The Experience Floor is a design-driven meeting, event and public space located at Hotel BLOOM in Brussels, Belgium. The space is designed to emphasize artistic inspiration and relaxation. Increasingly people are working remotely, so when companies or organizations meet in person, the experience calls for something very special. Hotel BLOOM! and its owners, Pandox, secured Virserius Studio to meld clever art and design to make meetings more productive. The opening of the space in Fall 2016 was important in many ways; it coincided with the hotel’s 10-year anniversary, and it also signalled faith and confidence in the resurgent Belgian hospitality industry, which took a hit after recent terror attacks.
The Experience Floor comprises two underground floors featuring relaxed meeting spaces equipped with the latest technology. The hotel was already noted as the first to incorporate art and design into its rooms, and Virserius Studio drew upon its extensive multidisciplinary experience to create meeting spaces that incorporated its signature playful aesthetic. Hotel BLOOM! and its owner/operators were very specific in their desire to have a unique and innovative space not previously seen before in Brussels. As such, they were very supportive of the design concepts presented by Virserius Studio, so much so that, based on these concepts alone, the hotel was able to begin selling space for meeting and events before the project formally began. Because of this, there were very tight deadlines to be met, so that the hotel did not lose sales that were particularly important during this uncertain time.
The two floors are large but also subterranean, so another challenge for this project was to make the spaces as bright and lively as possible. The floors are industrial, but the classic furniture pieces carefully placed throughout add warmth and comfort and encourage connection and collaboration. The idea was to make The Experience Floor a place where one could spend their day. Immediately off the elevator is a ping pong table inviting guests to play. The table has become very popular and is in frequent use by guests to unwind and engage in friendly competition. Another fun element incorporated was the hand-painted hopscotch on the floor of the pre-function area that is also mirrored on the ceiling above.
Art played an essential role in realizing The Experience Floor. Belgium has a long and storied history with comics, as the country responsible for such classics as The Adventures of TinTin and The Smurfs. Virserius Studio referenced that cartoon tradition and style with an eye to bring it to new generations. Together with lifestyle firm Imago Productions, V/S created a new set of illustrations, which can be found throughout The Experience Floor playfully engaging in activities relevant to the space – competing in ping pong, scaling new heights of creativity, relaxing, connecting with one another, planting the seeds of new ideas, jumping over hurdles to get from one place to another (here, the hurdles lead to the ballrooms).