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Brussels’ new state-of-the-art hotel MIX is a design showcase thanks to Belgian creative Lionel Jadot

Mix hotel and leisure experience, Brussels Belgium
11:49 04/07/2023

Belgian architect, interior designer and filmmaker Lionel Jadot compared his latest project with directing a movie. You can see why when you enter Mix, a newly-opened lavish avant-garde hotel in Brussels that has been described as a melting pot of crazy creative ideas.

Jadot is the creative force behind the four-star 180-room experience hotel that’s peppered with extraordinary pieces of modern art.

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Occupying an important city heritage site, the hotel – complete with 40 longer-term studios – juxtaposes a state of the art gym and leisure complex, two swimming pools, three restaurants and a myriad of eateries in the expansive food hall. It also includes co-working spaces, meeting rooms and an auditorium.

Mix is the ultra-cool reincarnation of the former La Royale Belge insurance headquarters in Watermael-Boitsfort. Construction of the functional architectural masterpiece began in 1967 before opening in 1969. The UNESCO world heritage building was the brainchild of Belgian Rene Stapels, who also designed the World Trade Centre in the heart of Brussels, and Frenchman Pierre Dufau, best known for his reconstruction work in the French city of Amiens following World War Two.

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The stunning mirrored caramel-hued glass structure and ornamental ponds are set in an eight-hectare site along the handsome Boulevard de Souverain. Lying within touching distance of the Sonian Forest, a bespoke cycle route is among the many activities on offer.

Jadot, 53, won the contract to sympathetically redesign the interiors and breathe new life into the 40,000m² iconic site. He worked closely with architectural innovators, including Peter St John, Dirk Somers, DDS+ and Ma2by, to bring the project to fruition.

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The hotel, managed by Michel Andre from Limited Editions Hotels group, occupies a 21,000m² space within the building. The multi-million pound cost of the refurbishment was largely funded by a pool of property developers together with investments from local creative visionaries.

It was a collaborative venture as Jadot worked with around 50 Belgian and international artists who designed commissioned pieces for the hotel, many made from upcycled natural materials. The ambitious project, seen as a new masterpiece by many, aims to promote the artists working from Jadot’s established Zaventem Ateliers. This organisation is essentially a hot bed for artisans, artists, designers, weavers, sculptors, bladesmiths and woodworkers who all create under one roof.

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In 2015, Jadot renovated a 19th-century former paper factory near Brussels airport with the help of funding from investors, transforming it into the current successful business. The team include Brussels-based Alexandra and Gregoire Jonckers, known for their large-scale metal and mineral resin structures and Bram Vanderbeke from Ghent, whose work can be seen in the form of a 157m cast-concrete bar in the food hall.  “I don’t know many architects or designers who would invite so many others to contribute,” said Vanderbeke. “To do a crazy project like Mix, you need to be like Lionel.”

The interior also features furniture by French-born Roxane Lahidji that’s made from a natural salt composite imported from the Rhone delta. Some of the hotel’s seating – utilitarian yet innovative pieces of art - take on the appearance of carved rocks painted in an array of colours and are deceptively comfortable and soft to the touch.


Another Belgian designer, Arno Declercq, has gifted blackened-wood furniture to Mix, creating a four-metre high sculpture in the lobby. The Maison Armand Jonckers designed reception desk has a splash of Jadot thrown in, courtesy of the disco fan lights and Lagadoue curtains.

Jadot (pictured above), who is a member of the Belgian Vanhamme dynasty of furniture makers, said he wanted to create a “melting pot of styles” He added: “This way, the hotel becomes a huge communication tool. I don’t like it when everything fits together perfectly with matching colours.”

Mix Brussels Hotel

With a nod to the paper mill, a huge embossed sculpture made from recycled paper adorns the hotel reception area.  Other sculptures and structural features are fabricated from concrete, wood and metal. “I am always aware there are a lot of things left over such as marble, metal, food, paper, which we can use,” said Jadot.

Jadot, who has directed three short films, compared the design project to being at the helm of a film set as he “thinks in frames”.  He set to work designing the large spaces within the building with the word fun in mind. “If you want to create objects and projects with soul, you need to have fun. Without fun the objects will be meaningless!”

Rooms at Mix hotel start from around €200 per night. The gym, leisure complex, pools and restaurants are already open to the public, while some conference and working spaces are due to open shortly.

Photos: (main image) Louis Vielle; Lionel Jadot (c)Seppe Elewaut; all other photos courtesy of Mix hotel

Written by Kim Revill