INTERIOR DESIGN TRANSFORMATION OF THE BEAUTIFUL DUPLEX PENTHOUSE APARTMENT IN THE CENTER OF BRUSSELS

 

The Project

Krzysztof and Rui reached out to us with a simple and understandable request: they, like many of our customers, bought a new apartment in Brussels, Belgium, and would like professional help to create their perfect environment. Then, so many questions popped up into their heads: How to create a cosy home to be distracted from the rainy weather (very usual wish in Brussels)? Where to find high-quality, non-conventional materials and furniture pieces? How to fit this in an appropriate budget?

Living room


The old Ikea furniture was left with a rented apartment but they didn’t feel confident on making furniture acquisitions independently without professional advice as they are not familiar with other brands that have amazing quality and are durable.

What is a most frightening idea or even step for today’s consumers? 

We know by fact that the choice of accessories and furniture is very large and the prices may vary by thousands of euros. How not to be mistaken with the choice of colour and size when having so many options? Where to buy good value? And what are the delivery times? And most importantly, the choice of all this requires time, and, the ability to create the atmosphere that will display your personality and improve your quality of your life.

The Client

 

Krzysztof and Rui, both are civil servants. In their free time, they love to travel, spend time with friends, discover new cultures and food-related places in Brussels as well as watching movies. For their new home, they wanted it to be functional, welcoming for their guests and having the cosy feel while at the same time offering modern and minimalist interior. They turned to us after seeing our work on social media. They were drawn to us thanks to our attention to detail and the fact that each of our projects is always different to each other plus reflect the client’s personality!

 
 

So, do we as designers determine the main idea for your future interior? And what difficulties can the designer face while working on a design project remotely? Is there a risk for the customer to remain unnoticed?

 

Our work process

 

At the first stage of the project, we asked our clients for basic documents that allow us to get acquainted with their living space(s), their everyday lifestyle and with their wishes for their future interior.

Documents that were provided by our customers:

We defined the project area with our client, here we had the kitchen and living/dining room areas to improve. Then, we studied the examples and the budget that we have to work with. An important factor in the development of this project was that the customers not only wanted to change the furniture but were also ready for more serious works, which involved the demolition of one wall and the replacement of the staircase. Given the small living space of 36 m² composed of the kitchen and the living area, an important principle was also to place as many hidden shelves for storing different items of their everyday life as possible, plus, they wanted an open but functional kitchen as well as the ability to receive a large number of guests. Taking in to account the facts that our customers are over 30, they have visited many places and they aren’t indifferent to good design. Therefore, we very quickly identified the main ideological line to create an interior that completely reflects their individuality and lifestyle.

 

Is this enough to develop a design project?

Well, YES! The concept of remote work, without meeting individual at their homes, became possible when certain criteria are met and new technologies are used. Given that we immediately create a virtual 3D model of your apartment as well as getting your address and photos, at once, we can determine the context and lighting in the apartment. Accordingly, the need to visit your living space immediately disappears. This greatly saves not only a lot of time as well as your, the customer’s, money.
Regarding the main problem that we can face during the project: a badly formulated “customer needs” along with the uncertainty on the budget for furniture and accessories. That is why without having received this information, we cannot proceed to the beginning of the project. We will insist on the fact that our customer needs to make a decision so that, as closely as possible we will approach and solve your interior design problems with  taste and your wishes.

 

So, we began to develop a solution where the main character was the staircase. The atmosphere was born under the influence of the Scandinavian style and based on our main element.What are the main elements in the Scandinavian interior: simplicity and concise use of living space. These are small light interiors with a large use of light wood along with many different textures and ornaments complementing each other. Today, there are a lot of Scandinavian furniture and accessories brands, such as Ikea to more expensive yet affordable brands like Boconcept, Hay, Muuto, By Lassen, etc…

 

 

 First Sketch

Immediately in the first sketch, we proposed to replace the existing parquet with light oak. This helps us also to not divide the different surfaces between the kitchen and the living room, thus, to give the idea of continuity in the space beyond the main residential zones.

 

Professional advice

If you want to use parquet as a flooring solution in the kitchen, give preference to lacquered frosted parquet. This will avoid dark spots when water gets spilt on the surface and it will facilitate the maintenance when cleaning your kitchen. Also, of course, consider your lifestyle. If cooking is your hobby, therefore, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen maybe parquet will not be the perfect solution for you. In this case, you can always turn to the ceramic manufacturers, which, nowadays, perfectly imitate wooden surface.

 

The main direction in our project was to design a very minimalist Scandinavian interior. A kitchen with a wooden backsplash (here, we proposed a kitchen of the Italian manufacturer – PEDINI) and a floating steel staircase fixed by hidden fastenings in the supporting wall. In the first sketch, we suggested a selection of furniture and accessories, which, in our opinion, not only blended well with the main elements yet match with our clients’  personality and budget.

