Apartment No. 10

This project is located in Genk, a town in Belgian Limburg at a convenient distance to Antwerp, Brussels and Cologne. Our clients acquired an apartment and an adjacent office in a building under construction and commissioned us to design their interiors with a peculiar statement: the project should evoke Portugal.

Having lived in Belgium for a few years, we remember the feebleness of natural light, and wondered how we could load that light with intensity and warmth. We started by testing traditional Southern materials – ceramic, terrazzo, terracotta tiles – but they didn't seem to lay well in that building in Genk. Among the many materials we have in the office, we found a box of dyed HDF samples. One of the samples has the colour and texture of common terracotta tiles, but the lightness and versatility of a plant-based material: it allows you to make walls, doors, cabinets and shelves.

We worked this material like the skin of a body; a body that expands and contracts, that leans against the walls and detaches from them, distinguishing and articulating spaces. When expanding, this body becomes inhabitable, opening spaces impregnated with colour and texture. When contracting, it creates corners or backgrounds that just temper the light and colour of simple and silent spaces.
Apartment and office share the same compositional and material strategy – as close relatives – although the office includes an additional material: brushed aluminium. This material envelops a central volume which houses secondary spaces and distinguishes work and meeting spaces. The aluminium has a similar tone to the reconstituted stone of the floor, but its shine combines with the dyed HDF and makes light even more tangible.

Both projects encompass, in addition to architecture, lighting and furniture. The office also has a set of wonderful etchings by José Pedro Croft.

Title Apartment No. 10 — Limburg
Location Genk, Belgium
Built Area 75 m²
Site Area 95 m²
Conclusion 2020
Team Vasco Matias Correia, Patrícia Ferreira de Sousa and Joana Ramos
Photography Tim Van de Velde