Belgian creative agency Dift has enlisted furniture brands including Artifort and Ikea to turn the rooms of a school set for demolition into temporary hotel suites during Biennale Interieur 2014 (+ slideshow).
Dift’s Eyes/Nights Only project for the Kortrijk design event is located in one of the oldest parts of the city’s Broelschool, which was formerly a nunnery.
Related story: Jaime Hayón refurbishes Room 506 in Arne Jacobsen’s SAS Hotel
The abandoned building will soon be knocked down to make way for luxury flats, but has been repurposed for the 10-day festival.
Dift decided to bring life back into a series of rooms over two floors. “Our rationale was creating affordable sleeping space for designers and design lovers,” studio co-founder Bert Pieters told Dezeen.
“We quickly understood our focus should be creating inspiring rooms. We wanted it to be a haven for those who are on the road during events like the Biennale Interieur, and a nice exhibition to visit.”
By day, visitors to the biennale can explore the spaces. Then after 9pm, the exhibition closes so guests can get comfortable in their lodgings for the night.
There’s also a two-hour slot in the mornings between occupants leaving and visitors arriving for the rooms to be cleaned and tidied.
To furnish the rooms, the agency approached furniture brands to come up with interpretations of a hotel room using their own products – sometimes singularly, and sometimes in pairs or groups.
“We started contacting different brands to see what their take on a hotel room might be,” said Pieters. “Most of them were enthusiastic as soon as they visited the building.”
The Broelschool’s original features – including colourful walls, ornate cornicing and patterned tiles – are different in each room, though are slightly dilapidated. The brands had to adapt their own styles to complement these palettes and materials.
“The great thing is people often don’t see immediately which brand it is and are surprised by the brand’s approach,” Pieters said.
Swedish furniture company Ikea’s space is built as a filing cabinet for dreams, using its Nornas modular storage system in green to form tall partitions on both sides of the sleeping area. Small toy sheep are suspended over the bed to help the occupant drift off.
On the other side is a lounge and dining area, where grey sofas are scattered with cushions is various shades of green and a dark trestle table sits on the patterned tile floor.
The Arbijt room designed by Olivier Roels is built as a raised wooden structure, broken up by gauze panels into different zones for sleeping and dressing.
An ornate green-painted room is filled with simple neutral furniture by Dutch brand Artifort, while the Old Master’s Room has been kitted out by Antwerp store Espoo using minimal Scandinavian pieces and lots of plants.
For the smallest room in the project, Dift designed a graphic wallpaper print based on the glasswork of the building and designer Ilse Acke added translucent curtains striped with the colours of the surroundings.
Belgian store Ydee brought in furniture from its collection by Danish brands Muuto and Normann Copenhagen to complement the pink hues of Boss Paints’ latest range, which have been used to redecorate the walls and ceiling.
Two beds in this space are arranged head to head at an oblique angle across the room, separated by a shelving unit made up of wooden boxes.
One pastel-coloured space is minimally furnished by Belgian lighting brand Vormen, while Orac Decor is displaying its coving products around the room and on the headrest in another.
Samsung and Atelier Belge teamed up to kit out the laundry room, and the lobby features furnishings by Durlet.
Eyes/Nights Only is open for the duration of Biennale Interieur 2014, which continues until 26 October.