Atomium Restaurant, Brussels, Belgium, 2006

The Atomium is an internationally reknowned monument, originally built as a temporary structure for the 1958 Brussels Expo. It has remained and become a permanent attraction for tourists ever since. It was re-furbished by Conix Architects in 2006 and included a cafe` in the top sphere. The new tenants approached the same architects to upgrade the cafe` to a restaurant and their brief was to make the interiors more appealing, warmer in feel and quieter, which the previous fit-out lacked.

As part of the project team at Conix Architects in Brussels, Belgium, I proposed to use the main central steel column (lift shaft), as the heart of the servery and main feature of the interior. Timber paneling, a good acoustic insulator, was proposed to line the lower section of the column. Back-lit circular openings would become key to create a “glowing lantern” effect, for the display of food products and wine bottles.

The “saturn ring” suspended ceiling over the lower meals area would incorporate timber battens with acoustic backing to assist in noise absorption. The upper surface of the ring was lined with polished steel panels to create a mirror finish, thus rendering it “invisible” from the seating area above. I selected designer furniture and designed a range of black enameled plates with a fine white ring (to recall the saturn ring), as an elegant crockery item to complement the interior design.