This building that stands on Rotterdam’s Keileweg has a very fruitful history, and anything that was to set ground within its walls, had to be bold and imaginative to pay tribute.

In the hundred years since it was built, it functioned as an office building, an erotic plaza , in the times when the Keileweg was an infamous sex working area, and over the past few years it functioned as a shisha lounge.

The Building has an eventful former life, and you can feel the energy of those who roamed these rooms before, and the stories that flow through the walls. Now as we form BITTER, you can see details in the design and menu, that take this history into thought and celebrate it.


Profile photo Gido Cuppens

Gido Cuppens

As an artist, exhibition builder and designer, Gido has always been interested in the influence of his surroundings. Especially the elements in his surroundings that are often taken for granted. He believes we should question them more, and even sometimes rebel against them. Gido questions the norms, and in his design work within Bitter, he gets you to question ‘What is a wall, pillar or table?’. Elements of the design were crafted through ongoing dialogue within a group of friends, and the characteristic space of Bitter was formed.

‘There was endless ground for inspiration when we entered this ever surprising building, eclectic in it’s layered construction, which was visible everywhere. The overall design style of Bitter is hard to label, and I think that is spot on for this restaurant; a place to visit not only for comfort, but to be challenged and surprised’

Profile photo Stijn van Aardennen

Stijn van Aardennen

Our design mind, dealing in shapes, materials, and creating the overall mood of Bitter, we have Stijn. His designs are mostly driven by an interchangeable set of rules that are set up digitally and often originating from natural phenomenon. His life size 3D printer can spin out almost anything that he imagines, and our bar front as one result , was printed from a batch of plastics, recycled from old refrigerators.

Stijn imagined the overall design drawing inspiration from the fact that the building was once a brothel, and this brought both freedom and direction, to create something beautiful that still remains somewhat seedy.

On some days Stijn finds most enjoyment in solving a technical / production issue, and others he is happiest experiencing his finished work, seeing people’s reactions, and having discussions about it. His studio sits somewhere in the building above Bitter, so maybe you’ll catch him one day for a discussion over a wine.