Maastricht, the Netherlands – The genre-agnostic design of restaurant and bar The Commons speaks tellingly of both its context and of the changing nature of hospitality spaces, travel, and the modern workplace. Designed by Studio Modijefsky, The Commons is housed in The Student Hotel Maastricht – designed by The Invisible Party and nominated for the Frame Awards 2018 Best Use of Colour.
The Commons occupies the first three floors of a former Sphinx factory building where modern mechanization techniques were introduced to ceramics manufacturing in the mid-1800s. Studio Modijefsky’s transformation of the space refrains from making obvious references to ceramics. Instead, rough concrete surfaces in the mezzanine preserve the industrial edge of the building’s history in contrast to the different brightly coloured groups of seating. Black steel in the furniture and the central bar counter unifies the space, connecting the individual colour islands.
In the intimate cocktail bar on the lower level, furniture shaped like ceramic moulds is upholstered in the colours of raw clay, while the floor is bathed in a warm glow from overhead lighting that mimics the fire of a kiln. In approaching the design of the space as a manifestation of the process of creating ceramics, Studio Modijefsky uses variations in colour and form to represent the final product: a fluid, dynamic social space that straddles co-working café and hotel lounge.