Fleshly delights

Didier Fiúza Faustino's avant-garde XYZ lounge for a conference centre in Ghent.
by Fabian Peters | 8/28/2018

Incarnate, literally the colour of the flesh, is what art historians call the tone of human skin. Apparently, the architect and artist Didier Fiúza Faustino has oriented himself in the design of his XYZ Lounge on the colour spectrum of the incarnate - the palette used ranges from creamy pale pink to dark olive. 

The XYZ Lounge is an avant-garde architecture of the early 21st century, housed in an avant-garde architecture of the early 20th century: the complex "Zebrastraat" was built in 1906 on the grounds of the former zoo of the Belgian city of Ghent - an annular workers' housing that surrounds a circular courtyard. After decades of neglect, the building was extensively restored shortly after the turn of the millennium and today houses not only apartments but also a conference centre. Didier Fiúza Faustino has now created the with the XYZ Lounge a new foyer, a large lounge and bar area and two multi-functional halls for this conference centre. 

During the restoration of the complex "Zebrastraat" in the years 2001 to 2005, an elongated atrium was built as the centre of the conference centre. Didier Fiúza Faustino has divided this atrium with its large skylight into a foyer and a separate lounge and bar room. He has removed the lounge and bar room from the atrium as a "house within a house" and formed it into an independent unit of space. A saddle roof made of steel profiles closes off the room at the top. 

The architect limits himself to a few forms and materials. A cross ornament appears again and again on walls and floors and not least as seat for the highly original chairs that Faustino designed for the project. A contrast to the almost exclusively "poor" materials used in the XYZ bar is formed by the marble that Faustino used as wall cladding in the lounge and bar room, for the bar and the high tables. If you look closely, you will see that it contains all the colours that the XYZ Lounge also shows - or the human skin.