I am completely enraptured by the concept of a live/work space. I’ve always been drawn to commercial spaces and that leads me to incorporate some cross-over aspects into my residential concepts when I worked as an interior designer.
This probably stems in part from my earliest influences in home decor; my father worked in every aspect of a large construction company and I toured a huge amount of model homes. Some things in the models struck me as ideal and designed but others stuck out as contrived. From the time I was very young I remember seeing waxy, fake fruit in the kitchens or trying to pick up a toy that was actually glued to a nightstand- it was very confusing.
Nevertheless I liked the idea that everything would be thought out prior to moving in a load of junk and throwing it everywhere, which is what everyone I ever knew always did, so did this ideal world actually exist anywhere?
When I grew up and started working, I found that I liked how everything in a workplace needs to stay orderly. Everything in a commercial space is ideally thought out prior in terms of usability and storage; everything has a place. Usually at home, we don’t often have time or know-how to get design a space to this level of efficiency.
I love how everything is like clockwork in a hotel or a retail shop. Cleaning, organizing, eating- everything happens on a schedule. If you haven’t guessed it, maybe it’s just my Virgo nature pushing for structure.
Ample storage, well-designed work spaces and sleek, open kitchens with butcher block-topped counters aren’t mere aesthetic luxuries to me- a well-appointed space reduces stress and improves multiple aspects of everyday living.
Graanmarkt 13 is an utterly unique combination of residence and retail space which opened in 2010 Antwerp, Belgium. The proprietors, Ilse Cornelissens and Tim Van Geloven, live on the top floor. The lower floors comprise the store which is furnished (read merchandised) with curated furnishings, fashion, jewelry, and objet d’art. Project architect Vincent Van Duysen still opted for open but cozy spaces rather than grand architecture aiming to continue the accessible, home-like atmosphere. Ilse explains, “Our home, in a way, is open to everyone.”
Residence and retail further combine with a gallery space and a restaurant headed by Chef Seppe Nobels. Graanmarkt 13’s art director Bob Verhelst explains of the unorthodox program, “It’s clear we want to do it our way, not the fashion-system way as we know it today.” Custom fixtures by PSLAB light the spaces with a modern, industrial touch.
When it came to the graphics, typography and package design, the Base Design team in Brussels was chosen to create the look. They presented a fresh “anti-brand” scheme using the refined yet bold, distinctive fonts Modern n° 20 and Gotham Bold. Save for the storefront, the address that doubles as the name is never presented without an accompanying phrase, as evidenced in these clean and simple pages, awaiting a full site design.
The whole scope is just a wonderful concept, beautifully expressed. I think I need to investigate further, perhaps in person.