Marina Bautier is a designer with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. This is clearly reflected in the building which houses both her store, studio and workshop, all under the same roof. A multi-functional building serving the different aspects of the Bautier brand, and notably a space that welcomes people to spend time and enjoy the setting.
Beginning of 2011, around the same time as the Bautier brand was being developed, Marina was searching for a new studio space in Brussels. After having spent a few years in a shared studio with other design colleagues, Marina was ready to find a place with enough square meters to host both a studio and workshop. Well located close to her home and next to a big green park area, Marina went to visit what previously had been a sculptor’s atelier. A big surface on two floors with a backyard area and lots of potential. Positioned in a quiet residential street, suitable for establishing a working space. During the visit, the building’s great capacity became even clearer, and Marina started imagining a showroom, a place for customers to step in and experience the furniture first hand.
The renovation project was carried out in several stages as everything had to be redone. The partition walls were taken down, leaving the main structure as a fresh canvas. Already existing features like the back garden and ceiling skylights were kept and refurbished. All window openings were originally there, just to be replaced with sizeable glass frames, letting in as much light as possible. The biggest intervention also became the most remarkable element in the now store, opening up from ground floor to first floor and casting a concrete staircase to connect the two levels.
In May 2013, the Bautier store opened. One third of the building dedicated to the public, the other two thirds fitted for studio and workshop. With a lot of room in the store, Marina decided to allocate the first floor to a communal space for people to gather. A long table with benches around became the ‘Vendredi’ setting and every last Friday of the month, Marina cooked a lunch for friends and customers to join. A pleasant and friendly environment, a place for people to meet and a way of bringing life into the new location.
Not only Friday lunches would gather people at Bautier, but also evening events like product releases and brand collaborations has made the building more dynamic. New ideas keep coming up and several projects are planned for the coming years. Where there used to be a garage downstairs, a corner café is now on its way. In the Bautier aesthetic, it feels like a natural extension of the store and hopefully in spring 2021, the café can welcome passersby and locals to sit down for a drink and a small bite.
With its spacious volumes and light interior, the Bautier space gives off a relaxed atmosphere. Plenty of books on design, architecture and food are also part of the inventory and at the very back, the green outdoor area is open for a rest or a read.