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studio Barbara Vos en studio TILIA transform The Hagues’ concert hall into its public living room.

After forty years, in the summer of 2012 the famous concert hall, ‘Het Paard van Troje’ (the Trojan Horse) was thoroughly refurbished. The duo from The Hague, studio BARBARA VOS and studio TILIA were appointed to transform the foyer of the concert hall into the public living room of the city. The design, typified as ‘raw glistening’ adheres to the changing needs of concert going public; a night out does not only needs to be a grand event but also an intimate and personal one.

Ever since the last refurbishment ten years ago ‘Het Paard van Troje’ has become a significant concert hall in the Netherlands and abroad. It’s maze of corridors, stairs and halls were redesigned by OMA Rem Koolhaas. The last ten years visitors’ needs have changed, adding to the clients’ wish to create a comfortable bar and seating area in which people can have a quiet drink or a small snack next to the two existing stages. Celebrating its forty year history ‘Het Paard van Troje’ has been significantly refurbished in the summer of 2012.

The present day also calls for alternative ways of financing projects in the cultural sector. In the spring of 2012 ‘Het Paard van Troje’ was offered for sale in a special way. Part of the costs for the refurbishment has been covered by crowdfunding. Through buying a share the public could not only participate in the refurbishment but could also permanently become part of that refurbishment in the form of their name prominently shown on glass. The famous band from The Hague, DI-RECT, has acquired the complete smoking-room in this way.

The designs biggest asset is its use of industrial materials combined with its simple appearance. Strong elements of the original design have been cleverly accentuated to better experience its robust spatial character. The concrete construction has been painted in a light colour, non load bearing walls were clad in untreated birchwood with the floor being poured in a rough brown composite. The intimate living room character of the bar and smoking room, contrasts with the robust atmosphere of the rest of the foyer through the use of smoked oak floorboards. Large yellow painted springs stand out while carrying the small stage. Cables have all been directed over the rough and weathered walls while floodlight brings out its character and shows the history of the building, applied Led-lighting can be changed according to the nights’ atmosphere. In this way the small stage appears to be floating in space. Together with the enlarged void over the entrance this creates a spatial character while looking up as you arrive.

The underside of the small hall appears as the hull of a ship while it is clad in thin metal perforated sheets that also serve an acoustic purpose. All service points, clad in brushed oak panels have recessed lettering showcasing their function while floodlight brings out its character and enhances readability. The glass wall separating the bar from the foyer contains all the names of the sponsors. The glass walls of the smoking room are adorned with lyrics from the band DI-RECT. In contrast with the rough walls and steel ceiling comfortable oak-wood benches have been designed as seating arrangement. Air climatisation machinery has all been integrated within these benches hiding them from sight. Antique stadion lights and theatre spots provide functional lighting needed in specific areas. The new layout, solid use of materials and spatial lighting has transformed the foyer into a comfortable lounge. “‘Het Paard van Troje’ has grown up”! commented a regular visitor of the concert hall, The Hague can be proud of its new public living room.
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