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Capital Kitchen

The bar at the new restaurant at cultural hub Capital C. Artist Joep van Lieshout created a sculpture on the theme of the human body that hangs above the bar.

The restaurant of the former diamond exchange is now a versatile venue

Project Capital Kitchen, Capital C
Art director Maarten Spruyt
Location Amsterdam
Photography Ewoud Huibrechts, Tiago Rosado

Meet the men behind Capital Kitchen, the restaurant of creative hub Capital C in Amsterdam. Founder Willem Sijthoff and art director Maarten Spruyt transformed the restaurant of the former diamond exchange into a versatile venue entirely devoted to the human body. Hans Lensvelt (CEO of Lensvelt) had a connecting role and provided special editions of the Maarten Baas chairs and bar stools,and supplied and developed custom tables.

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Maarten Spruyt, JW Kaldenbach, Willem Sijthoff and Hans Lensvelt

A creative hotspot

Media entrepreneur & founder of Capital C Willem Sijthoff and Hans Lensvelt have known each other for years. The two initially got to know each other through Sijthoff’s wife Machteld Vos, who interviewed Hans in 2005 while holding company in Shanghai. Hans has always had a high opinion of Sijthoff: “I appreciate him enormously as a person, as an entrepreneur and visionary, and as an art lover and Amsterdammer.” From the very first moment, Hans has contributed to Sijthoff’s ambition to build Amsterdam’s creative hotspot by being involved in the architect selection and the final interpretation of all spaces.

A connecting kitchen

From its opening 2 years ago, Capital C proved to be a creative gem that rents out co-working spaces, offices and event venues. Only the restaurant operated by a third party wasn’t in keeping with the overall identity. That’s why Sijthoff and his partners decided to renovate and manage the restaurant themselves. Sijthoff organized several ludic sessions with creatives such as Erik Kessels, Anne van der Zwaag and Hans Lensvelt, in which they searched together for a suitable approach and style for the new restaurant.

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Besides custom tables, chairs and bar stools by Maarten Baas, the restaurant includes neutral-colored sofas also manufactured by Lensvelt.

Now there is more room for works of art that can convey the message.

Two of the eight distinct forms of the backrest that are typical of the Maarten Baas chair.

Artist Van Lieshout created a work of art that initially had to be able to pour drinks

Edgy and evocative

Hans remembers it well, “I thought the restaurant should be distinctive and unique, not something built in the prevailing trend. It had to be timeless, functional and edgy.” In the middle of the search for someone who could put down a concept that also evoked emotions and addressed social issues, the thought of Maarten Spruyt gave him the Eureka moment. About Hans’ proposal to ask Spruyt to carry out the assignment, Willem Sijthoff said afterwards: “And that Hans would come up with that.... I could have thought of that myself, couldn’t I?”

Stylistic vision

That Hans thought of Maarten Spruyt for the restyling of Capital C was no coincidence, given that the connection between the two also goes way back. Spruyt put together an impressive installation in Milan during Milan Design Week 2018 initiated by cultural entrepreneur Anne van der Zwaag for Lensvelt.  About Spruyt as a person, Hans has high praise: “I have a special appreciation for Maarten. He’s an authentic spirit, both engaging, social and refreshing. ”As an internationally acclaimed art director, stylist and curator, Spruyt has already worked for museums such as the HEM in Zaandam and the Art Museum in The Hague, and brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and G-Star. 

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The human body theme

As the designated designer for Capital C’s restaurant, Spruyt set to work from the following approach: “Give me something and I’ll spin a world around it. I’m not a designer, but I step into something from a stylistic point of view,” says Spruyt. Not wanting to create yet another trendy restaurant, he chose to approach the concept based on the human body. From the belief that it’s time to look at things more closely and be more transparent towards food, he had the restaurant stripped down to bare basics. “Now there is more room for works of art that can convey this message,” says Spruyt. In six weeks, an environment was created that he proudly calls “a good foundation to move forward with, and a layered whole that exudes tranquility.” 

Organic art

Capital Kitchen features exclusively designed tables by Tiago Rosado with organically shaped legs and prints with microscopic images of human organisms, developed by Lensvelt. The human element is further reflected in the variety of art and design objects by leading artists such as Jan Eric Visser, Maria Roosen and Joep van Lieshout, who created an exclusive piece for above the bar.

The concept is based on the human body.

The table tops are decorated with enlarged microscopic images of human organisms

A detail of another human organism

All furniture is finished in customized colors

Spruyt applied a subtle color scheme

Beautiful cement columns are now visible

The human element is further reflected in the variety of art

Capital Kitchen features exclusively designed tables by Tiago Rosado