Vincent Van Duysen Architects were asked for the third time by Carrières Du Hainaut, a leading supplier of the original Belgian bluestone, to design them an exhibition booth for the Interieur 2012 Biennale in Kortrijk. The purpose of the stand was to show visitors the material, its numerous finishes and its possible applications.The concept went beyond the typical trade-show booth and approached the project in an architectural way. A three-dimensional composition was designed, with seemingly monolithic bluestone walls, positioned orthogonally on a grid. The visitors were able to enter the created spaces, and once inside, they were completely enclosed by bluestone in different finishes to allow them to experience the material up close.
The composition of surfaces and walls took place across two levels: the walls on the bottom layer created a route, demarcating the various spaces visitors could enter and where they could immerse themselves in the experience. On a higher level, again a composition of surfaces defined a second, cross-shaped space. This area was not accessible, but was clearly delineated, and created different atmospheres in the areas below. This overhead space was lined in gold leaf, lit to create a golden glow in the lower spaces.The stand felt warm and intimate despite the inherently cold nature of the bluestone. The result was a spatial experience with an almost sacred atmosphere, generating a sense of wonder and emotion.
Koen Van Damme