A new groundbreaking showroom for Nelissen Steenfabrieken
In January this year, brickmaking giant Nelissen Steenfabrieken opened its state-of-the-art headquarters and groundbreaking showroom in Lanaken, Belgium.
Inside, a U-shape forms the ground floor that opens towards the street and symbolises the company’s emphasis on transparency to its customers. The second level has an open space in the middle to facilitate tours and activities. On the topmost level, a U-shape structure opens towards the industrial site. In this way, the interior and exterior spaces of the building appear to merge.
Nelissen Steenfabrieken’s fourth generation family owners have also incorporated in the showroom innovative features that solidify the company’s role as forerunner of the brick industry. These include digital experimentation rooms for designers, an experience room with a large, curved 180-degree screen, and rooms that can be reserved for project consultations or other meetings. The showroom also contains an interactive museum route where visitors can discover the brick as an art object in both real life and digital reality.
“The renewed site will act as a facilitator for creative people who want to work with us to move the construction sector forward sustainably,” said Nelissen Steenfabrieken’s directors, who added: “We are combining the tangible showroom, as everyone knows it, with the ever-progressive digital world. The visitors are immersed in a digitally tinted customer experience journey.”
Nelissen Steenfabrieken was founded in 1921 and has grown from strength to strength since. As a renowned player in the industry, its meticulously crafted bricks have won top accolades. Most recently, its Dubio brick won the 2018 Henry van de Velde Award and German Design Award 2019 for its revolutionary shadow gap design that gave the illusion of two or three thinly-stacked bricks. This opened up a world of creative yet cost-effective possibilities in the building industry.
Despite all their achievements, the directors are not resting on their laurels, and are instead stepping up their game. “By mid-2019, we will have a completely updated plant with renewed machinery, adapted ovens, and brand-new drying chambers, producing 185 million bricks per year,” they said.