Hotel La Grande Cloche

Concept, branding & architectural creative direction for a historical hotel in central Brussels

Sector — Retail & Hospitality

Built in the 19th century, La Grande Cloche is the Brussels oldest hotel still operating. In 2019, the new owners decided it needed a fresh new approach and therefore a massive refurbishment. We helped them by creating an authentic and surrealist experience.

Creating a new vibrant location for everyone.

Owners of multiple locations in Brussels in the hotel and catering industry, the group of entrepreneurs was looking for a team that could give a different approach to a place that for them was already different. Dating back to 1840, the Hotel La Grande Cloche is currently the oldest hotel in Brussels.

We wanted, through this hotel, to represent a concentrate of Brussels. Not the touristy Brussels, but our own more contrasted Brussels. A place referring to local cafes, Brutalist architecture, and offbeat imagination.

The creation of a concentrate of Brussels.

Our conceptual work is nourished by the richness of Brussels culture where humor, disassembled urbanism and cultural mixing represent our identity.

Multiple moodboards and architectural drafts have been created to symbolize the hotel creative approach: a representation of Brussels as a creative and ethnic hub.

A visual identity: perpetual nonsense.

In terms of narrative identity, we have developed an unbranded identity. Made up of a collection of logotypes, Brussels language and atypical humor, the hotel represents what Brussels does best: perpetual nonsense.

The architecture of the hotel offers a range of styles that define Brussels today: Brutalism and “wasteland-architecture”, Art Deco and Classic style, Antiques and Ethnic influences.

Wasteland as architectural structure

The goal was above all to preserve the soul of the place, while freeing it from stylistic grafts from the past. Unveiling exposed brickwork, exposed pipes and original woodwork, the style of the common spaces is resolutely raw and unconventional. Coast teamed up with architect Malika de Hemptine to elaborate that architectural grid with different levels of perception : from raw to cozy.

The rooms are spacious and contain objects found in Belgium and abroad. The structural elements of the building have also been kept and not masked.

A global approach

To evoke Brussels and its Brussels residents, we have developed a set of graphic elements present in the bedrooms and living spaces. The room numbers refer to the tram lines in Brussels and their terminus, the graphic decorations are posters produced by our teams and represent our interpretation of Brussels.

The rooms are decorated with “Brussels-inspired-posters” : between surrealism and self-mockery.

La Grande Cloche is a unique spirit intended for a community inspired by the elements that surround them. We have also translated the authenticity of the place through elements of merchandising that are an integral part of the travel experience.

A spirit that can be brought home

A set of merchandising elements were first created to meet the needs of the hotel (soaps and mugs for rooms, tote bags and clothing for employees). These items are sold at the boutique / reception.

“Aleïop Das Proper” which means in Brussels dialect “There, its clean” is the name given to the shower gel. A mug and a set of clothes to the glory of Brussels are sold at the store.

Unique communications elements

The bedside tables are beer crates and can be purchased at the store. A small brochure was created to promote this decorative element that customers can buy at the store. This brochure shows through 10 illustrations what you can do with the table : from playing an intensive ping pong game to worshiping your favorite piece of art.

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