La Cubanita

 
© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

Kortrijk’s nightlife mainly takes place in the old city centre. La Bodeguita Del Medio knew how to survive through the years, being one of the few bars in the neighbourhood keeping a constant popularity. The extension, baptized La Cubanita, helps to continue the momentum. La Cubanita is conceived as a box inside a box which turns a leftover space into a new part of the palimpsest, completely isolated, physically, aesthetically and acoustically, from its surroundings.

 
 
© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

As soon as visitors enter the new extension, the colours, music and interior decoration will immerse them in an exotic ambiance. Embraced by the elevated balcony, the smooth bamboo floor invites to dance.

 
 
© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

Here a central staircase curves the climb to the first floor which offers a more relaxed atmosphere with various seating arrangements. A circular opening in the ceiling forms a big concrete monolith out of the structural slab. The circle redefines the irregular plot – it is introduced as a universal and timeless gesture of people gathering around a central space.

 
 
© johnny umans

© johnny umans

 
 

La Cubanita turns an urban insula into a vibrant, other-worldly destination, fusing together the Eastern heritage of the owners and the Cuban theme of the bar. Asian neon lights, sleek bamboo floors and exotic Latin American colours create a juncture reflected in the multicultural atmosphere of the venue.

 
 
© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

The open ground floor plan facilitates an array of programs: dancing classes, movie nights, workshops, private parties and seminars, all enhancing the versatility of the space. On the upper floor, a cascade of translucent tubes form flexible walls, dispersing the light and nurturing different spatial configurations. They invite guests to define the space as desired, offering the freedom of accommodation – in respect of sizes, functions and needs.

 
 
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© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

Not only does this waterfall provide privacy, it also encourages interactions through its fluidity. To conclude, the 10m high roof is punctured with two skylights, flooding the enclosed space with natural light and animating the dance floor with a view towards the starry night sky.

 
 
© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

La Cubanita is like an isolated island in an urban block, condensing interaction into one place. Being a beacon of social inclusion of all communities in the small city of Kortrijk and its surrounding areas, it brings people together to celebrate a culture unknown, fusing together the Eastern heritage of the owners and the Latin American theme of the bar.  

 
 
© frans parthesius

© frans parthesius

 
 

project: la cubanita

team: de baes 

location: kortrijk, Belgium

status: built

year: 2018

program: bar & event space

photography: © johnny umans & © frans parthesius