The old-world charm of this 19th century Brussels residence speaks the language of both past and present; where modern minimalism and classism come to play house.
“When I discover a work of art, I’m interested by its deeper levels of interpretation.” explains Architect Olivier Dwek. In this case, the work of art became the layered architecture of a rare three storey townhouse in Brussels. Designed in 1907, the residence revealed several historic periods that have been lovingly restored back to harmony.
Dwek’s attention to detail, restrained decoration and deep respect for the existing architecture, meant the quiet authority of the G House family residence retained its classical elements. Detailed fireplaces, wide archways and curved windows have all been honored.
The building’s restored French limestone façade hints at the enormous volume of what lies inside. High ceilings and pitched roofs create rooms of monastic proportions, all linked by a central staircase. Extended upwards, its blackened wrought iron balustrade is an identical reproduction of the original staircase below it. An effect that has created a seamless continuation under an open skylight, allowing natural light to filter down.
Under the staircase, French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand’s Ombra Tokyo chair creates a striking combination against the black iron. Dwek isn’t one to shy away from injecting contemporary into classic. In fact, the transition between 19th century and present day is assured by several other icons of modernist design.
With a largely tonal palette, the soft forms of the building contrast dramatically with the angular, contemporary forms of furniture, including Pierre Jeanneret’s High Court Down sofa from the late 1950s. With its solid teak frame and white foal skin upholstery, it sits in unison with Perriand’s daybed. Jeanneret and his cousin Le Corbusier’s desk chair is another coveted design and invariably all three designers have been caught up in a modernist revival, with their furniture now fetching thousands.
Like other work from Olivier Dwek; history and nuanced modernism cohabit under one roof. It’s clear that Dwek is graced with creating a dialogue in aesthetic tensions, not to mention a beautiful knack for balancing the past with the present.
This feature was originally published in Issue 26 of Est Magazine. Read the full magazine here.
Modern minimalism and classism gently collide to create a unique beauty.