The following itinerary lists a range of museums, galleries, buildings and design projects which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission, which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in museum opening hours and privately hosted visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch, and D=evening meal.
Brussels - 6 nights
Day 1: Wednesday 5 September, Arrive Brussels
- Airport transfer for participants arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight
- Maison Margiela
- Light Evening Meal at La Manufacture Restaurant
Group members arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to our hotel after clearing customs. If you are arriving independently please make your own way to the Hotel Le Dixseptième which is ideally located in the historic centre, 200m from the Grand Place (Grote Markt).
At approximately 4.00pm there will be a short orientation meeting at the hotel followed by an afternoon excursion to visit the store of Maison Margiela.
Maison Margiela, formerly Maison Martin Margiela, is a French luxury fashion house headquartered in Paris and founded in 1988. Belgian designer Martin Margiela, graduated from the Antwerp Academy in 1980 and went on to work as an assistant to Jean-Paul Gaultier in Paris in 1984. In 1989 he staged his first show in Paris under his own label, founding the ‘Maison Martin Margiela’ together with Jenny Meirens. In his collections themes such as the reproduction of materials and the deconstruction of patterns and shapes are often interwoven. In 2009, Margiela discreetly retired from the Maison that carried his name.
After a visit to local fashion and design shops, our day ends with a light group meal at La Manufacture, a sleek industrial-style restaurant housed in the former Delvaux leather factory, serving French cuisine with an oriental twist.
We return to our hotel on foot via the UNESCO World-Heritage listed Grand Place, which is beautifully lit in the evenings. Historically, the Grand Place was a market place where traders and citizens sold and bought food. All the streets surrounding the square are named after food like chicken (poulet), herbs (herbes), cheese (fromage) and so forth. Nowadays you will see grand old buildings standing in the place of market shelters. (Overnight Brussels) D
Day 2: Thursday 6 September, Brussels
- Horta Museum, Saint-Gilles
- Art Nouveau coach tour, including exteriors of Maison Hankar, Maison Ciamberlani and Hotel Tassel
- Hôtel Max Hallet (by special appointment)
- Hôtel Solvay (by special appointment), Ixelles
- Wiels Contemporary Art Centre
- Welcome Dinner at Le Belga Queen
Brussels is the capital of Art Nouveau and magnificent structures throughout the capital city are recognised as ‘world heritage’ by UNESCO. At the turn of the 19th century Brussels went through a period of unrivaled effervescence. The middle classes, merchants and artists opted to have their houses built in the style in vogue: Art Nouveau, marking the beginning of modern architecture and design. The Austrian architect Josef Hoffman and painter Gustav Klimt, the French architect Hector Guimard all joined the Belgian architects Victor Horta, Paul Hankar, Henry van de Velde, the furniture designer Serrurier-Bovy and the jeweller Philippe Wolfers to get their inspiration.
We begin our study of Brussels Art Nouveau with a guided tour of the Horta Museum, located in the private house and studio of architect Victor Horta (1861-1947). Built between 1898 and 1901 at 23-25, rue Américaine in Saint-Gilles, the two buildings are typical of Art Nouveau at its height. The interior decoration has largely been retained, the mosaics, stained glass, and wall decorations forming a harmonious and elegant whole, down to the last detail.
Led by a specialist guide from ARAU (Atelier de Recherche et d’Action Urbaines) we take a walking tour of the Art-Nouveau buildings of Saint-Gilles and Ixelles, viewing the exteriors of Roosenboom House designed by Albert Roosenboom a pupil of Victor Horta; the Maison Hankar and Maison Ciamberlani – both designed by architect Paul Hankar; Hôtel Tassel by Victor Horta 1893-1897; Hotel Otlet by architect Octave van Rysselberghe and Henry van de Velde and Hôtel Hannon by architect Jules Brunfaut.
By special appointment, we view the interiors of the UNESCO world-heritage listed Hôtel Max Hallet and Hôtel Solvay, both designed by Victor Horta.
On avenue Louise, the restored Hôtel Max Hallet is a restrained structure of 1904 where the straight, slender façade is decorated with elegant doors and windows plus an elongated stone balcony with a wrought-iron balustrade.
Also on avenue Louise, the Hôtel Solvay is a luxurious residence built by Victor Horta in 1894 for the Solvay family. The 33-year old architect was given a complete freedom and unlimited funds to design the interior and furnishings. This is generally considered the most ambitious and spectacular work of Horta in the Art Nouveau period. It features a decorated staircase, mosaic floor, painted walls, wrought iron work and custom furniture.
Then we take an architecture tour of the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, named after a famous Belgian beer. The architecture tour focus on the restauration and the renovation of the brewery building designed in the 1930s by Belgian architect Adrien Blomme, one of the rare examples of modernist industrial architecture in Brussels.
A short walk from our hotel takes us past Galeries St Hubert (featuring designer furniture stores, Delvaux leather and chocolate shops) to the restaurant Le Belga Queen, where we enjoy a Welcome Dinner. In a landmark building dating from the 18th century, interior architect and restaurant owner Antoine Pinto has created an establishment breaking away from the traditional brasserie. Here, contemporary architecture and gastronomy meet each other in an amazing way. (Overnight Brussels) BD
Day 3: Friday 7 September, Brussels
- Guided tour of Musée Fin-de-Siècle
- Pierre Marcolini Chocolate, Grand Sablon
- Guided tour of the Musée René Magritte
- Studio with a View (by special appointment)
This morning we take a guided tour of Brussels’ Musée Fin-de-Siècle, dedicated to arts and crafts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Opened in 2013, the museum includes displays of paintings, contemporary photography, architecture, film, music and literature – and a home for the outstanding collection of Art Nouveau furniture and decorative art work donated by the Gillion-Crowet family in 2006.
Artists represented include Belgian painters such as the impressionist-influenced Hippolyte Boulenger and Guillaume Vogels, the powerful imagery of Léon Spilliaert, and the remarkable expressionist and surrealist painter and printmaker, James Ensor. Major international figures are also well-represented with works by Van Gogh, the Pre-Raphaelite, Byrne Jones, and the key French artists of the time, including three contrasting works by Gauguin, sculpture by Rodin and paintings by Bonnard, Sisley and Seurat.
Following our tour of the museum, we walk to the Grand Sablon where there will be time at leisure for lunch and to visit the Pierre Marcolini Haute Chocolaterie. Marcolini’s creations are designed in collaboration with Tom Dixon, stylist Olympia Le-Tan and fashion designer Kitsuné.
In the afternoon we take a guided tour of the museum devoted to displaying works by Brussels’ most famous modern artist, the Surrealist painter René Magritte. The Musée René Magritte displays some 200 original paintings, drawing and sculptures, mostly donated by his wife Georgette and by his principal collector, Irène Hamoir Scutenaire. This is the world’s largest collection of Magritte’s work.
By special appointment, we end the day visiting Studio With A View – an innovative artist hub for 3 designers, 2 artists and a textile designer. Current designers include Raphaël Charles, Maarten de Ceulaer, Damien Gernay, and Laure Kasiers, who specialises in hand-crafted rugs and accessories. (Overnight Brussels) B
Day 4: Saturday 8 September, Brussels
- Morning guided coach tour of Schaerbeek and Quartier des Squares, including the interiors Maison Autrique and the Hôtel van Eetvelde (by special appointment)
- Interior tour of Cauchie House (by special appointment)
- Guided architecture tour of Villa Empain (by special appointment)
The sleepy farming village of Schaerbeek was completely transformed in the early years of the twentieth century for the city’s burgeoning middle classes, many of whom employed the period’s best architects to design their new homes. Victor Horta, Gustave Strauven, François Hemelsoet and Henri Jacobs were just four of the architects who reinvented family houses, apartment buildings and educational buildings in the Art Nouveau style.
Accompanied by a specialist guide, we take a morning tour of this district which will include interior visits of the Maison Autrique and the Hôtel van Eetvelde. The Autrique House was the first town house built by Victor Horta in the Art Nouveau style. This house built in 1893 represents an essential step in the evolution of the greatest Belgian architect. Located in the nearby Quartier des Squares, the Hôtel van Eetvelde is a town house designed in 1895 by Victor Horta for Edmond van Eetvelde, Minister for the Congo Free. Its interior is a Horta masterpiece studded with exotic timbers and sporting a central glass dome infused with African-inspired plant motifs.
Following some time at leisure for lunch we take a guided tour of Cauchie House, considered to be one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau masterpieces in Brussels. It was built in 1905 by Art Nouveau architect, painter and designer Paul Cauchie. It bears many exceptional decorative elements, including the famous Art Nouveau sgraffito. The sgraffiti, or engraved drawings, that you can see on the wall, represent the allegories of the arts.
