Immediately, an important detail became clear: the building’s treasures had to be stored. Treasures? That’s we call the valuable details that we want to save from demolition. Later, these will have a home in our new interior.
So it’s time for some treasure hunting. It’s important to carefully observe all the wonderful examples of old technology in this former electricity generating station: gauges and sight glasses, large and small valves, some with huge turning wheels, pressure relief valves and control cabinets, a wrought iron balustrade that’s been here since the early 1900s, the ensemble of pipes, vessels, pumps and rods, which, as a whole, are a wonderful example of old and often artisan techniques, or the beautiful turquoise tiles that have to be carefully loosened one by one.
It’s good to see that such actions and everyone’s respect for the monumental details are taken very seriously. It’s not child’s play; everything even slightly useable later as a reference to the building’s former function and monumentality will be removed and set aside.
But let’s not forget, the building itself is the greatest treasure. The decades of natural patina must remain visible and palpable. Thus, not all steel beams will be sanded and neatly painted; where possible they’ll be coated with the rust still on. And if a brick wall needs to be put in an old place, there are specialist messy bricklayers who can make a wall look like it’s been there for years. All so that the character of the space still refers to its original use and is maximally maintained.
A tangible connection between past and present worlds: that’s what we want in this beautiful old building, both for our digital film theatres and cosy hospitality. We are confident that this appreciation for all those beautiful old materials and details is going to be effective.
door Nico Haenen