NENI Amsterdam & the Lemonman Bar

concrete drew from both Dutch and Tel Aviv influence to design NENI Amsterdam & the Lemonman Bar, a restaurant that embodies the warmth of the Eastern Mediterranean in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

  • area / size 11,732 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Amsterdam, Netherlands,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • The design for NENI & The Lemonman Bar Amsterdam is inspired by both its very location in the former Citroën garage, and the origin of NENI’s cuisine, as Eastern Mediterranean fusion food. In view of the partially Israeli background of NENI’s creators and the fact that Tel Aviv is their go-to place, the concept embodies the Mediterranean warmth of Tel Aviv inside an industrial garage setting. NENI brings an outdoor patio on a warm summer night in Tel Aviv inside, capturing the atmosphere of an outside terrace to the interior and architecture of the restaurant. Access the Mediterranean oasis at any time through NENI Deli where food is served throughout the day or enter the Lemonman Bar by night. Inspired by the name of the garage (citroen is the Dutch word for ‘lemon’), the Lemonman Bar was created as a tribute to the founder of Citroën and is focused on citrus-inspired beverages.

    The entrance to NENI Deli, an all-day eatery that offers small bites like sandwiches, pizza and mezze, is located on the ground floor. The floor is covered in tiles with a mixture of Mediterranean patterns in several shades of grey. At the far end of the space, separated by a black steel framed glass facade that mimics the aesthetic of the original glass facade of the building, the bakery makes and bakes fresh bread and dough on a daily basis. The Deli and bakery are separated by glass doors to make the baking process 100% transparent. The walls of the bakery are finished with rectangular hand-moulded, shiny black tiles.

    The restaurant, a little oasis by itself, is located on the first floor. It is an internal space designed as an outside patio. The front of the kitchen is located in a custom-made ‘greenhouse’ at the heart of the space to strengthen the feel of an outside terrace. The greenhouse is enclosed in black steel that frames different types of glass, and mimics the aesthetic of the building’s original glass facade. To the left and right of the kitchen, there are several pairs of 4-metre benches that invite guests to have dinner at tables for two. If preferred, they can be combined to create one large communal table where people can enjoy their meal together. At either end, big fig trees are integrated into the benches to enhance the characteristic outdoor feel. To further strengthen this vibe, lantern-like outdoor lamps hang from wires that span across the restaurant and provide a playful touch.

    Opposite to the kitchen, the beverage station is located in a niche in the back wall of the restaurant. It has a little canopy and folds elegantly down from the wall in reference to the architecture of the Citroën building itself as well as the 1930s architecture which can still be found in Tel Aviv today. Next to the beverage station there are various round seating niches in the back wall that provide more intimate dining spots. The back wall itself is covered with floor-to-ceiling shutters, backlit to enhance the feeling of an Eastern Mediterranean patio. The floor in the restaurant is realised in anthracite cement.

    From the NENI restaurant, a wooden staircase leads to the mezzanine floor where the Lemonman Bar, the Yellow Room and the restrooms are located. The name of the bar derives from the last name of the great grandfather of Citroën’s founder: Roelof Limoenman, an Amsterdam-based seller of tropical fruit. His son later changed the name to Citroen which means ‘lemon’ in Dutch.

    Design: concrete
    Design Team: Rob Wagemans, Lisa Hassanzadeh, Pim Houben, Natalia Kozyra, Zana Josipovic, Femke Zumbrink, Stevie Wesdorp
    Photography: Wouter van der Sar