Dutch furniture label Lensvelt opens a penthouse showroom in Antwerp, Belgium

Lofty Ideals

Where better to showcase bespoke furniture than in-situ? For maverick Dutch label and design firm Lensvelt—purveyor of limited edition classics by top talents like Piet Boon, Willem Hendrik Gipsen, Wiel Arets, Tejo Remy, Studio Job, Richard Hutten, Piet Hein Eek, Marcel Wanders, Maarten Van Severen, Maarten Baas, Ineke Hans, and Gerrit Rietveld—a converted warehouse loft seems appropriate. Set on the top two floors of a listed late-19th-century depository, along Antwerp’s trendy Godefridus quay, the sprawling 500 square foot attic space plays host to a set of interior stagings;  showcasing pieces from the brand’s extensive collection.

Animal hide and firewood accents add warmth to the Lensvelt Loft interior. (Lucid)

Lensvelt CEO Hans Lenvelt first acquired and converted the property in 1997 with the help of Delft-based architecture firm Fokkema & Partners, but it wasn’t till 22 years later that he decided to transform the space into a live-in showroom.

At the time of purchase, the surrounding area was still a gritty port and, as Lensvelt describes, “populated by Eastern European truck drivers looking for a good time.” Since then, the neighborhood has become one of the Belgian “fashion city’s” trendiest districts. The celebrated MAS Museum and designer Dries van Noten are notable residents. After having visited over 20 warehouses, this locale piqued his interest. Regardless of the neighborhoods seedy reputation, the loft’s aesthetic reminded him of the office decor in a Donald Sutherland film he had recently seen and enjoyed. With that direct emotional reference and other key attributes: size, material, proximity, Lensvelt was sold and maintained the space as a private residence for over two decades.

The overall intervention employs a trendy color palette including aqua blues, and gold...

...set against the contrasting exposed wood structure and white wall interior. (Lucid)

For the most recent renovation of the loft, Lensvelts sought to create an interior that could highlight but also integrate key works in the brand’s extensive inventory. The project also shows Lensvelt’s prowess in interior design. Sharp aqua blue and green upholstery adorn chairs and carpets while golden finishes crop-up in furniture hardware and large pendant lamps. Rich wooden textures carry through a floating staircase that leads up into the roof and an outdoor terrace. Animal hides and a stack of firewood add warmth to the loft’s living room.

A kitchen and dinning room sit on a second balcony level. (Lucid)

Various colorful furnishings and accessories from the Lensvelt collection help break up the white interior. (Lucid)

Pictured here are chairs from the Shaker bar stool series by Joep Van Lieshout. (Jan Willem Kaldenbach)

Two semi-translucent cube-inserts enclose an intimate bedroom and bathroom, one of which supports a balcony level: the loft’s kitchen and minimalistic dining room. the locale’s exposed wood-beam structure was recently restored to contrast with its white wall glazing and create a striking backdrop for the overall mise-en-scene. Bulky accessories, indicative of contemporary Dutch design, are dotted throughout the Escher-esque residence. however light and airy it may be, the Lensvelts loft becomes a cabinet of courtesies that, in many respects, pays homage to the Benelux region’s dexterity in design.

The listed Marnix warehouse building sits on Antwerp's once gritty, now trendy Godefridus quay. (Lucid)

Elevations and plans reveal how the former warehouse was converted into a duplex loft.

(Courtesy Fokkema & Partners)