How Vincent Van Duysen of 'The Apartment' (Graanmarkt 13) created a fantastic concept.
Graanmarkt 13 as good as needs no introduction to lovers of refined vegetarian cuisine, or fans of the better class of concept stores. The fact of the matter being that the imposing, traditional town house is not only home to Jan Keuppens’ kitchen, but also billets a concept store with exclusive fashion and designer brands, along with space for exhibitions. Located in the historical town centre of the ‘city of biscuits’, Graanmarkt 13 has a number of attractions nearby to add to its appeal: the property is situated at Graanmarkt which has its own weekly outdoor market events, sits next to the majestic Bourla Theatre and is a mere stone’s throw from the Meir.
The Apartment Project at Graanmarkt 13
Something which Tim & Ilse, who set up Graanmarkt 13, were well wise to. And which prompted them to seize the opportunity to further expand their concept with an apartment that offers hotel quality service. ‘The Apartment’ project is situated on the top floor of the property and is a luxury residence that is available for short as well as long-term stays. The renovations were handled by famed Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen.
The top floor, which is designed around an open fireplace, combines a sitting area, an open kitchen and a dining area. Courtesy of a series of panoramic windows, the living room looks out across the large terrace overlooking the tree tops and the city.
From the roof terrace towards the rear, the residents have a clear view of Graanmarkt. Tim and Ilse describe The Apartment as a home away from home; a luxury hideaway where people feel at home right away.
Vincent Van Duysen’s mark on The Apartment
Seen from the outside, the Graanmarkt 13 property looks like a genuine ‘home’. With a typical whitewashed facade, three floors and broad coach doors, this is a Neo-Classicist gem that was originally built in the 18th century. An element which was factored in when renovating and redesigning The Apartment, with a view to retaining the tranquil, homely vibe. Architect Vincent Van Duysen designed the various open spaces with sleek lines without compromising on the snug warmth.
As the building’s authenticity was the constant central concern, Van Duysen used a lot of refined, traditional materials.
By the same token, he also introduced more raw, tactile and durable elements in the home interior such as wood, metal, hammered glass and concrete. For instance, the large staircase in exposed concrete establishes a vertical connection between the different floors. In doing so, the architectural qualities of the building were observed, albeit with a foot inside the door of modernity.
The incidence of natural daylight through large windows, combined with the soft materials used in the interior spaces, acts to create a soothing, open setting.
Everything at Graanmarkt 13, which obviously also extends to include The Apartment, conveys a sense of beauty, tranquillity and authenticity.
In this respect, both the founders and architect Vincent van Duysen are great believers in the supporting role of craftsmanship and sustainability. Which is why – so as to tie everything together and to enable the property to stand out and shine through its details – they decided on Dauby door, window and furniture fittings.
For starters, they went for the BT254 furniture knob from the CDF collection. This collection is all about time-honoured, original models whereby the iron is cast into sand moulds using the authentic, traditional process. BT254 is a nostalgic model that oozes romanticism, yet is a perfect fit in a modern home interior such as that of The Apartment. Moreover, it also matches the warm wood varieties of the home interior.
The Ph1928-50F door handle model in VO, from the Pure® collection, also complements the interior with its round and straight lines, inspired by a design from German Bauhaus architect Wilhelm Wagenfeld. It is an ageless, sleek and modern design, in black. The solid metal of the aged iron is wholly in keeping with the sustainability philosophy and seamlessly ties in with the interior that is focused around texture and form.