Belgian designer and architect Lionel Jadot revisits old ways when approaching his designs. The self-taught creative drew on the idea of medieval craft guilds when he founded Zaventem Ateliers in 2018—the 19th-century paper factory was reimagined as a creative hub, with 32 workshops and affiliation with 24 artisans. As in days of yore, the skills-based collective shares resources, labour, and connections to maximize the community’s success.
Now, Jadot has completed what is being called his most ambitious interior design project yet, drawing on the talents of dozens of designers, artisans, and craftspeople through Zaventem Ateliers to create Mix, a massive multipurpose hospitality space set between Brussels and the Sonian Forest. The four-star hotel, which opened in June, is housed in the former La Royale Belge insurance headquarters, a 1960s building designed by René Stapels and Pierre Dufau according to the principle of functionalism, which prioritizes practicality over aesthetics.
With 140 rooms, 40 studio suites, a gym, wellness centre, co-working space, auditorium, three restaurants, and a food court, Mix is one of the country’s largest hospitality projects. To maintain a high attention to detail and bespoke feel in the 270,000 square feet of colourful and contemporary interiors, Jadot enlisted the help of 52 artisans, assigning the different elements and furniture pieces between them based on their individual talents.
“Our mission was to turn this gigantic iconic buildings into the ultimate showcase for Belgian collectible design—a space signed collectively by all the artisans involved and where every corner is filled with bespoke, handcrafted pieces, telling each a unique story,” Jadot explains.
The fifth generation of acclaimed Belgian furniture makers, Jadot grew up using offcuts from his father’s studio. He applies the appreciation for hard work, careful craftsmanship, and upcycling instilled in him in his childhood and during the four years in his 20s when he helped his father run the family business to the approach of his eponymous studio, which he founded 24 years ago.
In Mix, each knob, chair, and lamp is crafted by an artist, reflecting the highest-quality European design. A striking reception counter by Maison Jonckers is wrapped in hand-engraved and hand-shaped brass columns that look as if they’ve been blown by the wind. Hanging marbled salt bulbs by Parisian artist Roxane Lahidji sway in the rooms alongside abstract sheer curtains by Krjst Studio and Home Sails. And a fireplace sculpture by Jadot himself features colourful glass in place of flames.
At each turn, visitors are invited to discover a new moment of artistic excellence. “Mix is a space that arises curiosity and stays away from clichés, a true permanent group show that redefines collectible design,’’ Jadot says.
Photography by Amber Vanbossel and Mireille Roobaert.