Vincent Van Duysen was established in 1989. Nowadays, the company has grown into a team of more than twenty collaborators with work ranging from product design for numerous international brands, to commercial and large-scale architectural projects, with a focus on high-end residences both in Belgium or spread across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the USA. In this article, we will talk about the timeless bathroom design trends from Vincent Van Duysen!
Vincent Van Duysen was born in Lokeren, Belgium, in 1962. After earning a degree from the Sint-Lucas School of Architecture, Ghent, he worked with Aldo Cibic in Milan, followed by a collaboration with Jean De Meulder in Antwerp, Belgium. From the outset, a definite relationship between architecture, interior and product design has been the driving force behind the conception of projects inspired by subtle transitions between these disciplines and combined with a spatial design attitude, constantly striving for the essence.
The use of pure and tactile materials translates into a clean, timeless design. With respect to context and tradition, it’s an approach within which the senses, and the physical experience of space, textures and light place the integrity of the user at its core. Functionality, durability and comfort are the prime components of the work, an architectural language not shy to convey aesthetics, but prone to eschew fashion and trends.
Considering the location of this apartment on the fifth floor of an original Milanese 1950s residential building – situated in the dense urbanized city centre – its new layout was developed through exploration of a maximal relation between the living areas and the view of the surrounding trees. Custom-made bronze window frames – that can be opened completely by sliding them into the façade – induce a nearly seamless connection with the greenery of the trees and the potted plants on the terraces around. Through thorough detailing of seamless junctions and high-end finishes, the apartment provides an ascetic, spacious yet luxurious experience. Its carefully selected, modest palette – sandstone cladding and oak floors – creates a simple and uniform whole, emphasizing the greenery positioned around the apartment. Meticulous detailing combined with brightly coloured accents of art and furnishings (such as the glazed terracotta pots in the colour of the 1950s façade tiles) produces an apartment with a uniquely pure yet calm character.
This open-concept bathroom is filled with bright light, harmony, and incredible sensations of pure relaxation shine with the golden accents of the Koi Collection. With the amazing KOI Bathtub to bathe in and the dazzling KOI washbasin and mirrors, this private oasis gets elevated into pure elegance and luxury. This collection gives an optical illusion of a meshwork in a luxury approach. Contrasting with the gorgeous bathroom in the background is the gracious Dressing Room decorated with the fantastic Ella Puff and Horus II Suspension Lamp which demonstrates the richness and luxury of this remarkable closet.
The two-storey penthouse is divided into two areas. The top floor is intended for the owners use while the smaller floor downstairs houses the guest facilities. The main floor was cleared as much as possible keeping only a few volumes for the definition of different areas. Connected, but able to be closed off through different sliding doors, this creates different configurations and views through the living spaces. Throughout the different areas, white Carrara Statuario marble is used for the floors and wall cladding which contrasts subtly with the dark oak wall panelling and furniture as well as with the green surroundings entering the interior through the picture frame-like windows. This black and white pattern is broken by the colourful art and furniture collection. It was the clients’ explicit wish not to make the space too gallery-like for his collection but to live with the collection and incorporate it into everyday life. The neutral colour palette of the interior works perfectly for this function. In the bathroom where only a large Carrara bath and long stretched washbasin seem to be positioned for sculpting the light.
A comfortable soak in an impressive design. Petra Bathtub is a timeless and sculptural item that will be a splendid factor in your bathroom decor. A contemporary and classic this bathtub envelops you in a serene and comfortable atmosphere with a luxurious combination of Ibiza marble and black wood transforming any bathroom into an elegant oasis. that still evokes any classic style. The Cross Grey Surface makes the bathtub even more luxurious and with even more vivid and elegant colour, contrasting with the marble. Pair the bathtub with a mirror of the same colour so that the whole bathroom is in harmony.
The original VVD II residence project (2001–2003) turned an old notary house into the personal ‘sanctuary’ for Vincent Van Duysen himself – a retreat to which he could withdraw from hectic professional and urban life. This iconic project used beautiful poplar floors (a typical wood for maids’ rooms in attics in old Antwerp townhouses) in combination with large bluestone slabs and bone colours and textures to bring light and a calm atmosphere to the house. Having lived in the house a decade, Van Duysen felt it would be good to add a retreat within the retreat, and transformed the attic – formerly maids’ rooms and once a true hermit’s living area – into an introverted combination of a winter living room, an extra guest apartment and an atelier. In using 17th-century reclaimed oak, sourced to add a new floor and a functional wall, he guaranteed the conservation of the atmosphere and colour tones of the old attic with its aged brown structures.
