What happens when a 189-year-old Brussels biscuit brand takes on an iconic retail location? You get the new Dandoy boutique in the Galerie du Roi, where heritage and modernity meet.     The Royal Galleries opened in 1847 and have remained one of the chicest retail locations in Belgium ever since. Surrounded by fellow Belgian heritage brands, a cinema, two theaters and classic restaurants, Dandoy now occupies a space that is such a natural fit, it feels like the store has been there since day one.   Despite the impressive location, the Dandoy owners wanted the store to feel accessible to everyone and be a place of connection, friendliness and warmth for all Brusseleirs and visitors. "Our goal is to make the customers feel at home", says Alexandre Helson, Chief Spectaculoos Officer of Dandoy. "First, we want to respect the history of the place, the building and the neighborhood that we occupy. Then we insert our Dandoy spirit and visual identity to make it ours."   The graphic slab of recomposed marble that puts Dandoy's range of traditional biscuits on display, as well as a couple of ice cream flavors, cuts a striking figure against the backdrop of old wood cabinetry. A pharmacy and bookshop previously occupied the space and the original cabinets were gracefully repurposed as cookie displays and storage. The contrast of old world, regal architecture with contemporary touches like the custom printed fabric panels throughout the store, set the tone for a design that marries the old with the new.    With tropical florals and birds eating Dandoy biscuits all over the walls, you find yourself in an inviting and whimsical space that is chic and cozy at the same time. Dandoy, still owned and operated by the founding family, approaches retail with a long-haul view. If they invest in a space, a neighborhood and a community, they plan to stick around for at least 30 years. The BaseDesign Spatial Designer in charge of the project, Erwin De Muer, took this view to heart and struck a beautiful balance between tradition and modernity, taking Dandoy into the 21st century and beyond.    When Erwin designed the space, he imagined kids coming into the store today, with their parents or grandparents, and how they would return, 20 years later, with their own children. Celebrating Dandoy's history and creating new memories for the future, that is what this store is about.   Traditional production methods, so important in the making of Dandoy's biscuits, are present everywhere in the store. Whenever possible, Erwin worked with Brussels based designers and artisans. The window logos and lettering are gold-plated and applied by hand by Kevin Cocquio of Club Lettreurs. The aforementioned tropical fabric, designed by textile designer Christoph Hefti, was printed in Italy and stretched on the wall panels in an old school upholstery technique. A brass birdcage chandelier was designed by Erwin and produced by Portugese craftsmen.  Lighting designer Nathalie Dewez, also Brussels based, adapted an existing overhead fixture of hers to resemble the signature large golden dots, found on all Dandoy packaging.   Dandoy operates ten boutiques, three of which have been designed by BaseDesign. Each location serves a different community and reflects a different stage in the history of Dandoy. The mothership is rue au Beurre, open since 1859 and the original production site of all things Dandoy. With production now off-site on the outskirts of the city, the rue au Beurre shop is a testament of artisanal production and a mainstay in the mind of every Brusseleir. The recently opened Antwerp location, the first Dandoy boutique outside Brussels, started from a blank slate and feels more minimal. Thanks to the signature marble counter, the giant gold-dot light fixtures and the BaseDesign Dandoy branding and package design, you instantly feel the playful Dandoy spirit in any location, whether it opened in 1859, 1971 or 2018.   Erwin De Muer is not a trained architect and has a down-to-earth attitude about his craft, which he thinks should simply serve the brand. Physical spaces are another tool to tell a brand's story, in addition to webdesign, packaging or copy writing. "It's about smelling the cookies when you enter. Hearing the music. Taking in the different elements of the space. Creating new memories. It's the human touch. You don't get that on a website." This is where experience and spatial design come in.   Bringing outer-borough Brusseleirs back into the center and reviving the heart of the city, that is a shared ambition of Dandoy and BaseDesign. Being the last remaining family operated biscuit makers in the country, Alexandre and his kin feel a responsibility to their city and intend to use their brand's strength as a magnet to bring other independent businesses back into the center. "It is a long game and I know that in the beginning we will see more tourists than Bruxellois, but in five years from now, I hope that the renewal of downtown Brussels will be an irreversible reality."   Happy to have saved the bones of the store's historical interior for future generations, Erwin and Alexandre applied for and were granted historical landmark protection by Monuments et Sites. What better way to ensure a legacy and show commitment to a place?   For more information contact ....