|Sergio and Nick|
The renovation of a military chapel began nearly three years ago, when Michelin-star chef Sergio Herman and chef Nick Bril approached Piet Boon with a vision for “fine dining meets rock ‘n roll.” The result is reflective of Boon’s appreciation for materials that age gracefully, highlighting many of the existing textures the space contained with insertions of glass, stone, leather and oak.
Piet Boon: “Based on our belief in authenticity, functionality and materials that ‘age beautifully’ we chose to restore only the highly necessary in the chapel and hence preserve the rest. The original ceiling amongst others conveys the pure, understated and respectful environment that serves as the authentic host for the ultimate fine dining experience.”
On the spot of the former organ, there is a bar where meals and cocktails are served. The kitchen in a glass cabin has taken the place of the altar. Where the prie-dieu chairs once stood, design tables and seats have found their place. The combination of low tables and seats with regular tables makes the whole ground floor look like the pit of a theatre. “Thanks to the original floors we opted to keep intact and to the peeled-off paint of the ceiling, accentuating the age of the building and adding just that little bit of ‘squat effect’ that makes this place especially attractive. The lamps, fabrics and further decoration were in the hands of our Creative Designer Karin Meyn”, Rienk Wiersma (architect in the team of Piet Boon) explains.
Perhaps the most striking intervention is the massive chandelier that dominated the airspace of the ground floor, and extends its branches throughout the dining room. Designed by Beirut’s .PSLAB, the 800 kilogram chandelier comprises over 150 lights, extending over an area more than 100 square meters in size. It’s simultaneously imposing and intimate; although operating on a grand scale, the individual points of light seem to draw the room together.
In 2015 the Jane was acclaimed as the most beautiful restaurant in the world at the presentation of the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards in London. The Jane carried off both the Award for the ‘Best Overall Restaurant’ and the Award for the ‘Best International Restaurant’. For the occasion, the jury composed of chefs, hôteliers, designers and journalists assessed the interior decoration and the character of the catering businesses rather than their culinary achievements.
So if you’re in Antwerp do stop for dinner as the Jane is not only a design experience, but the food is also beautiful and delicious.