In Antwerp, Vincent Van Duysen has transformed a former Augustinian convent on a redeveloped Military Hospital site into a modern-day sanctuary aptly named August. Turning a place once filled with piety into one of shameless hedonism, the project encompasses a hotel, bar, restaurant, wellness spa and shop.
August consists of five buildings seamlessly connected by secluded, tranquil gardens designed by Wirtz International Landscape Architects. The former Military Hospital of Antwerp is a neoclassical monument that has since been redeveloped into an urban residential village. The diverse typology of the former convent buildings served as understated and peaceful homes for the nuns who cared for the wounded and sick soldiers.
In his first ever hotel project, Van Duysen respected the historical DNA of the site and its eclectic Flemish style, restoring its neoclassical splendour in collaboration with Callebaut Architects. The addition of black metal contemporary elements signifies an upgrade to new functions and modern hospitality.
The interiors are a timeless tribute to the dedicated convent lifestyle, with each element custom-designed to contemporize the building’s heritage. The intricate designs of the original tile floors were restored, and large-scale windows allow for an abundance of natural light in contrast to the formerly closed aesthetic. Almost all elements were custom designed by Van Duysen in collaboration with brands including Molteni, Flos and Serax among others.
Colours refer to the surrounding environment including soft green timber, dark smoked oak, and black and white to represent the contrast between the contemporary (black) and the classic (white). Restored mouldings and doors, hand-painted tiles, and the white marble chapel headline classic elements of the interiors, whereas black metal elements refer to the new.