Egyptians are among the most romantic thinkers I’ve met. Their hearts are so often tangled up in their work, resulting not only in a lot of drama, but incomparable and resplendent art. And Bassam El Okeily’s striking Narrow House in Belgium is no exception. Previously a dingy garage, the new Bilzen home now features a transparent glass facade, an expansive but minimalist interior and an exciting reverie of light and shadow play. Although he is less known in the Arab world, the Brussels and Paris based designer easily competes with any of the world’s most renowned “starchitects.” Step in to see beautiful images of this unusual home.
The client, an artist and art historian who have been married for forty years, sought a home that would represent their life’s work, but the space that El Okeily was tasked to transform presented a serious design challenge. Why? Because it is only five meters across.
In order to cater to their respective needs, the husband Mikey Bienkens needs a quiet reflective space where he can research in peace, while Renée Menten refers to herself as something of an exhibitionist who needs to share her creations. As such, the lower half of the home is secluded, for Mikey, and the upper half is open and airy.
For earth-loving Green Prophet readers, the stark white interior might be somewhat off-putting. But El Okeily has counterbalanced this with interior decorations that warm up the space as much as budget and other constraints allowed.
Rahel Aima, the Brownbook journalist who recently interviewed the self-proclaimed “frustrated architect,” says that “he has no interest in building glassy goldplated paeans to corruption and consumption.”
Architecture is his passion that is not motivated by financial gain; instead and his chief ambition is to impart a clean and emotive aesthetic that will speak not only to present day witnesses, but to posterity as well.
all images via Bassam El Okeily’s website
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