Roaming Subtly Between The Contemporary And The Ancient!

October 19, 2011

Creating a new modern retail or restaurant space within an ancient or cultured building and passing it off as something that is both inspiring and respectful to both the traditionalists and modernists is no easy feat. Last month we covered L’Opera project in another post as an example of a project that attempted this.

Today however we are going to focus on a project that we happen to think does it just that bit better. BASE’s new flagship store has been created by Creneau International inside the 106 year old Antwerp Central Train Station. Unlike L’Opera this is a project that takes a much more subtle, some may even say a more respectful approach to fusing the modern with the ancient.

In our opinion the designers have created a space and store that retains the integrity of the building, there are no garish overtones, not obvious finger flicks at the past majesty of the train station and in no way have they tried to create something that encourages awe by way of a shock factor like L’Opera. Yet with all that in mind the BASE store is still a fantastic store design that is very much modular, this is a store design that could fit in a 100 year old building or a 6 month old mall or even in a station like the Dubai Metro and still stand on its own two feet as a great store design.

Favourite elements for us are the lighting, with such a large ceiling and window height it would have been easy to create a horribly lit space but the floating lights and the continuation of them onto the tills and POS areas are a big positives for us. The shop also has a great flow to it, the modular sales units on wheels are easily transferable thus giving this space the possibility of being a continually evolving and interactive sales floor.

The brand incorporation of the furniture and external signage are also plus points but an element that stands out the most for us is the seamless and subtle blend of the old station fittings and the new design elements. The real majesty of the station is encapsulated by the stunning marble till units as well as the gorgeous columns and walls. These are very much the train station elements that existed prior to the store; hence this really is a project that marries the contemporary and the old school beautifully.

Have a look and let us know what you think.