Inspired by the beautiful panoramic view of the River Scheldt and the bluestone along the grey quayside, the project is arranged around the axes of its volumes and breathtaking views, allowing each zone to take advantage of this spectacular location. The concept of the project was to create an ‘urban loft’ that retains the rawness of construction, yet encompasses a complete finish and feeling of comfort. The concrete ceiling and rough timber refer to the historical warehouses, which have an architectural presence in the surrounding quay and the city. The project has strong architectural qualities within a residential apartment context. The material selection is a manifestation of the grey tones of the River Scheldt and its quayside, as well as referring to the Arte Povera movement, in which driftwood, metal, earth and concrete were used. The central monolithic volume enclosing the fireplace is positioned in such a way that all surrounding spaces have a direct connection; however, they are also separable through the use of full-height sliding doors, which makes the experience of the penthouse that of a single open space, divided by functional blocks (including, for example, kitchen storage, bathrooms, dressing room, toilets, fireplace and so on).
The former Bowery Lane Theatre, which became an Off-Broadway theatre was originally a bank building with a cast-iron façade constructed from 1873 to 1874, designed by Henry Engelbert in the Italianate style. The classic features and architectural elements of the cast-iron façade generate a beautiful rhythm of tall openings that flood the inner spaces with natural light. The interior design reflects this important legacy by generating a sequence of rooms that have a strong relationship with the façade and the cadence of openings and exterior views. The fifth floor accommodates all the private and night zones, with special emphasis given to the master bedroom, which is designed as a private suite with a vanity that continues in the different zones of the bedroom. The bathroom assumes the central role in the space, connecting both the dressing rooms, steam showers and sleeping area. The top floor includes a rooftop lounge, located behind the façade, along with an outdoor covered terrace and a spa area. A long architectural element in natural stone unifies the different areas, creating a strong relationship between interior and exterior spaces, and housing a concealed firepit, an outdoor and indoor kitchen counter and the hot tub. The interior atmosphere is serene, created by a particular selection of materials that generate comfortable and inviting spaces, rendering an exclusive but homely feeling.
The object of this design was to use the existing structure of the two major spaces in the general concept of the apartment and to give the whole a single spacious atmosphere. The two parts of the building were functionally defined as a day and a night area with both areas conceived according to typical loft principles. The day area houses the sitting and eating area and has no formal entrance zone while the bathroom, at one side of the central corridor between the bedrooms, and the service rooms can completely open up through the use of sliding walls and large doors. The placing of the washbasin at the end of the corridor together with the open shower transforms the hallway into a sort of bathroom. The border between day and night zones is amplified by a long glass wall that, contrary to what one might expect, makes the apartment look much larger.
This old townhouse, with former notaries offices, was simplified and restructured and natural daylight was let in everywhere. Once the structural work was completed and everything was painted white, the refining of the details and spaces could begin. The choice of materials, a limited array of colours and the combination of roughly woven textiles with the smooth surface of natural stone firmly establish this house in the tradition of Flemish sensuality, which is mostly disguised by a formal rigour. The essential activities of washing and cooking are celebrated with a monolithic white marble bathtub and an enormous black cooker of La Cornue, reminiscent of 19th-century steamy Flemish country kitchens. The rigour of the design in combination with the sensual language is what forms the essence and success of the architecture.
House and gallery are situated on a slope between two streets with the entrances for each situated on different streets – this way the house (positioned at the high end of the slope) overlooks the gallery building below and the park nearby. The house and gallery have nine floors in total. From the first and second floors of the house, you have extensive views of the Brussels residential quarter giving each space its own atmosphere. The entrance and basement floor is very light with extensive use of white Calcutta marble on floors and furniture. Space is used as an abstract transition between the outside world and the house as a world of art. The second living floor has, despite its white plastered walls, a much warmer feeling due to the wall-to-wall carpet and the client’s furniture collection. The bedroom floor has a very dark and intimate atmosphere with extensive use of golden brown marble and dark oak panelling. The darkened back facade with its balconies is an abstract contrast with the traditional front facade of the house.
