A place steeped in history gets a new face
Times change – valuable things therefore need to be preserved. This is also the case with De Koolputten (English: "The Coal Mine"), which used to be a family coal business in Waasland, East Flanders. 100 years ago this used to be a trading port and the economic centre of the region. Now, the historic site is home to a leisure and business hot spot - as diverse as it is sophisticated. Today, guests will find a gourmet restaurant, a bed & breakfast, an event hall and an art gallery there on the banks of the Durme. After the former factory building underwent a complete makeover just a few years after it fell into a state of dilapidation, the spaces between the renovated walls are now the perfect place to enjoy sophisticated dining.
Manuel Gordts of GMF Architecten, who became responsible for the project to revive De Koolputten, first took a close look at the character of the location. An important issue to him was to not only honour the complex history and architecture of the centuries-old building. but to also capture and reflect the charm of the surrounding nature. Airy, bright and open - these design aspirations of the architectural team characterise the newly revived De Koolputten with its high glass fronts and moving light games.
However, such an extraordinary setting also requires sensitivity for the right products and material. “In such a large space, it is difficult to create the right atmosphere. In doing so, lighting plays a decisive role. As soon as visitors enter, they should feel at ease and at home. The top priority, therefore: to create a cosy atmosphere. The WIRO and RAY luminaries chosen in combination with the warm materials of wood and natural stone have a particularly snug effect and at the same time bring lightness into the architecture. On the intermediate storey, WIRO dances with the roof timbering and creates a lively dynamic on the ceiling with suspensions of different heights.
RAY is used to enhance it all: The wall luminary provides soft, soothing light and emphasises both the texture of the brick walls and their characteristic column structure. The B&B rooms convey the impression of an exquisite ambience and yet a bit of being at home at the same time. WETRO luminaries were used there, whose smoked glass shades cast a unique, cosy glow. A special type of suspension creates an even more effective atmosphere in the rooms. For Peter Serneels, the Location Manager, a dream team has succeeded on the banks of the magical Durme: Light, spaces and surroundings in perfect harmony.