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In October, the Publique Restaurant opened its doors on one of the most exciting squares in The Hague’s vibrant city centre. The brothers Casper and Sjoerd Smits and their cousin Maurits Jonkman, all experienced restaurateurs, asked Robert Kolenik to design a stylish but accessible version of that much-loved French classic, the bistro.


The warm copper colour in the stained glass windows was chosen as the guiding principle for the design. It forms the basis for the colour palette applied throughout the building and interior. This creates a feeling of tranquillity and unity in the design, as well as contributing to the sense that the concept is in keeping with the building and has been carefully thought through. The warm glow of red copper also reappears in the robust open kitchen, which is reminiscent of the French bistros of a bygone era, and in the elegant lighting fixtures and lamps that have been custom-made for this project.


The chosen materials accentuate the desired impression of exclusivity and accessibility. An exciting contrast is created by juxtaposing the raw concrete of the power floated floors with exclusive natural materials, including wild walnut, luxurious leather and recurring copper accents. The floor also contrasts with the elegance of the walnut tables’ iron supports, and with the stylish red copper wall lamps. The lamps’ round bulbs accentuate the contours of the circular tables, as well as creating the intimate sphere that is so important in a restaurant.


As is the case with many of Kolenik’s projects, the majority of the pieces of furniture and lighting elements have been custom-made specifically for this project. This is not only to satisfy the designer’s high standards, but also to ensure that there is a recognisable signature and quality running through his work. Chef Cezar Rebelo De Almeida will be serving a range of gastronomic dishes from all over the world, with French roots. In just under eleven weeks, Publique was transformed from a shell into precisely the contemporary bistro the owners had in mind. It perfectly chimes with their vision of the concept, offering a familiar menu and great hospitality in a stylish, warm environment.

Design :Robert Kolenik

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