Interior Design “Facelift” for Hotel Sofitel Brussels Le Louise

October 2009 – When Portuguese designer, architect, all-round artist and top chef Antoine PINTO takes on a new project he gives it 200% of his creativity – something we have recently witnessed again in the reopening of the Hotel Sofitel Brussels Le Louise, a five star hotel on Guldenvlieslaan in the fashionable Louisa district. As we have come to expect from Pinto this was no superficial touch-up of the hotel’s interior but a complete architectural make-over.  The monumental eye-catcher in this ingenious facelift is a translucent wall à jour made from DuPont™ Corian® solid surfaces, which creates a unique atmosphere in the hotel lobby.

In the meantime lovers of integral interior design with a nose for a truly innovative project have found their way to number 40 Guldenvlieslaan.  With good reason too; in renovating the Hotel Sofitel Brussels Le Louise, Antoine Pinto, who is not working on his first project in Belgium, was faced with a sizeable challenge. In what is an extremely complicated technical/architectural context he has managed to open up visually the narrow entrance, lobby and adjacent Cristal Lounge, elevating them to the five-star status that this top class hotel amply merits.


Majestic lace wall

Pinto has been a Belgian national for decades and so far he has created many a remarkable integral project. Consider, for example, the La Quincaillerie and Belga Queen restaurants in Brussels, the Docks Café in Antwerp and the Ostend Queen in Ostend. He knows the catering trade inside-out – not just as an architect, but from the kitchen too – and knows exactly how to throw the ingredients together to turn any hotel or restaurant into an unerring success. As a complete all-round artist Pinto’s approach is one of integration.  A make-over that carries his hallmark involves the whole of the interior, including the furniture, the decoration, the cutlery and even the clothes of the restaurant personnel.


Antoine Pinto: “It takes a lot of insight and a sound knowledge of materials to put together a success formula like this.  I’ve known about and exploited DuPont™ Corian®’s properties as a solid, non-porous surface material for some time now, but had to set exceptionally high requirements when applying it in the Sofitel Brussels Le Louise project.

I based the concept of the magisterial wall dominating the hotel lobby on a mediaeval pattern of Brussels lace, which had to be carved à jour from the solid piece of DuPont™ Corian®.  It took a long time to find a company that was able to carve this complicated decorative pattern, and they did it using water jet technology.

The result, which I like to call a “cultural relief”, is rich in symbolism.  After all, Brussels lace was for a long time an important source of income for many of the city’s residents.  Indirect lighting is used behind the 8-metre high wall, which features an enlarged pattern of lace in translucent DuPont™ Corian®.  The visual effect is remarkable: it opens up the relatively narrow, dark and cold entrance and lobby in a decorative way, bathes them in light, and creates airiness.”


Carefully composed contrasts

Pinto wouldn’t be Pinto if he didn’t go for a remarkable contrasting effect. The glass walls of the impressive escalator leading to the lobby entrance are bathed in a mix of amethyst and blue light – colours that emanate from the impressive crystal chandelier high up against the ceiling, which measures 3.5 metres by 2. The light from the “lace wall” is reflected by the mysterious violet of the chandelier, creating a unique interplay of light.

This mixture of amethyst and blue recurs in the interior of the hotel’s Cristal Lounge restaurant/ bar. Antoine Pinto took great care over the furniture, which features tables in wengé wood with built-in lighting. Another salient feature is the immense “Coeur de Bruxelles” easy chairs by Belgian manufacturer Durlet.

In a nutshell: the revamped Hotel Sofitel Brussels Le Louise has regained its regal allure, and not merely for its innovative architectural concept: in the Cristal Lounge top chef Serge Eymery guarantees diners authentic five-star cuisine.



Designer: Antoine Pinto




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