For whatever reason, garages are powerful places for creative genesis: mediocre teenage punk bands and a few multi-billion dollar companies come to mind (you may have heard of Apple or Disney). It’s probably why turning around and injecting some of that creativity into the space itself seems so sensible: in Den Bosch, a city in the south of the Netherlands, Amsterdam-based Studio 34 South took a historic garage and turned it into a premium hospitality venue.
The Ford garage – and the building – dates back to the 1930s. That sense of nostalgia and 20th-century charm is palpable in Garage Pompen & Verlouw: the restaurant-bar has kept its original name. But it’s hardly the only way the space refers back to its old life.
Some 90 years ago, getting in a car would have been a spatial experience unto itself. People were driving massive machines, but they were luxurious machines – crafted and tailored to the driver. Globally, the times were economically and politically treacherous, but the need and desire for innovation in motor design was great. One look at a classic roadster, and that’s hard to deny. It’s why Studio 34 South started redesigning Garage Pompen & Verlouw by looking at the space’s heritage.
On site, they found tiles, concrete and steel; the challenge became to use the same materials to create a warm and textured palette. By cleverly reinterpreting era-appropriate colour schemes, the studio gave foundation to the modern-day interior concept. Cherry and mustard tones liven up the atmosphere and recall, not rely on, the spatial themes of the time period.
The environment takes advantage of what the visual contrast between craftsmanship and industrialisation would have been in the heyday of automobile manufacturing. You can see that in the details: glossy red wood, stitched leather panels, a vintage brass foot rail and the curvature of the bar itself all paint a cohesive storyline, a tale both old and new. Furniture by Thonet and Carl Hansen & Søn and textiles by Vyva Fabrics and Kvadrat complement the modernisation of the narrative.
By getting behind the wheel for inspiration without defaulting alone to the tried-and-true industrial trope, Studio 34 South exemplifies the wider range of what can be done when redesigning and reusing garages elsewhere.