Belgian architecture firm A154 in collaboration with Nele Van Damme and Yannick Baeyens refurbished the former tabling office of ‘Dagblad Vooruit’ in Ghent trasforming it into the brand new Backstay Hostel. These premises dating from 1930, with their striking frosted glass eclectic front designed by architect Brunfaut, are a protected monument. After the ‘Dagblad Vooruit’ stopped its activities, the premises were in the eighties modified into the cultural house “Backstage” and until today it is still known to most people under this name. The neighbouring premises on the right side, with shop front, housed in the old days the pub ‘Hof van Beroep’. These premises were also integrated in the project. In 2013 a license was delivered to modify the monument into a hostel with 108 beds.
The hostel is located in the middle of the university nucleus of the city, opposite the renowned art centre Vooruit and just minutes away from the historic city centre. The hostel offers 108 beds and 15 rooms and as such is one of the largest hostels in the Ghent region. Both groups and individual travellers are very welcome here.
The renovation works took a little less than one year. The entire renovation was done in a positive understanding with the urban planning commission and in particular with the department of Monuments’ Conservation. Respecting the past of the building, an original total concept was developed for the interior, the design and even the atmosphere.
All furniture has been tailor-made. Through the opaque windows of the façade a soft-filtered light enters the sleeping quarters. At night the entire glass front bathes in light. This nightly image of the building is without ado unique. All dorms rooms and bedrooms are named after famous, international newspapers (Le Monde, the New York Times, Die Zeit, El País, La Stampa, the Guardian,…).
The ground-floor bar is open to travellers, Ghent residents and accidental visitors alike. The bar furniture was upholstered with hundreds of wooden typesetting letters from the collection of printing house Strobbe (Izegem). Colourful globes illuminate the bar in a playful winky way. The lobby, bar, breakfast room and the terrace integrate seamlessly in each other. The quote “A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles” is most prominently present in the interior of the breakfast room.
all images © LUC ROYMANS