Townhouse Sestig

  • Glenn Sestig
  • Travertine
  • Raoul Van Houtte
  • Brazilian Syra
Although little to nothing remained of Raoul Van Houtte’s architecture from the thirties, architect Glenn Sestig restored to that era’s imagery for the design of his showroom house. The façade’s plaster, which was completely restored, determined the subdued range of colours of the corner building’s interior. The low windows and the living room’s sizable fireplace, highlighted by the natural-stone mantel, bear witness to the original stern architecture. Late Art Deco, which grew more stately and rigid as the Second World War drew near, is definitely a period that inspires Sestig.

Designers such as Paul Dupré-Lafon, Emile Ruhlmann, Jean-Michel Frank, or Jean Dunand employed a totalitarian approach that could be applied on any scale: from doorknobs to room dividers, from furniture to complete homes. Sestig’s architecture, too, illustrates his ideas about geometry, proportions, and materialisations at both the micro and macro levels. In this building the architect completely discarded the original distribution. Instead of having a succession of separate rooms, he delineated the functional areas using material-based transitions. The circulation areas are clad with dark natural stone, and the landing zones -living room, dressing room, bedroom- have floors in tadelakt, which looks somewhat like a luxury rug.

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The house is relatively small, but Sestig’s strategically placed low mirror planes and lighted cabinet walls create extra depth. Columns, walking lines, and sight lines determine the flow in this building. Sliding doors in dark-tinted elm add a mysterious flair to the volumes. The monumental staircase, one of Sestig’s favourite themes, is conceived like a sculptural stack of natural stone blocks. It functions like a sort of vertical catwalk, its mirror walls subtly announcing the first floor. Like a fashion designer, Sestig dressed this cosmopolitan home, interpreting architecture like a kind of form-based haute couture, with contrasts between open and closed, subdued and pronounced, glossy and brute, minimalist and glamorous.

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