You can see the kitchen island as a kind of ‘architectural plate tectonics’. It's as if you're in the stone quarry cooking amidst newly mined marble blocks. Dirand sets the bar high in this bold balancing act. The counter has a dizzyingly long cantilever, like the monumental awning of a stunt building. The eating area is seemingly kept in balance by a massive slab of marble that has a sink recessed into it. Functionality is not the prime concern here. The aesthetics are the result of microarchitecture and engineering.Reconstruction was not only impossible, but also undesirable: the building was on the heritage list, but it was not protected. Deboel marinated the Art Deco in a contemporary sauce. The classic radiator covers were replaced by wickerwork wainscoting. The concrete finishing on the facade was reinterpreted into rough limestone on the inside. An effort was made to respect the volumes and proportions drawn by Henry van de Velde, while at the same time updating the interior in an original way. This was sometimes done subtly, like with the black wainscoting, something typical of graphic Art Deco, and sometimes very expressively, like with the blue-lacquered bar trimmed with green marble. A new chapter has been written into doctor Martens’ book. One that respects the place’s narrative.
If architecture were a kind of Tetris, Cubyc would be the champion. The architecture firm from Bruges assembled a villa in Keerbergen as if it were a stack of beams and blocks. Cubyc deftly builds tension: as you drive up to the house, you notice that the front is totally closed. Only a black garage space and a faceted window above the front door have been surgically cut out of the mysterious white volume.
Ask the architect duo Tom De Meester and Tine Vliegen what they think is the most beautiful application of natural stone in the world and their answer is guaranteed to be Mies van der Rohe's onyx wall in Villa Tugendhat. This hanging cabinet in Verde Patricia marble, however, comes in a very close second.