For this year’s Belgium Is Design, 10 Belgian designers were invited to choose manufacturers that they wanted to collaborate with. Their reasons included affinity, continuity or curiosity, and the result is a collection of products, prototypes or one-offs. Each one has been photographed by Belgian photographer Laetitia Bica in striking images that are included in the exhibition.
Capturing Belgium’s fearless sense of innovation, new horizons and mixed identities, the exhibition is titled Belgitude. Curated by Siegrid Demyttenaere of DAMN° Magazine, the initiative is a collaboration between Flanders DC, MAD Brussels and Wallonia Brussels Design Fashion. The title ‘Belgium is Design’ was created by Lise Coirier of Pro Materia in 2009 when she curated the Triennale Design Flanders “Belgium is Design. Design for Mankind”.
Bica’s photographs capture the importance of process and time for designers and manufacturers. Creation is both fast and slow, depending on whether making a prototype or investing in a more enduring long-term product. With Belgium’s renowned openness, Bica shares these behind-the-scenes nuances by including the hands and bodies of the makers in her photos.
Jean-François D'Or + Maison Vervloet continue a successful collaboration investing design accessories with poetry and a surrealistic clin d’oeil that transforms anonymous fittings like door handles and umbrella stands into a functional reveries.
Xavier Lust + Charles Schambourg by Nacarat is a long-standing relationship that now takes to the luxury woven leather workshop to create a prototype seat in aluminium, upholstery and woven leather.
Nicolas Bovesse + Keramis challenge ceramic throwing techniques to create a solid and durable small table of earthenware and steel. The final result will be for sale via Keramis, a Walloon ceramics museum and research centre.
Benoît Deneufbourg + Cruso seal their mutual love for wood by completing the Paddle chair collection with stools and barstools. As a Belgian design manufacturer, it’s also a reflection of Cruso’s goal to unite outstanding designers with the finest craftsmen.
Atelier lachaert dhanis (Sofie Lachaert & Luc d’Hanis) + Art Casting play with visual perceptions and decontextualised domestic archetypes. Three bronze chairs soldered together, combining sophisticated conceptual design with the foundry’s speciality.
Jan & Randoald + Labt again work together on a project engaging the former’s skills as graphic designers and the latter’s as specialist studio-maker of customised furniture. The resulting rack is a stackable and adaptable series of modules that can change function.
Nathalie Dewez + Val Saint Lambert is a first-time collaboration that reinterprets the traditional crystal-cutting skills and archives of the Walloon crystal company, which has been hand-making its collections for nearly 200 years.
Laend (Chevalier Masson & Diane Steverlynck) + valerie_traan sees the three designers brought together by the Antwerp gallery for a collection of carpets that embeds different patterns in the knitted surface depending on the observation point. The specialist spinning mill of Diese Wolle and Belgian carpet producer Limited Edition have been instrumental.
Julien Renault + Kewlox is a recent relationship in which the young designer is collaborating with the 1950s icon of self-assembled furniture as artistic director to develop a complementary collection.
Muller Van Severen + Emaillerie brings the distinctive assemblies of the design duo together with the enamelling company that has evolved from its industrial past to artisanal future. The prototype uses high-end finished surfaces to interplay in elementary architectures.