We emphasized with wooden furniture in the dining room. We place a lot of warm colours in this living zone, along with small table combinations, geometric textures and small wall pictures in this same style.  

  

In only one week, after receiving all the documents needed to start the project,  Krzysztof and Rui received their first proposed design. They wrote back to us that they liked the direction chosen and they are ready to discuss more over the details so that we can provide the final version for them. Perfect timing as they will be able to receive all the final documents before the beginning of the works.

Their main wishes were to have a more minimalistic outcome of their interior and would like us to pay attention to the radiator near the staircase. In addition, they prefer to use a reproduction of the picture of their favorite author and change the color palette of the interior a little.

After receiving these comments, we were happy to continue working on the project and prepare the second sketch, which was immediately approved by Krzysztof and Rui. Within 2 more weeks, we prepared all the final documents including in the initial order (3D renders, annotated floor plans, and a shopping list) as well as additional technical plans (only done on request).

 

Second sketch and final documents

  

  

 

Annotated plan and a shopping list within their budget and with the links to where to buy the furniture and accessories:

                                                                      

 

The staircase

In the final version, our staircase gained a very unusual charm. Taking into account the wishes of customers to receive various guests, as well as the need to use as much as possible the entire living area of their apartment, we provided, designed a small bar placed behind the wooden mobile part of the staircase. Such a solution allowed not only to acquire double use of the same element (staircase or bar) but, also the possibility of using those first steps as a mini ladder in order to have access to high shelves in the kitchen. By placing these wooden steps under the staircase, consequently, you limit the access for your guests to the private area located on the first floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Having received the design Krzysztof and Rui started the construction works.

As we take into account an individual approach to each project, along with the involvement of each team member in Space-Filling, we are always ready to help by answering our clients’ questions via emails if they do face difficulties in selecting materials or if unpleasant surprises appear during the restoration works.

A few months later, the apartment was finished and became a happy home for the owners.

  

 

A year later, I met our customers and the most important thing for us was to find out how accurate our design proposal was. The budget calculation and whether there is anything else that our customers would like to tell us considering that now they were living in the apartment. Their response was very pleasant but expected. They said that thanks to 3D renderings and our professional approach they were able to be sure that their new interior would fully corresponds to their expectations and everyday lifestyle. They are very happy with the result but did end up changing the cushions on the sofas according to their mood.

 

 

This is an extra piece of advice:

Do not buy too bright pieces of furniture , invest instead in a neutral palette with bright accessories. This will allow you to quickly update your interior if you get bored and without great additional expenses.

What awaits us in Salone Internazionale Del Mobile in Milan this year?

WHAT’S NEW IN INTERIOR DESIGN WORLD? 

It’s no secret that Milan is a fashion world city.  Here, trends are born in clothes and accessories, in furniture and lamps. Historically, it turned out that around Milan, many well-known factories and light enterprises were born. As a result, the Milan Furniture Fair (Salone Internazionale Del Mobile) is one of the most significant events for European designers and furniture manufacturers. This saloon of interior design and decoration which began in 1961 has been held annually ever since.

This year the exhibition will take place from April 17 to 22 in the exhibition center named ‘Fiera Milano Rho’. This is the perfect opportunity to help people to exchange ideas, have demonstrations of new products and brands, interior decorations, building codes in residential design and even more! The fair is attended by the leaders of the furniture industry world. And, of course, they will present the latest interior design trends, but also attended by professionals or everyday people.

Before going to the exhibition, we made an overview of the announcements of the main companies and participants. First of all, we want to understand what the leaders of design have prepared for us!?

 

KITCHEN

As we know, the kitchen area is the most difficult place to organize and equip in the house. That’s why every two years the designers of the whole world offer their views on what today’s modern kitchen should be like. For example, this year the organizers promised to surprise us, not only with high-quality materials and equipment but also with a new layout look and future evolution of the kitchen space itself.

For this reason, the leading manufacturer of the quartz stone Caesarstone together with a design studio Snarkitecture released a new kitchen countertops collection. And will present it at this year’s fair. For the sixth time, this quartz manufacturer will come to Milan to show their growing and brand-new collection. The Altered States is not only the name of the project nor the company’s collaboration result, in partnership with the designers of the New York studio Snarkitecture, but also a bright event in the kitchen design world.

This year’s theme is based on the study of the kitchen island.

       “Our starting point was the kitchen island, which we turned from a functional culinary zone into the center of the modern house, a place for entertainment, leisure and performances,” said Raanan Zilberman, CEO of Caesarstone.

 

“We asked the studio Snarkitecture to create an island that will inspire architects and designers to think about the future of kitchens and kitchen designs in general, and, about a new way of using the materials that we produce.”

