Arie Op de Hoek Bar and Cafe

Studio Modijefsky has designed Arie Op de Hoek Bar and Cafe to echo Amsterdam’s legendary “brown cafe’s” from the city’s past.

  • area / size 2,131 sqft
  • Year 2021
  • Location Amsterdam, Netherlands,
  • Arie is the latest addition to the Goudvisch family. The imaginary family of bar owners that was born with Bonnie welcomes a new cousin, Arie, in Amsterdam’s ‘De Pijp’ neighbourhood. Once again Modijefsky has created a name, character and interior that all blend seamlessly into each other.

    The building in which Arie is housed dates back to 1876. Its location on the intersection of the Ferdinand Bolstraat and Quillijnstraat gives Arie its second name ‘op de hoek’, meaning ‘on the corner’. After the Second World War “The Gezellige Club” opened on this bustling spot, and ever since there has been a bar or café here to welcome generations of Amsterdammers.

    For its latest incarnation as Arie, Studio Modijefsky was asked to design a modern ‘brown cafe’. These legendary Amsterdam bars were originally created by people living on the ground floor of buildings who opened up their homes to serve food and drinks in order to supplement their low incomes. They got their name from the incessant cigar and cigarette smoke that discoloured the walls, a status to which Arie pays tribute with stained wooden panelling.

    To recreate the atmosphere of these days Studio Modijefsky concentrated on the popular materials of the time: copper, terrazzo, tiles, fabrics, and wood. Darkened beech is used throughout, creating a strong contrast with the aged copper and red marbles of the front bar. Blue tiles in a variety of shades accentuate these contrasts and connect the yellow and red ceiling with the back of the bar, where a custom-made cooling cabinet recalls the kind of crafted fridges you might have found in this building at the start of the 20th century.

    As the bar is visible from both entrances, it serves as Arie’s centrepiece. The floor on which it stands is a traditional Dutch terrazzo on which a brass footrail adds another classic touch, while the marble counter reflects the neon light crossing the glossy dark blue tiled ceiling. On a functional level the bar marks the transition between two areas: at the front there is a high seating area; at the back, a more comfortable low seating space.

    Each area has a distinct mood and atmosphere. The rich visual landscape at the front shifts into a more relaxed monotone setting in the narrow part at the back. Here the existing openings have been projected on the blind wall and used as a blueprint for mirrors to create virtual space and openness. More elements from the original building have been translated into custom fixtures, such as the wooden elements of the wall lights.

    Everything in Arie Op de Hoek – from the panelling to the materials and the traditional wooden cooling cabinet at the back of the bar – combines to create an authentic atmosphere that is disappearing from the Dutch hospitality scene. A place you go for a quick beer, but leave long after your bedtime. A place that will quickly become your second home.

    Design: Studio Modijefsky
    Design Team: Esther Stam, Moene van Werven, Agnese Pellino, Christel Willers
    Photography: Maarten Willemstein