The Design Station’s striking architecture makes it stand out on this esplanade previously dominated by the Station and the Finance Tower. Without wanting to compete with them, the building is sufficiently original to detach itself from the alignment of the built environment. Its « design » image is innovative and iconic. The Design Station provides a significant entrance into the new residential neighbourhood.
The base on two floors is largely made of glass. It is overhung with a volume covered with micro-perforated fabric walls. This transparent base provides an interconnection between the ground floor and the esplanade. It offers the possibility of extending events and exhibitions to the outside the Design Station onto the square and into the pedestrian alley.
The covering of the facade with a micro-perforated supple fabric gives the place a particular charm. This façade consisting of a turquoise rain flap and a grey fabric was unveiled during the Metamorphosis show. Although this is the first time this material has been used in Belgium to clad a building, it has already proved its worth abroad, particularly in France (Gymnasium in Tourcoing and football stadium in Dunkirk). Its appearance will change not only with lighting conditions during the day and at night, but also with the weather and will thus never be the same twice. The fabric covering of the windows provides solar protection and allows the use of lighting effects in the evening when they are illuminated. In addition to these effects, the window boxes will be used as showcases for exhibiting and enhancing creations .
Finally, the triangular, overhung window enhances the building’s central area: the business incubator.
The ground floor and the first floor are given over exclusively to the reception of visitors, to exhibitions and to public events.
This space is a huge volume on two floors, separated from the outside by a wide glass panel. A mezzanine overlooking the ground floor space is designed as a relaxation area and is ideal for breaks or catering.
A central conical glass volume interconnects all the building’s floors up to the roof. It acts as a skylight and is the building’s central point. It also provides a number of diagonal views.
The modular conference room on the first floor can be converted into several meeting rooms and is equipped with audio-video equipment.
While the ground floor and the first floor are places that can be accessed at all times by visitors, the second floor is reserved for co-working, brainstorming and prototyping. The strong architectural element of this floor is the slanted glass wall providing exceptional views over the esplanade.
The third and fourth floors are more traditional in design. They house a business centre: offices, meeting room, kitchenette and toilets. Wallonia Design’s office and its large terrace also overlooking the esplanade are also located here