the bold and the beautiful: dutch factory turns into vibrant restaurant, by studio modijefsky

the bold and the beautiful: dutch factory turns into vibrant restaurant, by studio modijefsky

studio modijefsky has transformed maastricht‘s former ceramic ‘sphinx’ factory into ‘the commons’, a contemporary restaurant and bar that caters to the newly designed ‘student hotel’. occupying the first three floors of the monumental complex, the light-filled restaurant celebrates the heritage of the site while subtly referencing the factory’s production process, with brightly colored furnishings placed within an industrial frame of rough concrete and black steel.

all photos by maarten willemstein



built in 1929, the enormous industrial building, which bears the nickname ‘horizontal skyscraper’, is currently being redeveloped into maastricht’s new city district; with the commons being one of its latest additions. sitting in the steel-constructed, north-east corner of the complex, the restaurant serves both as the hotel’s breakfast room and as an all-day bar and dining space for the area. studio modijefsky has used various visual elements to connect the three levels together, such as a dark steel and concrete bar, which can be spotted both in the ground floor restaurant and in the intimate cocktail bar of the lower level. strong references to the structure’s industrial past, such as steel railings, chandeliers, and two large vestibules, are combined with brightly colored furnishings and surfaces that link to the factory’s former use. inspired by the ceramic production process, pastel shades of blue, grey, pink, and yellow in the basement reference the start of the process, where round, geometric poufs reflect the shapes of pottery moulds. on the ground floor, bright tones link to freshly glazed pottery, while in the mezzanine, custom-made tables and banquet seats in bright, bold hues resemble finely baked ceramics.

the industrial heritage of the building is constantly celebrated throughout the restaurant

the floor finishes of the ground floor and mezzanine levels highlight the grid of the existing columns

the steel and concrete bar of the restaurant

the mezzanine is designed using the most intense tones

a fresh take on the brick pattern appears throughout the space, referencing the tall pottery ovens of the factory

detail of the bright furnishings and brick walls

custom-made track lighting emphasizes the original steel ceiling beams

the bespoke furniture and refined color scheme references the ceramic production process

leather daybeds in various shapes and colors are suspended on metal rails

the hard, geometric shapes of the structure are combined with the soft clay-inspired shapes of furniture

a small music stage is fit with a mirror-and-light ceiling and enclosed with silver curtains that can easily turn it into a tiny private dance floor

the basement is designed to hold events such as concerts, poetry nights and book readings

the steel and concrete structure of the restaurant is replicated in the intimate cocktail bar

the five-meter-high logo adorns the glass facade and grabs the attention of passersby

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