In West Flanders in Belgium rises Hof De Pleyne, a 17th-century country house that is now a listed building. One of the parts of this complex is a hay barn (1834) that was recently refurbished, extended and converted into a restaurant. This project was entrusted to Dries Bonamie, who came up with a tailor-made solution that would pay homage to the building’s past, but also be fit for purpose as the Hertog Jan restaurant. It is a place that combines history, nature and excellent cuisine.
To maintain and foreground these elements, the design had to draw out the authenticity and specific nature of the original structure - a process that made it vital to carefully coordinate the various pieces of work. The goal was perfectly achieved, with a skilful combination of shapes, colours and materials.
The new volume was strategically located behind the barn, housing the entrance hall, reception and kitchen. By turning the building around like this, diners at Hertog Jan can physically touch the old structures, enjoying the atmosphere caught between the past and present, before reaching the dining room where they can gaze on the experimental herb & vegetable garden.
The barn combines traditional elements with contemporary ones, such as the large glazed walls and a sharp overhanging roof at the entrance. The other section is aesthetically very rigorous, interacting with both with the façade of the original structure and the surrounding natural landscape. The interiors were designed by AnotherOffice and they convey a perfect sense of harmony, built on the balance between geometry and volumes.
The choice of materials - natural stone, painted brick, dark wood and steel - helps reiterate the links to the history of the site. CEA’s involvement was to supply custom-made bathroom fittings in stainless steel, placing great emphasis on getting the ideal design. AISI 316/L stainless steel makes it possible to combine architectural requirements and functionality, skilfully disguising top technological performance behind a geometrical design.
The result is a sober, formal, custom-made product, where the lightness perfectly matches the material of the single-piece travertine sink, softening the lines with the flow of falling water. CEA’s work in this project clearly shows its focus on key issues such as sustainability and energy savings, which were achieved by installing an infrared sensor to control water flow.
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