We end our day with a guided tour of Villa Empain, a private house in the Art Deco style designed and built between 1931 and 1934 by Swiss architect Michel Polak for Baron Louis Empain, son of Belgian industrialist Baron Édouard Empain. This legendary Art Deco villa was abandoned for many years before undergoing a painstaking restoration by Francis Metzger of the Ma2 architectural practice. (Overnight Brussels) B
Day 5: Sunday 9 September, Brussels
- Guided tour of ADAM Brussels Design Museum
- Old Market, vintage market
- Musée David et Alice van Buuren
Today we begin with guided tour of ADAM Brussels Design Museum. Opened in 2015, this new museum and art centre is dedicated to design and art from the 20th century. This unique collection includes Pop Art, everyday products, artworks and iconic industrial designs, all in a museum with a minimalistic interior. The museum’s colourful entrance steps were designed by Jean Nouvel. Of particular note is the Plasticarium containing over 2000 plastic objects ranging from everyday gadgets to works of art. Two special exhibitions are on display: Design Generations as part of the biennale of contemporary design and Graphic 58 devoted to the 60th anniversary of the Atomium, the landmark building originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. After our visit to the museum, we visit the Atomium and enjoy spectacular views of the city.
Then we transfer to the Old Market or “Vieux Marché” in French. The Place du Jeu de Balle flea market is known throughout the world. Not only is it the place where the famous Tintin bought a model of the tall ship “La Licorne” in Hergé’s The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), but also a true paradise for vintage hunters, as are the shops dotting on and around nearby rue Blaes and rue Haute.
We end our day with a visit to the David and Alice van Buuren Museum, a private house built from 1924 to 1928, decorated with sublime furnishings, stained glass and fine paintings covering five centuries of art. (Overnight Brussels) B
Day 6: Monday 10 September, Brussels
- Full day with Danny Venlet, Advisor to MAD Brussels
- Private home of architect, Ivo Van Hamme
- Private home and studio of Danny Venlet
- Private home and studio of Charles Kaisin
- KANAL – Centre Pompidou, Design September exhibition
Danny Venlet was born in Victoria (Australia) from Dutch parentage and studied Interior Design at the Sint-Lucas Institute for Architecture and Visual Arts in Brussels. In Australia, working as an independent designer and interior architect, he went on to add a series of high-profile projects to his name with which he managed to draw considerable international attention before going into partnership with Marc Newson. In the mid-90s he moved back to Belgium where he currently works on projects from across the globe out of his Brussels workshop.Today Danny is advisor to MAD Brussels’ new Mode and Design Centre.
We spend a full day with Danny Venlet exploring a number of Brussels’ contemporary interiors. This morning, we visit the private home of architect Ivo Van Hamme (partner of BOB 361 architects) and Danny’s own private home and studio.
After time at leisure for lunch and to explore some local fashion and design shops, we are invited to the house and studio of Charles Kaisin, creator of colourful, surrealist food service performances.
We also visit the recently opened KANAL – Centre Pompidou, the former Citroën Yser garage which was turned into an art and architecture exhibition centre for 13 months, prior to its major transformation into the future Brussels Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. A highlight of Design September is an exhibition in which 25 Belgian designers, including Danny Venlet, share their recent works with the public over four levels. At the end of the visit, we enjoy a drink with our host. (Overnight Brussels) B
Antwerp - 4 nights
Day 7: Tuesday 11 September, Brussels – Ghent – Antwerp
- Guided tour of the Design Museum, Ghent
- Ghent’s Market Hall by Marie-José Van Hee and Robbrecht en Daem
- Architecture projects by Atelier Vens Vanbelle: Gewad (private apartment and office of Maarten Vanbelle), Piet & Sarah, Kartasan, Hans & Delphine
Today we make the short 60-kilometre journey to the port city of Ghent, located at the confluence of the Leie and Scheldt rivers. Known for its medieval castle, guildhalls and art treasures, it is also home to Belgium’s Design Museum. On arrival we take a guided tour of the museum’s exhibitions and collections offering a new perspective on Belgium’s largest design collection, showcasing a varied selection of just under 200 objects, from 1880 to the present day. Time permitting, we view Hide & Seek, the first major retrospective on Dutch designer Maarten Baas. Maarten Van Severen & Co is a presentation on Belgian born Maarten Van Severen’s (1956-2005) interpretation of design.
