28 Nov 2019 • Hospitality
How public squares informed the design of the Netherlands' newest Foodhallen
Founded in Amsterdam in 2014, food-and-drink destination Foodhallen regularly tops recommendation lists for the Dutch capital. But it's not the only city you can find the popular food market, bar and event space in, with a post in Rotterdam and now The Hague. The latter, a 1,256-sq-m venue devised by Studio Modijefsky, carries on the appeal of the first locations by way of its thoughtful, social-focused design.
Each Foodhallen is meant to serve first and foremostly as a welcoming place for the (hungry) public. So, while conceptualizing the project, the female-led team at Studio Modijefsky took to studying archetypal examples within urban landscapes: piazzas. Crediting the social function of the age-old town and city spaces in Europe, the designers set their target on building Foodhallen The Hague as a bustling microcosm of its own.
Spread across three adjoining buildings, the site was formerly a chaotic grid of columns, beams and staircases, which made for a dark and low interior. But the space now has been transformed by graphic details, a bright material palette and seven defining elements typically found in urban squares: landmarks, striking pavement, fountains, merchant stalls, playgrounds, stairs and statues. Used as conceptual architectural components, these elements are integral to the design as they're built to encourage interaction between visitors.
Merchant stalls are understandably represented by 12 food stalls in three varying sizes, each with unique visual identities chosen by the vendors. On the ground floor, the landmark is the centrally positioned bar, divided in two parts; both volumes are clad in bronze, red marble and terracotta tiles to merge with the flooring and plinths of statuesque columns. Climbing up the bespoke wood, terrazzo and mosaic staircase – an informal gathering place – a second landmark can be found, a bold fountain bar constructed from travertine stone, turquoise-oxidized copper and pale terrazzo.
Surprisingly, though, it's in the smallest room that peak sociability is prompted: Studio Modijefsky turned it into a skate-inspired playground that doubly functions as a dancefloor.