A design feast at L’air du temps

04.02.2016 - Dries Tack

Not far from Eghezée, the Michelin star restaurant L’air du temps artfully combines gastronomy and design. In search of a unique atmosphere for his establishment, Sang-Hoon Degeimbre called on the talents of the designer Quentin de Coster. He designed an installation exuding sensuality that complements the taste experience served up by the chef.

A design feast at L’air du temps

© Stéphanie Biteau

The LIANES installation has been paired with the dishes of L’air du temps for over a year. How do you feel about the project?

Q. de C.: I’m very satisfied. We’ve achieved our goals: the installation creates the ideal conditions for diners to enjoy their meal and gives the dining rooms a real personality. I’m also pleased that the L’air du temps team has been so supportive of the project. The rope, the main material in the installation, is used and developed for other purposes, presentation for example.

S-H D.: The project fulfils its twofold function. Quentin came up with a solution that is both very present and yet invisible. It is now an integral part of the space while imbuing it with a very special atmosphere. LIANES also gives a completely new take on traditional acoustic measures. This is what we set out to do.

Could you tell us more about the project?

Q. de C.: I proposed to approach the acoustic problem in a unique way by breaking down the structure of an acoustic wall. About 5,000 pieces of white rope are hung from the ceiling. They absorb sound waves while creating a characteristic atmosphere. The random movement of the curves of the ropes are reminiscent of creepers, hence the name LIANES, and exude an organic and natural feel, without going as far as to imitate plants.

S-H. D: When we moved the restaurant to Liernu, we had a farm built around a quadrangle that was refurbished but the rooms, which were white and empty, lacked character. What’s so special about Quentin’s work is that it creates a unique place while still allowing for a "non-saturated" space that can be used to take the process further.

A design feast at L’air du temps

Here, design and gastronomy are working together to create an experience. How did your collaboration come about?

S-H D.: We were both speakers at a conference in Louvain-la-Neuve. I was interested in his way of approaching his discipline. When I got the opportunity, I naturally called on his services.

Q. de C.: I think the urge to work together came about due to the similarities in how we approach our respective trades. For the LIANES project, we started off around the table without a clear idea but with the desire to create a project that expresses the working philosophy of L’air du temps.

Specifically, what are the common denominators between your practices?

Q. de C.: Basically, the minimalist approach of our work. I seek to transform matter in an attempt to capture the essence, to create the purest experience possible, one that best brings out the qualities of the product. I think Sang-Hoon sees things the same way.

S-H D.: I would say the work of creativity. At the restaurant, we continually work on developing methods that reflect our values, especially related to plants and nature. The installation succeeds in mirroring these values ​​in the same way, thanks to a creative approach to design.

A design feast at L’air du temps

Sang-Hoon Degeimbre, your restaurant enjoys renown and recognition. How does the LIANES installation contribute to your fame?

S-H D.: We communicate a lot about our work and the media follow our evolution. What goes on in the restaurant also travels with me when I participate in conferences, for example. I speak of the LIANES project as a link in a series of actions that drive our vision of gastronomy. What contributes to the reputation of L’air du temps is creativity. The integration of design in our restaurant is one of its facets.

A design feast at L’air du temps

© Stéphanie Biteau

Quentin de Coster, what inputs and lessons have you learned from this experience?

Q. de C.: I would say that this experience gives me confirmation that design can contribute, in its own way, to the development and dynamism of businesses. Design makes it possible to see the problems from another angle and, above all, to contribute the technique to materialise intellectual concepts, regardless of the field in question. This great experience of course also heightens my visibility, in Belgium and abroad. Sang-Hoon Degeimbre is internationally renowned. Working for L’Air du Temps allows me to peg the reputation of my work on the quality of an institution of great renown. Media coverage around the restaurant and my intervention is more than welcome for my future work.

A design feast at L’air du temps
A design feast at L’air du temps

Sylvie Reversez


Food, Design