Nearby we also view the city’s new Market Hall. Designed by Marie-José Van Hee and Robbrecht en Daem in 2012 the hall stands gracefully between the Belfort (a late-medieval belfry), St Nicolas’s Church, Cathedral of St Bavo and the city hall. As an urban interior, the inside embraces the passer-by with a dual modulated wooden ceiling, whose small windows scatter light inwards. The building seems to assume a respectful role relative to the nobler historic stone buildings, by using a wooden, almost humble, finish. A glass envelope protects the wood and provides a soft shine, with the sky reflected. Our visit will be led by award-winning architect Marie-José Van Hee.
Following some time at leisure for lunch, by special arrangement, we meet with Dries Vens and Maarten Vanbelle from Atelier Vens Vanbelle to view a number of their projects. Established in 2006, Atelier Vens Vanbelle is a Ghent based studio spawned from Dries Ven’s and Maarten Vanbelle’s fun-enthused love for redefining the everyday. Breathing new life into existing architectures and also establishing harmonies between the practicalities and the potential quirks of daily space, the duo are known for their impressive use of internal journeys, unusual material pairings and refined form/void compositions. Projects we shall visit include Piet & Sarah a copper-clad extension to a traditional Belgian farmhouse, and their award-winning Gewad apartments.
In the late afternoon we depart Ghent for the historic city of Antwerp, where we shall spend four nights at the upscale and beautifully designed Hotel Julien. Situated in two 16th-century properties, the hotel has been lovingly restored; authentic features are effortlessly combined with contemporary furnishings. (Overnight Antwerp) B
Day 8: Wednesday 12 September, Antwerp
- Antwerp Central Station
- Art Nouveau’s Zurenborg district
- Renaat Braem’s House
- Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Pavilion: Braem Pavilion & Het Huis
- Maison Guiette, Bootjeshuis, Huis van Roosmalen
- Architecture tour of the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom)
- ‘New Faces of Harbour Cities’: An architecture tour of Antwerp’s Port including the new Port House by Zaha Hadid Architects, Red Star Line Museum, Montevideo warehouses, FelixArchief and Westkaai-Kattendijkdok Project
- Dinner at restaurant Het Pomphuis
Accompanied by a local architect, we spend a full day exploring a range of Antwerp’s architectural projects.
We begin with visit to Antwerp’s Central Station, considered one of the most beautiful stations in the world. The original station was constructed between 1895 and 1905. The stone clad terminus buildings, with a vast dome above the waiting room hall were designed by Louis Delacenserie and the vast iron and glass train shed by Clement van Bogaert. Between 2000 and 2009 the monumental building was completely modernised and expanded to accommodate the high-speed rail line.
We stroll down the Cogels-Osylei, in the Zurenborg district, allows us to admire its wonderful houses built in styles including Art Nouveau, neo-Gothic, and Greek Revival.
The Antwerp-born architect Renaat Braem (1910-2001) is considered one of the finest representatives of Belgium’s Mid-century Modern. He began his career as a trainee with Le Corbusier and worked incessantly from his hometown base from the late 1930s. Today we visit his own home, which following his death, was carefully restored and now opens as a museum by special appointment. Built by himself in 1958, the house is considered one of the best-preserved examples of his work. Here, “…the architect created a constellation of functional, interlocking cubes, which create games of volume and void both inside and outside. The mostly open-plan interior, containing his home as well as his L-shaped office space, uses natural materials and muted tones with Bauhaus-style bright prime colour accents – red, blue and yellow. Exotic objects from all over the world as well as a number of personal objects, souvenirs and designer products – mainly Italian and Danish – furnish the house’s several areas, from the sitting room to the bedroom and black tile bathroom.” Wallpaper, April 2011.
Bream designed some of the most representative modernist examples in Belgium, including the Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Pavilion which we next visit. This open-air museum for modern sculpture, set in a 27 ha park, includes works by Ai Weiwei, Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, Dan Graham, Per Kirkeby, Henry Moore, Panamarenko, François Pompon, Auguste Rodin, Joep Van Lieshout and Ossip Zadkine. To house smaller sculptures and more fragile works, Renaat Braem was commissioned to design an exhibition hall. Throughout his career he saw architecture as the art of organising space in order to liberate human kind. His architecture gradually adopted a more organic style, which is apparent in this pavilion.
During our visit we also view the Het Huis, a semi-open pavilion designed by Robbrecht and Daem. This new temporary exhibition site, which consists of plaited grey-green curved steel plates, has been seamlessly incorporated into the green surroundings of the park. Together with the Braem Pavilion, Het Huis is an example of the museum’s ideal of merging art and architecture.
