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Zaventem Ateliers: Rage to Create

Aug 31, 2019

TLmagazine spoke to Lionel Jadot about his ambitious journey creating this daring and unique project close to Brussels.

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In September 2018 Lionel Jadot opened Zaventem Ateliers. For this, the Brussels designer renovated a 6000 square meter, nineteenth-century factory in the middle of Zaventem. The daring project was realized by means of an ambitious and visionary renovation and transformation of the building, which had been abandoned for over 40 years, into a contemporary arts and crafts center. TLmagazine talked to Jadot about this challenging journey.

TLmag: The project was certainly intensive and ambitious. Could you elaborate on the initial spark?

Lionel Jadot (LJ): The building was one of the engines, its size and vibration immediately directed me to a more ambitious project, the idea of ​​Zaventem Ateliers was born in a sleepless night, where everything was put in place.  I dreamed of this project and met the right people to help me achieve it.

TLmag: Could you guide us quickly in the renovation process? How did you create a contemporary space from a historical space?

LJ: The place gave off an imposing tranquil force and at the same time strong vibrations, the light was magnificent, I read the lines and felt the strength that emanated.

The renovation project has three simple ideas. First, to keep the essential and the original in its current state, do not renovate, keep the patina and the material. Second, being radical in additions, all new walls are concrete and with rounded corners. And finally, all the techniques such as switches are colored black.

TLmag: What types of creations can we find in the Zaventem workshops? More precisely: what binds them and how did you find them?

LJ: The Zaventem project was to bring together emerging and established actors from the craft, design and art sectors. What matters is their diversity and their rage to create, we must be able to feel the fire burning in them and especially Zaventem Ateliers is a place of creation, creation, and sharing.

TLmag: At the center of the Zaventem workshops, we find a large space dedicated to exhibitions and shows of people related to the initiative. This seems to be one of the main objectives of this initiative: to inspire and explore with other creatives. Could you elaborate on this idea?

LJ: The Grand Hall is a project that comes in two parts. On the one hand, it is at the disposal of residents for solo or common exhibitions that we call “Show Case” and which will take place between 5 and 6 per year. And on the other hand, there are the “import-export” projects for which we appoint an external curator who invites a non-resident designated to present a major project and non-commercial. The idea is to make live a place of strong exhibition and to give the possibility of expression to the residents and the guests in a unique space of 800 m2 within Zaventem Ateliers.

TLmag: What do you see in the future for the Zaventem workshops?

LJ: Zaventem Ateliers has 32 workshops on 6000 m2, my goal is to keep an atmosphere conducive to creation and sharing by continuing with exceptional residents who participate in the energy of the project.  I hope that Zaventem Ateliers reinforces its legitimacy in contemporary creation in Belgium and abroad.

Cover image: Lionel Jadot by Serge Anton

Following images: Zaventem Ateliers by Stan Guldemont

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