Opening Shot is a column that peeks inside new hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops with interiors to drool over.
Name: August Hotel
Designer: Vincent Van Duysen Architects
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
On Offer: Situated within Het Groen Kwartier, a sprawling pedestrianized district in Antwerp, is an erstwhile red-brick military hospital where Augustinian nuns once tended to 19th-century military soldiers. Belgian hotelier Mouche Van Hool, owner of the stylish Hotel Julien nearby, enlisted local architect Vincent Van Duysen to breathe new life into the historic five-building site by means of August, a 44-room retreat with a palette of restrained materials and desaturated hues that reinterprets the former convent’s ascetic living conditions.
Standout Features: Van Duysen skillfully maintains the site’s origins, a remarkable feat perhaps most prominently seen inside the bar. Located in a former chapel, the structure’s original Neoclassical pilasters and hand-painted floor tiles complement a circular Adolf Loos–like chandelier, exclusive furnishings he developed with Molteni&C, and the dramatic jet-black arched ceiling. Flanking the chapel in a sunlit corridor is the seasonal restaurant, helmed by up-and-coming chef Nick Bril who sources some of his ingredients from an adjacent rooftop urban farm. In the outdoor garden, a hidden courtyard that once housed a Madonna figure within a steel-and-cement grotto is now anchored by a pair of sculptural metal chairs that encapsulates the property’s understated richness.