Following some time at leisure for lunch at the museum’s café we transfer by coach to Antwerp’s dockside. En route we make brief stops to view the exteriors of three distinctive buildings. Designed by Le Corbusier in 1926, the Maison Guiette was built as the residence and studio for painter René Guiette. It’s an early and classic example of the International Style. It was later inhabited by Belgian fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester who employed Georges Baines to restore the house in 1985. Built in 1901, The Bootjeshuis (‘boat house’) is a remarkable Art Nouveau building commissioned by a shipbuilder who added the famous ‘boat’ balcony to the design of architect Frans Smet-Verhas. The Huis van Roosmalen, (an iconic black and white striped building along the Scheldt quays), was designed by architect Bob Van Reeth, one of the most important Postwar Belgian architects, in 1990.
At Antwerp’s dockside we take an architectural tour of the Museum aan de Stroom. Located on the former site of a Hanseatic warehouse in an area known as Het Eilandje (‘the little island’), the MAS is intended to be a bridge between the city centre and the port. Designed by Dutch architects Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk, this 60-metre-tall tower block consists of wide panels of undulating glass separating 10 giant stone containers, stacked one on top of the other and clad in violent red Indian sandstone. Every storey of the tower has been rotated a quarter turn, creating a gigantic spiral staircase. This spiral space, in which a facade of corrugated glass is inserted, forms a public city gallery. During our tour we explore how this design is consistent with the historical function and atmosphere of the location, visit the promenade, and enjoy dramatic views of the city from the viewing depot.
Across from the MAS is Antwerp’s Port Authority. A guided walking tour of this area will include a visit to the new Port House (exterior only) designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, and the Red Star Line Museum. Designed by New York architects Beyer Blinder Belle, the museum’s new steel and glass observation tower provides panoramic views of the city and its historic port.
We also view the renovated heritage-listed Montevideo warehouses with their distinctive façades, the Sint-Felix warehouses converted into the FelixArchief by architects Robbrecht and Daem in 2006, and the impressive Westkaai-Kattendijkdok project with its six residential towers. Designed by leading architectural collectives from Belgium (ELD and De Architecten nv), Great Britain (David Chipperfield and Tony Fretton) and Switzerland (Diener & Diener), the six towers are surrounded by a beautiful park designed by Parisian landscape architect Michel Desvigne.
We end our day with an evening meal at Restaurant Het Pomphuis, which occupies an old pump house in Antwerp’s harbour area. (Overnight Antwerp) BD
Day 9: Thursday 13 September, Antwerp
- Tim Van Steenbergen’s new Atelier (by special appointment)
- Jan-Jan Van Essche Studio and Atelier Solarshop (by special appointment)
- Copyright Art and Architecture Book Store
- Afternoon at leisure to explore Antwerp’s fashion stores: Theo-Somers, Dries Van Noten, Ganterie Boon and A.F. Vandevorst
Antwerp, with its rich history of culture and commerce, is home to cutting-edge fashion, vintage style and great places to eat. During the 16th century, Antwerp was one of Europe’s most prominent cities. It was home to artist Peter Paul Rubens, a hub for both architects and consumers of art, design and culture, and at the centre of the world’s diamond industry, which formed the backbone of the city’s commerce. This backdrop sets the scene today for a modern city full of medieval charm, its narrow winding lanes and cobbled streets leading the way to a playground for lovers of design, fashion and food.
We begin this morning with a visit to the new design studios of Tim Van Steenbergen. After graduating from the Antwerp Fashion Academy in 2000 he was offered a role as Olivier Theyskens’s assistant in Paris. His first collection under his own label was launched in Paris in 2002, but in 2005 he decided to show his collections in his home city of Antwerp. As well as designing for his own fashion label, Van Steenbergen has created jewellery for Swarovski UK, shoes for Novella Italia, ‘Barbie’ outfits, a jean for Xfit by Lycra, an haute couture dress for the Museum of Fine Arts and Lace in Calais (France), the bag ‘le Seau Elsa’ for the French label Lancel and sunglasses ‘Theo by Tim Van Steenbergen’. He also designs costumes for theatre, dance and opera (La Scala, Milan). His work has been presented in the Groeninghe Museum in Bruges, the Louvre and he created an installation for the Biennale of Venice in 2003.
Van Steenbergen’s new design studios are situated in a 19th-century house, where each floor is designed to tell a different story of the label. The house contains interesting architectural ideas, examples of collaborative designs (eg lighting for Delta Light and eyewear for Theo), costume designs for operas and archives for the fashion label.
