Nestled in Het Groen Kwarter (The Green Quarter), a pedestrian-only luxurious development of buildings, lies Vincent Van Duysen’s first hospitality project. Showcasing Flemish history and culture in the most elegant manner, the final concept used the area’s rich history and added a modern touch to create a knockout hotel in the heart of Antwerp.
Upon entering, guests are greeted with a view of the phenomenal bar, complete with a domed ceiling, original pilasters and platterned floor tiles and furnishings from Molteni&C, which Van Duysen is the creative director of. With the help of Ghent-based practice Wouter Callebaut Architecten, the original bones of this part of the hotel, which was a former military hospital, were preserved in an incredible restoration in order to maintain its monumental building status.
Redeveloped into a serene urban haven, the interior pays tribute to existing features and only elevates the timeless elegance exuded throughout. As Van Duysen notes, ‘the interior scheme nourishes the existing features, highlighting the grey-green timber paneling, the white mouldings, and so forth, reintegrating original elements and reproducing others that have been damaged or diminished, while selectively introducing black components to distinguish the contemporary from the classic.’ The result is a revival of the classic feel for a new public.
Accommodating 44 guest rooms, each room has been finished with white walls and olive-green detailing. Including lamps from the Italian brand Flos, the carefully selected decorations include handwoven rugs, a mixture of unique lights and marble finishes. Perfectly resonating with Van Duysen’s low-key and minimalist aesthetic, each room carries with it its own character.
Boasting its own restaurant, which is located in a brick corridor running parallel to the bar, the scene is set around seasonal dishes that are made with locally grown ingredients. A relaxed yet luxurious dining experience, guests can easily retreat to the grand bar for a post-dinner cocktail – creating a seamless flow of activity between the various zones of the hotel.
‘Interwoven amongst the architecture are the gardens, expertly designed by Martin Wirtz. These are lush in atmosphere, providing a veritable oasis of greenery in which visitors can immerse themselves.’ It’s hard to believe this is Van Duysen’s first hospitality project, and it’s safe to say he has executed it flawlessly. We can’t wait to see his future takes on the hospitality scene.
Photos by Robert Rieger