Monday, March 28, 2011


SAQ, a Brussels based conceptual and interdisciplinary design agency, describes itself as specializing in the development of spatial sceneries and concepts. The shape of its projects, intensely collaborative and inventive-- changes constantly--mostly guided and influenced by the evolution of changes within societies as well as up and coming technology. The scope of SAQ’s design  is very broad, moving well beyond that of a traditional architecture firm: at one end of the scale, SAQ may be asked to contribute concepts for marketing strategies and at the other, to create installations for public events. Every venture or concept undertaken by SAQ strives to deliver powerful and moving experiences, to stimulate all the senses and create a space, at times forming an event unto itself.

SAQ can boast about an extraordinary array of design schemes, ranging from a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle representing cloud structures, to its ongoing MasterPlans project, which consists of towering office complexes designed to reconstruct and revitalize formerly desolate city centers in Bucharest and Brussels.  As SAQ says, “scale is no parameter.”

Light: SAQ’s usage of light is clever--tending to play effortlessly with its influence and its relationship with texture and scale.  For instance, SAQ’s  Caged Beauty for Moroso, an office/residential structure of stacked cages, festooned with large stylized butterflies are illuminated by bright white light (pictured below).

As opposed to Jaga Experience Truck, a “mobile lounge” (featured below) mounted on a truck, which uses colored light--as though it were stained glass or a 70’s light show.  A restful, muted green light, also plays an important role in SAQ’s New York based Hudson Hall Restaurant—leaf-filtered light from Hudson Hall’s nearby park appears to seep through the windows near the ceiling.  (See below).  

Texture: Although SAQ’s New York and Brussels restaurant projects and its retail store in Paris, appear entirely different: a focus on texture–smooth dark wood, bright bronze, and rough recycled painted wood--unites them.  SAQ transformed the Hudson Hall Restaurant in New York into a medieval style dining hall. The long extended wooden common tables and seats are set off by elaborately wrought large wooden chairs in the smaller dining areas, (pictured below).  

In complete contrast, the focal points of the light with the sparkling Kwint Restaurant in Brussels, is the massive crumpled bronze sculptures, dramatic in its appearance at entry, which then fluidly continues to soar through over the dining tables.  (See below).  

But it is SAQ’s L’Eclaireur Store, (pictured left), in Paris that creates a true textural fantasy. The walls and display booths, scattered at irregular intervals, are of rough recycled layered wood painted in a mellow ivory--elegant and enigmatic. The effect is of beautiful bricolage: One has to search for the merchandise, almost like their reaching for hidden gems. 

SAQ Showreel from SAQ

Upcoming projects/MasterPlan: At the other end of the design and construction scale are SAQ’s MasterPlans significant ongoing projects for Brussels and Bucharest in Romania. Both building complexes are designed to revitalize city centers to provide for both office and public space, and to pay homage to the site’s original identity.  (Renderings pictured below). SAQ’s BelAir Mixed Complex in Brussels Belgium, on the site of the ca. 50’s National Administrative Centre, is a towering irregularly shaped building with translucent glass also set in irregular patterns.  In Bucharest, Romania, the B1 Office Tower is visibly airy despite its size, and balanced despite its construction--seeming to be off centered. SAQ’s new spatial sceneries and concepts will help facilitate the evolution of two new and vibrant city centers--just business as usual for the interdisciplinary conceptual design agency--pushing the envelope, as they have in all their other endeavors. 

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