House Zomergem

  • Pascal Francois
  • Nero Dorato
  • Clyfford Still
  • Oak
Could it be that nature is a talented artist? Is it a coincidence that we ascribe artistic value to the swirls and veins in marble? Indeed, they sometimes remind us of calligraphy, colour field painting, or abstract expressionism. Like this polished Nero Dorato—say, the Clyfford Still of marbles. Its composition of white and orange veins is so graphic that this natural stone can only function well in a neutral context. Like a solitary Rothko set against a while museum wall.

Architect Pascal François used the Nero dorato to make a sleek composition. The black laminate flooring and white cupboards divert all attention to the extrovert kitchen worktop and splashback. For the kitchen cabinet fronts François sought another type of expressive material, one that would interpret this graphic inspiration a different way, but without stealing the limelight. His eyes fell on the multiplex saw table tops that are used in natural stone firms. Through intensive use, these wooden table tops end up full of grooves. When many such table tops are brought together, their grooves just happen to look like an abstract composition by, for instance, Dan Van Severen or Mondriaan.

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In order to make kitchen fronts, though, François needed a nobler type of wood, not those everyday throwaway multiplex boards. So, he chose a rich birch triplex and used it as the top material on saw tables for weeks. Only when their groove patterns were sufficiently graphic did François’s carpenter use the boards to make the upper and lower cabinet fronts, which serve as graphic baseboards and friezes in this iconic kitchen.

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