The castle itself has no historical value. It had been rebuilt several times over the years, the roof structure was in extremely poor condition and the interior was utterly banal. Therefore, the choice was made to dismantle the castle completely and to start almost from scratch during the design process.
The client wanted the castle to be luxurious. Therefore, a modern design was sought that would still radiate a certain ‘classical’ chic.
Even when entering the chateau, details point to the modern approach, such as at the beginning of the monumental staircase in blue stone. In the entrance hall, one of the support columns was incorporated into a curved pillar, the shape of which is reflected in the natural stone floor. From the hall, the living quarters, the client’s office and the kitchen can be reached through monumental double doors. A great deal of attention was paid to the details, both in the door frames and the handles, which were inspired by Art Deco forms. These forms seemed to me to be very suitable as inspiration because they combine a clear, stylised and therefore modern language of form with great decorative freedom, and give the whole a ‘classic’ look. A slightly curved profile in the stucco ceiling, almost invisible to the eye, hides the air circulation system.
The client’s office is located at the front of the building, and has a built-in library that flows over into wooden
panelling. The eye-catcher is the ceiling, in which a stucco dome floats, covered with silver leaf.
The dome structure is intended to form a reflection shield for the light fitting that will hang below it. Silver leaf is also found in the toilet on the ground floor, where it covers a narrow niche so that it literally ‘sucks in’ the light.
Opposite the toilet, a staircase leads to the basement. Here, extra care was taken to finish the profiles of the natural stone steps. Polished sections alternate with rougher, thickened sections. One of the vaulted cellar rooms houses the jacuzzis, covered with Venetian mosaic tiles. The curved niche above the baths reflects the rounded arch of the door on the other side of the room. This door opens onto a corridor that leads to the sauna and the shower room. The basement also houses a fitness room and a large technology room.
Again on the ground floor, the big challenge was probably the dining room, an elongated space with a central fireplace mantelpiece. Large fireplaces have a tendency to come across as unwieldy, which would be inappropriate in this precarious building. However, with minimal interventions it is possible to refine an unwieldy form. For example, the corners of the mantelpiece were removed by adding a concave profile. In the same spirit, the ceiling mullions were designed, again inspired by Art Deco motifs. A staircase hall leads to the upper floors. Here, too, great care was taken with the detailing of the
profiles of the floating steps. The stairs leading from the first floor to the attic were also given a special design. In the attic, they end in a wooden footbridge that seems to be lying loose in the space.
On the first floor, a corridor leads to the parents’ sleeping quarters. At the back, one of the few original parts of the castle can be seen, the castle tower. The tower was emphasised by pulling it away from the modern renovation.
On the first floor are the bedrooms – of the parents, the children and any guests. They all have separate bathrooms. In one of the bathrooms, a technical solution was combined with a practical one. The glass wall separating the shower in one of the guest rooms from the bathroom needed to be reinforced. The reinforcement was at the same time turned into a rack for hanging bath towels. In the attic, almost all structural elements were hidden. The original beams had no historical value and had to be replaced. In a few places, the memory of the old beam structure was preserved. Furthermore, a complex structure of supporting structures was designed to divide up the space. There is an access to the tower from the attic. The ceiling of the tower room was lifted a little so that a floating floor was created in the actual tower room, situated above it. From the tower room, the roof terrace can be reached, which was incorporated into the French mansard roof.
PROJECT: OMMERSTEIN CASTLE
PROJECT MANAGEMENT: SIMONI | JENNEN
CREDITS PHOTO: © Vittorio Simoni