The designers respected the existing structures of the building while creating rich, sumptuous interiors and injecting light humour into the spaces with carefully selected taxidermy pieces.AHEAD Awards judging panel
Château de Vignée
Residing in a still life painting
Château de Vignée was a classic hunters’ hotel in the Belgian Ardennes with a clear goal in mind. To become an all-encompassing luxury retreat for its guests to escape a fast-paced society. Those guests being the more conventional existing clientele of the estate on one hand and modern-day traveller with high-end design needs on the other.
Intrigued by de estate’s century-long link with hunting, our initial inspiration came from dramatic 18th century ‘nature morte’ paintings portraying the art of hunting in a claire-obscure manner. But along the way, it naturally evolved into a design concept drawing from the sensorial experience of a hunter exploring the Ardennes. We imagined how it must feel for a hunter to wander the woods at 5 o’clock in the morning. The textures, the sounds, the first sunlight shimmering through the leaf canopy. A recognizable experience for hotel guests. At the same time, we respected the building and site and searched for the right balance between heritage and marvel. We wanted to make it genuinely fun for guests to be there.
Nestled alongside the river Lesse, the boutique hotel includes 25 bespoke rooms, a bar and lounge area, a fine dining restaurant, a private dining room, two event venues and a spa.
Entering the main chateau building immediately sets the tone. A seasonal faux flower installation descends from the sky in the lobby. Rays of sunlight seem to pierce through the greenery.
In the bar section, a custom designed bas-relief in the backbar catches the eye. The hunting scene is made up out of Ardennes sourced Blue Stone.
In the lounge, traditional taxidermy pieces made room for morbid, yet humoristic art objects created by Dutch design duo Les Deux Garçons.
Beware of the silverware in the private dining. The magpie’s fascination for all things shiny resulted in an unusual wall unit.
The interior design of the rooms echoes the fluid beauty of the Ardennes region. Expressive and flamboyant on occasion, but equally pure and tranquil at other points in time.
The visual identity draws from the same hunting narrative, but focusses on the signature beauty of the Ardennes from up close. Every season trees grow, rivers swell and dry out, animals arrive and migrate, ... and with them the textures, graphical patterns and colour palette evolve. So we created an evolutive branding following nature’s rhythm. It changes every season to align with the guest experience.