About the project
On the Hembrug terrain in Zaandam, an area of 42,5 hectares, a monumental industrial site was transformed by Studio Modijefsky into the home and studio of an artist couple. The studio joined forces with the client’s atelier, Studio Molen, for the design and realisation of bronze details and custom light elements. This collaboration resulted in a perfect balance between the spatial design and the sculptural elements for this freshly restored industrial heritage building.
The substantial volume of the building was divided into two levels and houses an office and a workshop on the ground floor, and a gallery space and living quarters on the first floor. The two floors are connected by two sculptural staircases, one of which leads to the home through the kitchen, and the other one brings visitors from the workshop into the gallery space.
As you enter, the interior appears sober and welcoming, defined by three main finishes – white painted materials, oak wood, and brass. The completely white walls subtly reveal the structural grid, enhanced through a play of reliefs that become traces of the function, a celebration of the building. Closer to the entrance and accessible through the second staircase, a big gallery space has been minimally designed to accommodate different kinds of events. White industrial beams overlook the herringbone wooden floor while three holes in the ceiling, previously accommodating chimneys, are now replaced with glass portholes, turning the openings into skylights.
During shows and presentations, this grand gallery space is served by the totally customised and unconventional open kitchen, which is part of the house. A central piece, the island has been carefully designed and crafted entirely in brass, completely filled with cabinets on each of the four sides and covered with a beautiful stainless-steel top. Custom made bronze handles realised by Studio Molen and pull-out wooden shelves add the finishing touches. The back of the kitchen is a system of open white shelves leaning on the transparent glass box of the main entrance. A big oak table and a set of vintage chairs are surmounted by an art piece – a self-built kayak hanging upside-down above the whole length of the table.
The living room is characterised by a series of wooden objects and vintage furniture pieces that add warmth to the space. A comfortable sofa faces a wood-burning stove. Past the hallway, sliding doors lead to the guest room with a walk-in closet and bathroom. The ceiling almost doubles in height in the master bedroom with natural light and different plant species creating an enchanted atmosphere. The height of the ceiling allows for a mezzanine floor to overlook the room and the view. The steps leading to this ‘room-in-the-room’ hide a wooden closet refined by a simple yet detailed white metal railing.
A balcony-like space hosts a free-standing bathtub with a ceiling window that allows for stargazing while taking a bath, being surrounded by numerous plants visually connecting the two levels. The crazy layout of this room derives from a mix of choices reflecting the extravagant personalities of the owners. On the north walls of the bedroom, bathroom and living room, the original windows left without function due to the annexation of a new building, are now used as light boxes that diffuse warm light into the rooms. The white herringbone floor tiles of toilets and bathroom complement the oak wood and white marble of the cabinets, while high mirrors above the sinks enhance the ceiling height. Bronze light fixtures, designed and crafted by the client’s atelier, can be found throughout the space as small pleasant surprises. A system of minimalistic white shutters designed by Studio Molen allows to modify the original openness of the industrial building, making it into a liveable space and allowing the inhabitants to regulate the amount of desired light throughout the day in all the areas of the house.