‘Create affordable luxury in beautiful surroundings.’ That was the hospitality design brief given to Robert Kolenik by the owners of Restaurant De Werf.
This charming, historic building is now a cosy, elegant restaurant. It has the capacity for over 80 covers inside and at least 180 covers outside on its stunning waterside terrace. The existing interior and routing were given a rigorous overhaul to create today’s hospitality design. ‘The first floor, which once housed a boutique and an office, is now designed for lunching and dining. But the space can also be used for intimate private dining.’ The boutique that used to share the ground floor space with the restaurant has been relocated to an adjacent building. Moreover, it echoes the look and feel of the restaurant.
All the furniture – with the exception of the bar stools and lighting – are bespoke Kolenik designs for De Werf. The interior designer has his own furniture range and his expertise with comfortable seating has been harnessed here. The colour palette is refined and understated and materials such as blued steel, wood and leather have been used. These lend the interior that surprising edge that you would expect from a Kolenik design. The restaurant design also seamlessly blends in with the menu, which is international and based on classic French cuisine with a modern twist.
Upon entering, you are immediately struck by the spectacular eye-catcher that has been tailor-made for the space. This asymmetric, organically designed 2.5-metre-high, 350-kilogram sculpture of pink and white barnacles appears to be floating in the air. ‘It was during my first visit that I got the inspiration for the chandelier. It was low tide and I could see the barnacles on the nearby harbour.’ The owners are delighted with the result and with the collaboration. ‘Robert has been tremendously supportive in every respect; particularly in terms of sticking to our budget. He kept coming up with new solutions in order to achieve this. The collaboration went very smoothly, and the end result is even more beautiful than we had anticipated. We’ve also been overwhelmed with enthusiastic reactions from our guests. The outdoor terrace with 180 seats in such a stunning location is the starting point for our concept. But now the exterior matches the interior and the whole thing fits together perfectly. We are extremely pleased with it. There’s a real shortage of good, well-designed restaurants in Zeeland.’