As a result, in this ‘amphitheater’,  the beautiful island is composed of more than 250 quartz plates and metal pedestals. It’s accomplished in three different colors, from their new metropol collection. Those are the: Cloudburst Concrete, Airy Concrete, and Rugged Concrete. The designers used wide range materials and colors to create a monochrome gradient, referring to the landscape.

 

MATERIALS

Consistently for the past few years, natural materials and especially wood are in fashion. With different methods of processing, each brand continues experimenting with the shapes. It keeps on trying to find the most environmentally friendly while traditional material. This year, we noticed that almost every company/participant will present a new wooden furniture object.

 

Finally, the young Japanese brand Nendo first worked together with the great Danish furniture manufacturer Fritz Hansen. Together, they created an elegant chair “N01 Dining Chair” specifically for the Milan design week and the Salone del Mobile exhibition.

“As a designer, I was surprised and delighted that I created the wooden chair that turned out to be quite difficult. We wanted to create a modern chair, which at the same time will preserve through traditions and history of the brand” commented Oki Sato, a young designer and founder of Nendo.

 

 

 

 

 

COLOR

All shades of gold and other polished metals still remain in trend. Therefore, in the kitchen area, shiny metal handles and accessories, or even metal facades, are in fashion. These materials also stay trendy: natural stone, herringbone parquet, and polished surfaces.

 

 

If at the last Milan exhibition everyone was subdued by velvet green sofas. Consequently, now a saturated dark green color is everywhere and casual: on kitchen facades, cabinets, carpets, textiles, and furniture. And of course, what about the purple color? Pantone declared that the “ultraviolet” is the 2018 color, so we, as an interior design firm,  are expecting to see a lot of purple flashes in the stands.

 

 

 

 

 

Thin black lines of frame structures seem to have entered the furniture design forever. This year is not an exception. A wide range of the table legs, chair frames and other furniture pieces such as lamps or decor elements are on the scene. These frame structures are fair in demonstrating the shapes. In contrast, clarifying the inner essence of the object and emphasizes the silhouette’s beauty. 

Beugel Stoel Chair has a chance to become one of the most discussed new products of Cassina’s brand. The fact is that Gerrit Rietveld designed this model back in 1927. For a short time, the first samples went on sale. However, 91 years ago, there weren’t the opportunities to release many samples successively. As Beugel Stoel is composed of three parts, two identical spiders steel tubes, and the plywood seating. That must accurately be repeated to have the correct bends. To achieve this in a mass production, the 3D technology helped a lot. Traditionally Cassina shows its novelties not only at the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition but also in Milan’s own show – Romeo on Via Durini, 16.

 

FORM

 

In modern interior design solutions, there are two main directions. The first one is the soft and rounded corners, characteristic of the 50’s designs. Finally, the second one is the transformation and mobility. And this, as a tribute to the convenience and technological future.

Let’s see what came of it? Molteni & C continues the cooperation with the designer Ron Gilad.  Together they expanded last year’s Teorema collection. The main concept is a veneered chest of drawers stacked one on top of another with rotating modules. They have one centered rotary element, separating the lower and upper sections. Changing our view about the casual chest of drawers to an unfamiliar interior object that becomes a whole new piece.

 

 

 

TRADITIONS

 

BOHO and ECLECTIC style are gradually penetrating into modern interiors. Antique items and motives bring comfort and originality to our modern home atmospheres. We are tired of going to friend’s houses and see everybody with the same IKEA lamp. We want to be special, even a little mysterious. Designers already took into account this note. Animal skins, Moroccan lamps, macrame panels and wicker baskets are all here. This year’s trend is the vintage rug, a real eye-catcher!

 

DEVELOPMENTS

Within the framework of the Milan Design Week in 2018, Vitra will present the exhibition “Creating typology”.  It will be held on the former sports arena ‘La Pelota’ site. The curation of this exhibition was made by Robert Stadler. Being a designer, artist, and art-manager, he freely combines the role of creator of the design objects and critical observer. The Milano exhibition will be his first experience in cooperation with Vitra.

The installation will include about two hundred objects. The subject of this “study exhibition” will become a social function about furniture in the modern society.

Also, two great brands – Pedini and IPF parquet – have worked in the pair to open Pedini’s first ever showroom in here in Milano!The leader in the field of kitchen furniture production is the Italian company Pedini. To show you their quality, they will be serving the visitors pasta. And of course, cooked in the traditional Italian way throughout the whole week.

 

CONCLUSIONS

The 57th exhibition of the Salone del Mobile 2018 promises to be something extraordinary. This year the organizers first presented the Manifesto of the exhibition to the world. This act is intended to bring the exhibition from a completely commercial sphere to a whole new level: into the world of general cultural developments. The main ideas of the fair are that it is an exhibition of communication, a place of inspiration and creativity development, an exchange of experiences and knowledge.