Retail Watch: Hospital Needs No Doctors

What with the credit crunch and the perpetual fear of unemployment, shopping has become one of the last avenues of escapism. But Antwerp’s Hospital—Belgium’s answer to Colette—defies such retail asceticism. Part concept, part hotel, part store, Hospital is the innovative brain child of Jeroen Smeekens.

With the help of Will Erena, from interior design office PureSang, Hospital opened its impressive doors last December to an audience of pleased guests. In a city known known as a shopping destination, Hospital holds nothing back, combining a planned resto-coffee bar and luxury bed and breakfast with a muti-split levelled retail space (which uses materials such as polished metals, tropical woods and exposed brick walls). Once a stables complex, the building is split up and divided into levels to increase the retail space from 800-square-meters to 1,200. Dramatic lighting hones in on selected parts of the space and multimedia effects bring added visuals to the space.

Hospital as a destination spectacle to enjoy. Beyond the amenities and aesthetic design, it also includes an open top vintage Mercedes Benz, chesterfield chaise lounge and oversized bonsai for visitors to enjoy.

—Retna Wooller