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Out of Wood: Casimir at Atelier Jespers

From works dating back to the early 90’s to new limited-edition pieces, a retrospective at Atelier Jespers features furniture and objects that span Belgian designer Casimir’s career and vision.

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Text by Lise Coirier & Laura Herman

This year, TL Magazine in collaboration with Brussels Design September ventures to highlight a selection of Brussels’ finest design and applied arts galleries for the first time. Brussels’ role as the capital of Europe, its open-mindedness to a mix of influences, and its ideal position at the crossroads between major design centres like Paris, London, Eindhoven, and Cologne, have created excellent conditions for innovation, inspiration, and talent to flourish here. Besides a booming contemporary art scene, Brussels has embraced the great potential of its design scene with many new contemporary design and applied arts galleries emerging around the city. Brussels’ succeeding traditions of applied and decorative arts, and industrial design, with renowned design pioneers like Victor Horta, Henry Van de Velde and Jules Wabbes, have of course had a lasting influence on new design developments, even if the current design field seems to be increasingly invested with the small and the particular. The young design gallery scene, including initiatives such as Atelier Jespers, bringing high-end and exclusive design to custom-made furniture and lighting, and more experimental design.

During this month-long celebration of art, architecture, and design, Atelier Jespers is staging a retrospective by the Belgian designer Casimir. An industrial designer by training, he has developed his technique and aesthetic over the course of the last 25 years. From works dating back to the early 90’s to new limited-edition pieces for the upcoming presentation, the show features furniture and objects that span Casimir‘s career and vision.

The cutting-edge 13 pieces are shown together for the first time in an architecturally significant house that dates back to 1928. Originally built by Victor Bourgeois for sculptor Oscar Jespers, the historic private residence served as a meeting place for the European avant-garde. Atelier Jespers has since been reborn as a gallery space, under the stewardship of current owner Jean-François Declercq. This house with its high ceilings, large exhibition spaces and smaller galleries was custom-made to house both Jespers’ monumental sculptures and smaller works. Later, the building lost its major functions as a space for creation and imagination; a photo studio and the ambassador of Peru occupied it for several years. Now, it has almost been two years since collector Jean-François Declercq brought back life into the building. Declercq brings exhibitions that are surprising and refreshing with a dedication to beauty and simplicity. The minimal spaces are filled again by designers whose work display a strong focus on material, functionality and fine art. In September, Atelier Jespers brings a selection of pieces by the Belgian designer Casimir (°1966, Koersel) who uses archetypical objects as the starting point for his furniture design. One of the pieces on view is titled Stam, which is dedicated to the most basic furniture element imaginable: the tree trunk. With Brug, on the other hand, Casimir finds inspiration in architecture, transposing bridge techniques to furniture making. With Kist 3 Casimir again brings attention to the potential of simple forms, displaying the multivalence of the minimalist composition. Similarly, Ladderkast/ Kastladder extends its function as a mere cupboard, serving as a ladder step too. Finally, Schraag 1 could be considered to be Casimir’s most basic object. It is a trestle in solid oak, which can be combined with endless other elements, ranging from bookcases to chairs and tables.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 8 September and will be open to the public 08/09 : 11:00 à 17:00
09/09 : 11:00 – 19:00
10/09 : 14:00 –  22:00
11/09 : 11:00 – 17:00
12/09 until 02/10/2016 by appointment only

Book your visit to the house: Jean-François Declercq, +32 (0) 2 346 06 00 or M. +32 (0) 475 64 95 81

Read our other interviews on Atelier Jespers here

Atelier Jespers, Brussels, photo: Serge Anton
Atelier Jespers, Brussels, photo: Serge Anton
"Max Le Belge" is certainly one of Casimir's Belgian Icons. For his 50 years and 25 years of furniture design and craftsmanship (including wood and metal), we can see that the twist functions so well, especially when a chair becomes a drawer, an indoor secret garden where you can keep your dreams alive
"Max Le Belge" is certainly one of Casimir's Belgian Icons. For his 50 years and 25 years of furniture design and craftsmanship (including wood and metal), we can see that the twist functions so well, especially when a chair becomes a drawer, an indoor secret garden where you can keep your dreams alive
Pallet, by Casimir: the industrial euro-size pallet becomes a source of inspiration for a high-end object in massive oak, which may be used as a low table
Pallet, by Casimir: the industrial euro-size pallet becomes a source of inspiration for a high-end object in massive oak, which may be used as a low table
KastLegger or LeggerKast is playing with the archetypal form of the cupboard. Drawers and shelves become a source of playfulness
KastLegger or LeggerKast is playing with the archetypal form of the cupboard. Drawers and shelves become a source of playfulness
Brug (Bridge) by Casimir is an innovative construction which brings architecture into a design piece of furniture. We may see a bridge which is quite surrealistic when speaking about cabinetmaking !
Brug (Bridge) by Casimir is an innovative construction which brings architecture into a design piece of furniture. We may see a bridge which is quite surrealistic when speaking about cabinetmaking !
Schraag2_8225
Schraag 2 + Tablet by Casimir
This Ladder Kast is both an ordinary object but with a multifunctional use. It can be a 'Ladder' or a secrete 'Kast' (storage unit)
This Ladder Kast is both an ordinary object but with a multifunctional use. It can be a 'Ladder' or a secrete 'Kast' (storage unit)
The Ladder Rek by Casimir is both a furniture, a storage unit and a poetic piece of art which plays with light and shadows. You may see the 'tree of life' through it!
The Ladder Rek by Casimir is both a furniture, a storage unit and a poetic piece of art which plays with light and shadows. You may see the 'tree of life' through it!
Those Ladders 1 are certainly one of the most fascinating series designed and made by Casimir. You can feel his conceptual and multifunctional quest
Those Ladders 1 are certainly one of the most fascinating series designed and made by Casimir. You can feel his conceptual and multifunctional quest
Casimir has also the sense of light
Casimir has also the sense of light
Plank 2 by Casimir is certainly one of the most minimalistic cabinet made for a few valuable books and in solid oak to last forever
Plank 2 by Casimir is certainly one of the most minimalistic cabinet made for a few valuable books and in solid oak to last forever
Façade of Atelier Jespers, photo by F. Dujardin
Façade of Atelier Jespers, photo by F. Dujardin

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