In architecture circles, the post-Covid generation will likely be known as the era of adaptive reuse. In cities everywhere, old corporate buildings are being repurposed to suit our new outlook – on space, beauty and the work-life balance. Even in Brussels, a city to which architects were particularly kind throughout the 20th century, millions of square feet, once treasured by titans of industry, are making the switch.
Interior architect Lionel Jadot is leading the charge with the ambitious transformation of Royale Belge, a Functionalist insurance office from 1970, built in the verdant Brussels suburb of Watermael-Boitsfort recently renovated by Caruso St John in collaboration with Bovenbouw Architectuur. No longer an office, the six-storey, 25,000-square-metre space now cleverly fuses co-working and wellness with cafés, live events, nightlife, long-term lets and a 180-room hotel – throwing one-off handcrafted art and design into the mix.
Opening on 23 June, it will be known, unsurprisingly, as Mix.
Jadot, who works out of the creative hive Zaventem Ateliers, rallied 52 troops for the interior overhaul. They worked in the manner of an old medieval craft guild, lending their skills to individual elements of the whole: burnished metallic walls, honed marble, bespoke lighting, and engraved hardware. In the guest rooms, hand-printed scrim curtains by Krjst Studio x Home Sails filter the sunlight, and custom lighting by Studio Elementaires floats above the parquet floors. The wellness centre is a medley of stone, concrete and ceramic tile in exciting configurations and textures. A feature wall in sinuous marble overlooks the 25-metre indoor pool. An outdoor pool sits within gardens on the eight-hectare property.
Every room has a view of the surrounding Sonian Forest – not least the elevated terraces facing every direction. But the highlights are found indoors, from the sculptural bronze reception desk by Maison Armand Jonckers to Roxane Lahidji‘s celestial salt lamps.
Mix will take nightly and monthly reservations.