HIP STUDIO ADDS A TOUCH OF GLAMOUR
TO RENEWED RON GASTROBAR IN AMSTERDAM
I meet Maxine and Wim Hoopman of HIP Studio at an ideal ‘cappuccino moment’
at Ron Gastrobar in Amsterdam. Always a nice place to settle down, at any time.
Likewise on this morning, when it is snowing outside (how beautiful is Amsterdam when it snows!)
And the radio is louder than average…. labor vitamins, I guess. A little later, the star chef himself enters.
Sharp as he is, he immediately arranges that the just delivered boxes of coffee
are brought out of sight and that the music is turned down low. When he sits down,
he asks me the first question: “So, what do you think of my renewed place?”
Low threshold luxury
When Ron Blaauw announced in 2013 that he would close his eponymous star restaurant and opened a new, back-to-basic restaurant called Ron Gastrobar, it caused quite some commotion. Unexpectedly and unintentionally, he immediately got another Michelin star and soon Ron Gastrobar grew into a household name.
Recently, he decided to renew the place. “This concept and location lends itself well to a timeless, luxurious and international setting with a certain low threshold. In the restaurant section I wanted linen back on the tables, on the elevation a mix of chic and informal and at the bar a combination of low and high.”
When it comes to interior concepts, Ron Blaauw has been working with HIP Studio since the opening of his very first restaurant. “There is a good chemistry between Wim, Maxine and myself. We understand each other. If I want to change, we always start immediately. I come up with some input and inspiration from out my travels, make them part of my vision. We often visit inspiring places together, but also go on separate paths. After that we gather again, exchange findings and thoughts, discuss even more and shortly thereafter HIP Studio translates it all into a concept that appeals to me 9 out of 10 times.
I also fully trust that it works well in the implementation. To give an example: one day before the opening of Nacarat, I came back from vacation. If I had wanted to change something, there was hardly any time left. But when I stepped in, I immediately got a ‘wow feeling’. I expect that and that’s what I get.”
A bit naughty
For the transformation, Ron Blaauw found his inspiration in New York, among other places. A good example is the typical metal entrance door to the bar, which HIP Studio designed and gave a brass finish. However, the starting point of the make over was the Cobra artwork that is now hanging on the wall. “When we saw this art piece, we immediately knew that this should be the basis of ‘Ron Gastrobar 2.0’. A bit naughty, Moulin Rouge, but still classy.”
Those bold elements, and the red tones of the artwork, were translated into velvet-lined couches. The touch of luxury was continued with brass details in the wall panels, skirting boards and lighting. In addition, the green marble of the bar and tables creates a timeless, cosmopolitan look. The semicircular seats on the street side are covered with a golden yellow fabric and the hanging lamps come from a young top designer from London.
To a higher level
In recent years, we have seen Ron Blaauw both close and open restaurants. I therefore can imagine that working with him feels like a rollercoaster. “In a way, yes, but we ourselves are also very energetic, used to dynamism and able to switch quickly or adjust. For example, three days before the re-opening of this location, we found something was missing in the interior. On the spot, we thought that the window frames should have a dark color on the inside. Such things happen more often. Then we contact Ron and if he is convinced that we are convinced, we do it. In this case, we immediately arranged a painter and it was ready on time. We like to go the extra mile for a top result.
Surely, we have our discussions as well. We are not top chefs and Ron is not an interior designer. But we both accept ‘no’ from each other. It is precisely that rebellious, that stubbornness, that brings us all to a higher level.”
It was fun
When I ask Ron about his ambitions for the future, he first shrugs. “I’m actually very happy with what I’ve accomplished up until now. Ron Gastrobar is a great concept, which I can always give a new creative impulse. I managed to get rid of the stinginess of starry cooking in a stylish way without sacrificing quality. I want to continue cooking for people who just want to eat well. The biggest compliment you can give me is that it was fun. Moreover, I come from Amsterdam. Of course I have thought about a Gastrobar abroad, but I’m really enjoying it here in my hometown.”
Well, I had fun as well and directly made reservations for diner later this month. Would you also like to have fun at a somewhat higher level? Check the site!