Industrial Chic in Jo ’Burg

Industrial Chic in Jo ’Burg

Location
Brussels, Belgium | View Map
Category
Housing
Hans Fonk

Industrial Chic in Jo 'Burg

OBJEKTⒸInternational as Publishers

It is a house of reverse logic. Things that would not work in almost any other interior are logical here. Take a four-metre long couch and two queen-size beds in the bedroom bordering the swimming pool, or nine-metre long dining tables seating some 40 guests - these are what make this interior what it is: eccentric with a dash of industrial chic. The house reflects the energy of its occupants - a family with two children and seven dogs (Brussels Griffons), the smallest of which is called Mouse. Here, in a residential neighbourhood of Johannesburg, designer Brian Leib has created an interior in the ‘art for living’ series.


The original brick-built structure included all the necessities required for 1980’s South African living, modular confined spaces and designated functional areas all constricted to a small corner of the available oneacre stand. In consultation with the architect Aurelio Cimato, the structural engineer, landscaper and the owners, interior designer Brian Leib envisioned a bespoke living environment taking in all of what the site had to offer. “I walked onto site and knew exactly what I wanted to do with the renovation and what had to change”, he says. Such was the extent of the renovation that the house now incorporates two nine-metre cast dining room tables, each able to seat 24 guests.


Many of the house’s internal walls were removed and replaced with steel post and lintel structures. Off-shutter concrete walls signified by their grommet-scarring were used to demarcate exterior zones and create dramatic backdrops. Dropped ceilings and bulkheads incorporate mood lighting and the house’s vast network of electrical arteries. The all white interior, including speciality composite vinyl flooring imported from France, is the only attribute that Leib uses on which to focus his custom designed furniture and objets d’art. “The new design creates maximum flow”, says the designer: enormous bi-fold doors, when opened to their full extent, create apertures through which the indoors becomes outdoors, a holistic and soothing combination of nature and nurture. Brian’s current trend in interior styling is fusing elegant chic, classical and contemporary lines, textures, patinas and organic elements. “Natural element design lends itself to interiors in a very unique way the contrast and offset created by raw elements brings about a profound sense of realism.”


The use of raw and discarded materials as ‘objet’ and furniture also plays its part in the role of eco-design. The flow of this particular interior was specifically important for the family that entertains on a grand scale; a causal dinner could receive 40 guests. The large open plan space incorporates the kitchen, dining room, two seating areas, set back to back, and an occasional two-seater pause spot for a more intimate discussion. Brian loves to have fun with his interiors and believes that you have to have a sense of humour, “in all that happens in our day-to-day lives, it’s important to have something that makes you smile” he says. One of his humorous traits is to use a plethora of different fabrics for his dining room seating, he loves the way people observe the setting and then make their own decisions about where to sit. In this space, the table decoration and accessories are sleek and sophisticated, allowing the room to blend into the other spaces. The beaded wire-frame pendant chandeliers are also somewhat contradictory to the modern lines of a contemporary space, but they exist perfectly in balance with the oddness of the incorporated organic pieces; a humorous approach to the ordinary. The enormity of the space is emphasised by the extended and seamless linear structures.


An organically wrapped bark sphere offsets the low-slung off-shutter counter running parallel to the dining setting, while the mirror clad walls reflect the continuity of space. Leading off one central reception area are the private living quarters of the house, which incorporate three en suite bedrooms all fully equipped with 21st- century necessities. Each room styled to accommodate the personality of its occupants. From rock star inspired designer suite to the more casual and relaxed, all of which bar one are connected by a twelve-metre lap pool, neatly incorporated into a private courtyard. The main bedroom features two side-by-side queen-size beds, and an entire display of Carlucci cushions set against a Zimmer & Rhode fabric headboard and upholstered wall, behind which is a four-metre bespoke couch. “The couch had to be designed to accommodate the whole family including the seven Griffons for a night of movie-watching.” The walls are embellished with glass embossed Ulf Moritz wallpaper and double-hanging curtain treatments provide either filtered or blocked exterior light. Furniture accessories again combine the organic and the contemporary. The mirrored bedside pedestals reflect the colours and textures from the surrounding. “I like bedrooms to be neutral” says the designer, who recommends a soft palette for the ultimate in rest and relaxation. The black & white bedroom was specifically designed for the daughter in the family. Her interests clearly visible the room, the room features, faux crocodile skin clad pedestals, black crystal pendant lamps, Designers Guild wall covering and a black sequined wallpaper imported from Europe. The bed-end pedestals are made from glass. Large area rugs in pure white and raven black demarcate the functional spaces in the room. Mirrored walls reflect the pool area and pop art self-portrait. Brian’s introduction to the client was quite coincidental, by chance and without intention, but on meeting the family he knew instantly that he wanted to work with them on this project. “The energy of the people you are working with is so important, either you have a connection or you don’t,” he says.


Barry Robertson-Buttler

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