It’s no secret architects love concrete. We love to see concrete.
Since it is structural material (and not a decorative one), left visible, it has that certain honesty we are always talking about. Plus, you can’t just decide ‘this will be visible concrete’. It can be made in situ (which means poured on site into the formwork) or prefabricated, depending on the concept of your design. You should also decide if you want it to be perfectly smooth, or it’s important to have an imprinted texture of formwork. What kind of texture? Maybe just a few joints here and there. Do you want to use special aggregate or pigment to affect its color or roughness? We love that endless list of possibilities.
Usually, clients would say something like: “Concrete is so cold.” It is not cold. Look at this space!
There are amazingly natural wooden panels in there. And sunlight. But also that framework texture imprinted in warm-grey concrete.
You can see how this house was built. The walls and slabs evidently came first, and then the furniture was built in concrete niches. Pay attention to the way a piece of furniture meets the walls, the way it meets the house. There is always a thin dilatation. It is slightly offset from a ceiling, walls, and floor – and that, our dear friend, is interior design. Not that carefully chosen, stylish plants on the kitchen countertop, but the play of kitchen fronts and sideboards, the way everything is made of two materials, so simple and so impressive.
Take a look at this wooden slab touching the very corner of the window, and the glass partition stuck between the window frame and the wall. You might think that those details are not that important, but details are everything.
And now imagine that these walls were made of plasterboard. Every other detail left the same. We are not going to lie to you, this space would still be beautiful, but that basic, clear idea of a solid, almost self-sufficient house, that was occupied by life with its furniture and its toys and books, would not exist.
To be honest, we are big fans of storage design, but every so often we change our minds. You know you did a good job when there are eleven pairs of shoes in a room you designed and it still looks great.
You can tell how this, not just interior but entire house, was designed so advisedly, by the way, it seems so simple. There is so much work behind that simplicity. You should really see other projects from i.s.m.architecten. We had the hardest time choosing this one because every single one is our favorite.
Architecture: i.s.m.architecten icw Bataille & ibens
Interior design: i.s.m.architecten
Location: Grimbergen, Belgium
Contractor: Bouwbedrijf De Hauwere
Structural engineering: util
Photographer: © Luis Diaz Diaz