Located in the Dutch city of Den Bosch, Pompen & Verlouw is a new, all-day restaurant designed by Amsterdam-based Studio 34 South. This former mechanic’s space was once a dark, oily and masculine realm of heavy labour. An industrious workplace from a bygone era. It was a workshop, a manufacturing location, a space that was filled with sweat and roughness. In a time when cars were completely mechanical machines, no wires, no digital, just oil and steel. “We wanted to create a boot in the face juxtaposition,” explain Samantha Ellinson and Chechi Valentine, founders of the Dutch studio. “It needed to be transformed into a soft and light, warm and clean environment, within this old industrious body.”
Using automobile design of the 1930s as a source of inspiration, the duo researched the finely crafted interiors of vintage cars. “It was a world of glossy walnut sterling wheels, streamlined metal details, stitched brown and burgundy tones of leather seating. It was pure craftsmanship,” the studio said. “The goal was to capture the essence of that aesthetic and bring it into today in a completely unexpected way.”
This narrative begins in the heart of the space as your eye follows the curves of the central bar. A steering wheel inspired bar top awakens your sense of touch as your hands run across the glossy wood, and the smell of stitched leather is present as it wraps around the bar. Amplified colours such as cherry, peach and orange create a modern palette of tones and textures and prints, turning the old into the now.
Original features were maintained when their condition was good enough. The original pull-up garage doors have been bolted to the old industrial ceiling, hovering above you creating a nostalgic feature. “We love to play with tension like that,” adds the duo. “Not in an obvious and predictable way but subtle and to create a backdrop. It’s there, but you don’t have to interact with it.”
The same approach was taken for the corrugated metal sheet wall. This is one of the most basic and unexciting cladding materials, but very connected to the aesthetic language of garages and factories. A creamy light coating has been applied, so that it becomes a beautiful and elegant backdrop. Its reflective and wavy shape adds a playful lightness to the space.