We are invited to visit the design studio and shop of Antwerp born Jan-Jan Van Essche. Also a graduate of the famous Antwerp Fashion Academy, praised for its innovation and simplicity, we discover Van Essche’s slow approach to fashion and his concept of an annual wardrobe, rather than by season.
After lunch, we visit Antwerp’s spacious Copyright book store, which covers everything from architecture and design, to fashion and more specialist art books.
The remain of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore Antwerp’s fashion stores, including Theo-Somers Flagship Store, Dries Van Noten, Ganterie Boon, A.F. Vandevorst and Rosier 41. Note: most of these stores are open until 6.00pm!
Dries Van Noten (born 12 May 1958 in Antwerp) is a leading Belgian fashion designer, who won the International Award of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2008. That same year, he dressed actress Cate Blanchett for the Academy Awards, and has continued to dress her for other red carpet events. He currently creates four collections a year (men’s and women’s, both for summer and winter).
Ganterie Boon is a family-owned business specialising in Peccary and Chevreaux leather gloves. One of the few remaining glove businesses in Belgium, this 120-year-old shop still retains its 19th-century features including original glove boxes, countertops, cabinets and chairs.
Belgian husband-wife team An Vandevorst and Filip Arickx launched their first collection in Paris in 1998 after graduating from the Fashion School of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. They launched a shoe collection in 2003 and a lingerie line three years later. The pair is known for their deft contrasts in fabrics, textures, and colours, often layering silky lingerie-inspired pieces with tailored jackets, reworked white cotton button-downs, or dramatic capes.
Curated by owner Viviane Van Werelyckhuysen, Rosier 41 is a consignment boutique specializing in new and pre-loved pieces by celebrated Belgian labels such as Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Haider Ackerman, Dirk Bikkembergs, Veronique Branquinho, AF Vandevorst, Bruno Pieters to name a few as well as international labels like Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga and Givenchy. Rosier 41 supports local designers and artists by displaying their works throughout the boutique. (Overnight Antwerp) B
Day 10: Friday 14 September, Antwerp
- Theo Eyewear Atelier and Warehouse (by special appointment)
- Farewell Lunch at The Jane restaurant (designed by Piet Boon)
- Time at leisure
This morning we start with a visit of Theo Eyewear. Theo is the house brand at Theo-Somers Optiek. In 1987 Wim Somers and Patrick Hoet launched their own range of spectacles and today have grown into an important player in the niche market for designer eyewear. Mik Somers, the son of Wim Somers, will take us on a private tour of their atelier and warehouse.
Studio Piet Boon is a Dutch company based near Amsterdam. Piet Boon, born in the Netherlands in 1958, runs an internationally renowned studio which produces furniture, architecture and interiors, and is a recognised specialist in delivering total concept design solutions. The studio’s projects include hotels, private homes, office spaces, apartment buildings and restaurants. We shall be given an outline of their renovation works at ‘The Jane’.
Tucked in the middle of Antwerp’s up-and-coming Groen Kwartier, The Jane is the much anticipated establishment of three-star chefs Sergio Herman and Nick Bril. Housed within the chapel of a former military hospital, the restaurant’s interior was the charge of Piet Boon who enlisted the help of a number of collaborators on commissioned elements. Enterable by the chapel’s huge – and heavy – doors, guests are led around to the high-ceilinged restaurant where many of the chapel’s original details have been left intact. ‘It was hugely important to restore and preserve the Chapel which was in quite a derelict state’, explains Boon. One such preserved element is the Chapel’s ceiling where the surface has been left largely untouched and the peeling paintwork is preserved with a sealant. Fittingly for a fine dining establishment run by such a renowned chef, The Jane’s kitchen takes the place of the altar. The kitchen – contained within a glasshouse-like room – is built to curve around the chapel’s chancel. While the restaurant is made up of a number of discreet elements, there are a few standout bespoke pieces. An enormous chandelier – created by Beirut-based PSlab – hangs in the centre of the room. Stained glass windows that surround the room were illustrated by Studio Job. The 500 panels that make up the windows include contemporary motifs referencing food and drink.
Following our tour we enjoy a Farewell Lunch in the restaurant’s fine dining room. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Overnight Antwerp) BL
Day 11: Saturday 15 September, Antwerp – Brussels Airport. Tour Ends.
- Airport transfer to Brussels Airport for participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight
Our tour ends in Antwerp. Participants returning to Australia on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will be transferred to Brussels Airport. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your stay in Belgium. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B