© Space Copenhagen / Photography: Peter Paul de Meijer

Following the opening of The Jane, a plush Michelin-starred diner on the outskirts of Antwerp and the more informal Frites Atelier, Dutch-born chef Sergio Herman plants a flag in the heart of the city. Interestingly, Herman has partnered with Verso, an upscale local retailer and longtime supplier of high-end men’s fashion, for this venture and secured a location smack in the middle of the city’s shopping district. Sitting on the lofty ground floor of a 1960s modernist structure – mind you, it’s also right next to the aforementioned men’s store – the Le Pristine restaurant and café occupies an elongated 445 sqm. (4,790 sq.ft.) space and features an interior design by Danish design practice Space Copenhagen. Taking cues from both Antwerp‘s richly layered cultural history and its physical location, the chosen aesthetic is eclectic and evocative, referencing the colour palette of old Flemish masters, the 17th-century courtyard of the adjacent boutique which also opens towards Le Pristine, and includes a number of striking commissioned works by renowned Dutch designers. Upon entering, guests find themselves in the café section which features a traditional wood-fire oven, adding an artisanal touch to an otherwise contemporary setting which sees stone flooring paired with oak joinery and industrial steel beams and concrete.

What comes next is a contrasting section anchored by a custom-made elongated bar crafted from translucent pink resin by Sabine Marcelis, and it obviously comes with a specially designed light object. And speaking of commissioned pieces, the premises are dotted with stellar pieces, such as Maarten Baas and Bertjan Pot‘s reception desk covered in flashy bulbs and the three melted disco balls by design collective Rotganzen. The main dining section has an intimate atmosphere despite having soaring ceilings, and it’s furnished with bespoke tables and seating by bespoke Space Copenhagen and Danish furniture brand Fredericia. Belgian linen tablecloths and napkins, designed by concept studio SH19 and manufactured by Flemish company Verilin, tie in local tradition and add a medieval touch to the diverse materiality of the design. Le Pristine features two courtyards—as said, one connects with the affiliated fashion boutique, and the other sees a specially selected 10-metre tree installed and a pile of firewood used for the ovens inside the restaurant. The cuisine at Le Pristine is inspired by Herman’s native Zeeland, a southwestern province in the Netherlands, paired with unmistakeable Italian flavours.

Le Pristine
Lange Gasthuisstraat 13
2000 Antwerp
Telephone: +32 2 3763376
Tue-Sat 12PM-2PM / 6PM-9PM (restaurant)
Tue-Sat 12PM-12.30AM (café)

© Space Copenhagen / Photography: Peter Paul de Meijer