movement, Victor Horta. Much of the loose furniture was sourced from local antique shops, and original feature lighting is from the 1960s. The result is an eclectic mix of industrial, rustic and vintage designer elements that contrast with refined bespoke pieces throughout the space.
Barcine was designed to flex easily through day and evening, from coffee and pastries though to aperitivos and local beers enjoyed against a background of music played by local DJs. With its main entrance off a pedestrianised side street, Barcine is becoming a neighbourhood destination with an ambience that appeals to both locals and hotels guests alike.