A church transformed into The Jane by Piet Boon Studio
Dutch design studio Piet Boon has recently completed the transformation of the church of a former military hospital into The Jane in Antwerp, a gourmet destination that combines fine dining with a rock ‘n roll aesthetic.
The Jane consists of a main dining area (which occupies the church’s main hall and can sit 65) and a bar on the upper floor simply called The Upper Room Bar – which also serves light snacks prepared behind the bar. The kitchen has been placed under the magnificent apse, where the altar used to be, and is encased within glass walls making the entire cooking process visible to patrons. Various tattoo-inspired engravings decorate the stainless steel surfaces of the kitchen, while a light installation in the shape of a skull overlooks the restaurant’s patrons with a big grin from high above.
Michelin-star chef Sergio Herman and chef Nick Bril created their “fine dining meets rock ’n roll” restaurant vision together with Piet Boon over three years ago in this mythical location in Antwerp; the chapel of a former military hospital. Piet Boon® Studio, responsible for the interior design and styling of The Jane, since then collaborated in the chapel’s unique transformation into a high-end, contemporary restaurant with international allure where experience is key.
Based on her belief in authenticity, functionality and materials that « age beautifully » Piet Boon® Studio chose to restore only the highly necessary in the chapel and hence preserve the rest. The original ceiling amongst others conveys the pure, understated and respectful environment that serves as the authentic host for the ultimate fine dining experience.
The original altar gave way to the kitchen that – just like the atelier- is embraced by glass, like a modern shrine. It allows guests to witness everything the team creates for them.
The shared passion of Herman, Bril and Boon to work with pure, rich materials is expressed in the interior in which qualitatively outstanding natural stone, leather and oak wood are used.
Moreover Piet Boon® Studio, as with many of her projects, collaborated with a number of leading creative partners to shape the “fine dining meets rock ’n roll” character of the overall experience. Studio Job, Mathieu Nab and .PSLAB and others each delivered their signature part within the total concept.
Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job designed the windows consisting of 500 unique panels. Inspired by the chapel’s original function, foam spatulas, sunflowers, devils, skulls, babies, Jezus on the cross, dice, apple cores, wrenches, ice cream cones, a canon, croissants, penguins, trophies, gas masks and birthday cakes portray a contemporary translation of the old stained-glass windows. Archetypes from various worlds each tell masterpiece stories of good and evil, rich and poor, life and death as well as good food and religion.
The « piece de résistance » in the center of the restaurant is a 800 kilograms-weighing gigantic chandelier of 12 by 9 meters with over 150 lights, designed by the Beirut-based design studio .PSLAB. The chandelier was created in such a way that it contributes to the intimate and ambient divinity of the chapel interior. The team, specialised in the design and production of site-specific contemporary lighting, laid out an overall lighting plan for The Jane to accentuate the unique elements of both the building and the interior. It is aimed to create a scenic ambience by seamlessly combining artistry and engineering.
Together with Belgian company SERAX, specialised in decoration accessories, Piet Boon® designed tableware that conveys a shared passion for attention to detail and perfection. Base by Piet Boon® is a high quality bone white porcelain collection combining functionality and design. The tableware has high thermal stability, is lead- and cadmium free and will be featured in the The Jane’s Upper Room Bar.
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