modijefsky studio unveils gitane in central amsterdam
From the immersive Booking.com site City campus interiors to the buzzing barsbistros, hotels and spas, Modevsky Studiogathered from hospitality The projects celebrate the art of creating memorable spaces full of colour, texture and tradition. The women-led architecture and interior design practice is based in central Amsterdam where its latest restaurant project, Gitane, debuted earlier this summer.
Gitane Restaurant was created for the famous young chef Angelo Kremmydas, whose meals present multicultural flavors without pretension, achieving an atmosphere of casual elegance, immersing visitors in warm woody tones, complex textures, and creative geometric shapes. The ground floor, mezzanine and bar make up the dining space, each catering to different moods and times of the day. Together, they welcome a drinking and dining atmosphere where everyone, from food connoisseurs to residents, will feel right at home. ‘Good spaces are great settings for new memories“, Studio Modijefsky founder Esther Stam shares a recent interview with Designboom, following the release of Gitane.
Gitan (2023), Amsterdam | All photos © Martin Willemstein
A wooden vestibule with stained glass leads visitors to the ground floor, where the double-height restaurant space reveals a large dark orange “BAR” neon sign above the entrance. The room features a mix of vintage and custom furniture and lighting, including antique café chairs, tall lamps, arched windows, leather barstools, and integrated terrazzo stools. Two steps below, the bar area has a herringbone terrazzo structure with pink accents reminiscent of the brick exterior. The bar contrasts with a tiled marble floor and dark brown mirror ceiling reflecting fields of light and carved band patterns below, capturing the play between strong weathered materials, fresh tiles and terrazzo.
Meanwhile, the mezzanine is connected to the ground floor through a geometric rattan ceiling pattern and an original wooden staircase. Studio Modijefsky decorated this level with a railing of metallic brown vertical elements along the edge, large windows, a service area, tables, benches, and a banquette, all with herringbone detailing. Finally, an outdoor terrace running along the facade invites you to gather around custom wooden benches under red and orange striped umbrellas.
List soothing design in Roma Easily reflect and encode Founder Esther Stam’s mission is to reinvent how people interact with interior design. Read on as Stam breaks down this mission in a recent conversation with designboom – discussing Studio Modijefsky’s approach to hospitality design, physical installations, heritage and locality, and much more.
Gitan (2023), Amsterdam: Restaurant by Chef Angelo Cremidas
Interview: Founder Esther Stamm talks about her hospitality concepts
designboom (DB): When was Studio Modijefsky founded, and what projects did you first start working on?
Esther Stam (ES): Studio Modijefsky was founded in 2009 by me, Esther Stam. When I first started, I worked on many things – from train station tunnels to custom furniture, from office spaces to festival stages. Some of the first hospitality projects I did were Visandishildi — A fish restaurant in South Amsterdam, in collaboration with Mel Studio And Peter de Gruyter – A local bar in Amsterdam West.
DB: How did you get into hospitality design? How has your style/approach to this sector evolved over the years?
S: I have always been fascinated by their hospitality. It is the environment that inspires me, nurtures me, and where people go to enjoy life, celebrate, share stories and create new ones. They are spaces where you can relax, enjoy different sights, experience new flavors and music, meet people, and have different interactions. Good spaces are great settings for new memories. Our approach has not fundamentally changed. We look at concept, context, history, light, architectural environment, spatial features, food to be served, drinks to be poured, people to visit, music to be played, graphic identity, natural surroundings, local traditions and materials… There is considerable research leading to a strong and unique design language that is special On-site and tailor-made. We improve our research and design methods. Our knowledge of materials continues to grow, as well as our network of professionals, artisans and people we collaborate with, making our designs even more unique and refined.
Gitan (2023), Amsterdam: Creating Informal Elegance
DB: Dig deeper into your approach—each of your projects radiates color, layering, and textural richness. What emotional responses or impressions would you like to convey through your compositions?
S: We approach every project with an open mind and without any preconceptions. Yet again and again we gravitate toward the same things: authenticity, craftsmanship, patterns found in nature, dull finishes, worn materials, daylight moving through space, unique architectural features, local traditions – and menus. We love long lists. We’re not drawn to all of these because they’re visually appealing but because they evoke an emotional response that an original finish simply couldn’t. The wrinkled and distressed surface intrigues us and invites us to touch it. The shape of the table legs indicates a chapter in the history of that building. Lighting subconsciously directs you to that part of the space where you did not know you wanted to be.
We evoke these physical and emotional responses through stories rooted in the building site. The first step is to delve into the building’s origins, architecture, and past uses. These form the seeds of the concept, the beginning of the story. To bring these stories to life, we use six tools: materials, volumes, light, color, textures, and shapes. Each tool provides multiple design possibilities on its own, but only when the tools are applied together do they achieve their full potential. For example, how we see, feel and appreciate colours, shapes and materials depends on the light and textures we add for texture. The scale of space and the size and shape of the objects we fill with interactions incite and transform static interiors into exciting adventures. The combination of our tools enables us to translate the data behind our concept into something more poetic: the next chapter in the site’s story.