This elegant and restrained 30’s townhouse – a modest example of the International Style – is situated in a conservation area in Paris. The house was to be transformed into a generous contemporary family home and any alterations to the original geometric elevations were out of the question. The darker areas at the front of the plan were ideal to accommodate an intimate spa facility. All the upper floors are dedicated to sleeping and studying, with the master bedroom facilities occupying all of the first floor. Although the treatment of the new surfaces is resolutely contemporary, the manners, materials, and colours of this extensive refurbishment have remained very close to the original atmosphere. The pure whiteness of the wall surfaces is only interrupted now and then by slim black metal frames of the new windows, the dark-stained wall panelling and furniture, the grey-white marble of the bathrooms, and the grey Indian stone and stainless steel of the kitchen. This house has been restored, transformed, and has only gained in elegance, smooth charm and international style.
The aim of this holiday apartment – a weekend house by the sea – is apparent in the interior, bathing in a ‘warm minimal’ atmosphere. A sober but comforting material palette is combined with pure lines. The highly functional layout focuses on maximizing the surface area for living and entertaining. The master bedroom and bathroom were positioned on an axis that extends into the living space. By sliding open the doors between these rooms, the master bedroom becomes connected to the living room. Evoking a ‘hotel suite’ feeling and offering the owners a view of the sea from the bedroom.
The design for this apartment in Knokke is conceived around an open plan with a spacious living room in which the kitchen island defines a reception area and serves to hide the chairs that merge visually when pushed underneath. Sliding walls create the opportunity to hide functional elements from sight and allow to connect to or disconnection from the night zones (master suite and guest room) with the living area. A sober material palette was selected starting from the existing teak floor. Custom furniture in teak and is combined with elements in Carrara marble. By consistently applying this austere palette in the design and the detailing, a cohesive interior is created, rich in contrast.
Residence DRD is a duplex penthouse with a sea view on the top floor of an apartment building on the Belgian coast. This weekend home is designed with the idea to have a place to unwind as well as to relax and be together with family and friends. The open plan has a large seating area turned to the sea. The top floor accommodates the sleeping zone with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The materials of the floors and furniture match the colours of sand and sea and the walls are cool like the white beach cabins on the Belgian coast.
Vincent Van Duysen architects’ strategy in turning the hidden gem and its gardens into August was first and foremost to respect the historical DNA of the site and its surroundings and to align with the general principles governing the redevelopment of listed buildings. This was achieved through the careful restoration of its neoclassical splendour (in collaboration with Wouter Callebaut Architecten), and through the addition of contemporary architectural elements, suitably upgrading the premises to its new function as a modern hotel. The interior scheme nourishes the existing features, highlighting the grey-green timber panelling, the white mouldings, and so forth, reintegrating original elements and reproducing others that have been damaged or diminished, while selectively introducing black components to distinguish the contemporary from the classic. August, which now cares for another kind of guest, invites visitors to gather at the bar inside the former chapel and to partake in its various offerings, such as savouring a fine meal in the sunlit restaurant, experiencing the maze of gardens, and spending the night in one of its 44 guest rooms.
Since the early 16th century, the urban square called ‘Graanmarkt’, located in the historic centre of Antwerp has been a well-known marketplace where a wide range of fresh and authentic products are sold. Graanmarkt 13, with only its neoclassical façade retained, appears to be a home from the outside: with a typical white-painted façade, three floors, coach doors and no merchandised window displays, it evokes nothing more than a period house from the 18th century. The rear façade was radically stripped down, new floor levels were inserted and, most importantly, a grand staircase in exposed concrete created a new vertical connection between floors. The influx of natural light through large windows works with the sensual materiality of the interior spaces to create a calm and open environment. The design aimed to bring the garden straight into space, making it a focal point of the building. The resulting space is a dynamic, poetic expression; the architecture remains very contemplative.
The project involves an old rural house in the inland area of the island of Mallorca, with an impressive portico on the main façade, and two adjacent buildings which now function as lodgings for the caretakers and the office of the owner. The house preserves the spirit of the original Mallorca ‘finca’. Inside the spaces are clean and essential – like the furnishing elements of the various rooms in the house. The resulting atmosphere is one of absolute balance, permeated by a feeling of leisure and relaxation. An indoor-outdoor relationship has been achieved by means of compositional elements that create a sense of continuity between the house and the landscape: the traditional pebblestone embedded in cement flooring. Between the residential space and the rest of the property, accentuating the sensation of privacy. A sensation that does not change when one enters the house: the entrance area is a large empty room, enhanced by the wood panels on the walls, concealing the entrance to the bathroom for guests; the only decorative presence in this space is a washstand carved from a single block of stone, inserted into a niche.
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