Gorgeous Home Guide: Vintage meets modern in this Belgian home

This simple, stylish flat in Brussels is the home of Belgian lighting designer Nathalie Dewez and contrasts vintage furniture with the clean lines of her sculptural designs. Take a look around here...

For Belgian lighting designer Nathalie Dewez, the relationship between lighting and the home is everything. Be it daylight or artificial, she uses light to transform a space, define an interior and change a mood. Describing her white-painted home as like a light box - at its best at the end of the day when it simply glows - Nathalie’s 1930s rooftop apartment in Brussels shows off her clever skills in lighting to brilliant effect.

Graduating in interior architecture at Ensav La Cambre school of visual arts in Brussels before opting to design lamps, for Nathalie, the concept of light is inseparably connected with space. “Even though I’m now more occupied with designing objects, I’m still really pleased that I studied interior architecture, as it taught me to reflect on volumes and the relationship between the object and the space surrounding it,” she explains.

Describing her sculptural-based designs as “minimal and quite graphic”, Nathalie’s lighting, like her apartment, is beautiful in its simplicity. Less about materials, more about form, the accent is on the light and how it links with the interior. “As a designer, lighting itself is an incredible material to use. It’s a non-material that can be made to disappear or used to transform a space with its intensity and direction.”

When she is not in her studio, home is this apartment spread over two floors of a period building in the fashionable district of St Gilles. With views spanning over the city, Nathalie moved here two and a half years ago, taken by the idea of living in an attic space - for the view, the light, and the peace and quiet.

Previously a series of small spaces, the apartment was opened up by Natalie when she moved in and she combined the living and dining room into one large area, whilst cutting into the rafters to create a bedroom area on the second floor. “Before when you walked in to the apartment, the front door opened onto a long and dark corridor with four doors leading into each room,” explains Nathalie. “It was a shame as you couldn’t appreciate the high ceilings.” The end result is a cosy and comfortable, fluid space that reflects Nathalie’s minimal taste whilst providing the perfect backdrop for her things.

Nathalie’s innate feel for sculptural, organic forms is evident in all her projects, from the austerity of the carbon fibre ‘Danse’ floor lamp, which gently rocks on its spherical base, to the simply decorated north European style of her home. With white painted floors and walls, the interior is a blank canvas for Nathalie to tell her life story through the things she has been given by friends or family heirlooms that have been handed down over the years. Each item has a history, whether it’s the Thonet bench and chairs from her grandfathers’s house or the lucky golden cat that sits on the living room shelves - a souvenir brought back from a work trip to Beijing, he is supposed to bring good fortune.

“I’m surrounded by things that remind me of something or someone,” she says. “Many objects have a special significance for me; they remind me of a particular event or a place from my childhood. That makes them timeless and unique. I would hope that my lamps were built to last as well.”

Words adapted from: Claire Bingham

Photos: Chris Tubbs

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor