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A Mixing Pot of Architecture, Design and Art at MANIERA Gallery

In a mesh of disciplines, MANIERA gallery challenged painter Pieter Vermeersch and architectural studio OFFICE to co-produce new pieces of furniture design

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Text by
Jeroen Verrecht

Founded in 2014, MANIERA gallery in Brussels is based on the practice of commissioning architects and artists to develop furniture and objects, forcing those they commission to excursion out of the comfort zones of their usual practice. Their current exhibition MANIERA 01 & 19 takes an even more radical approach to commissioning by inviting the architects Kersten Geers and David Van Severen of OFFICE and painter Pieter Vermeersch to work together, applying their diverse practices and expertise into new works.

OFFICE is renowned for its idiosyncratic style that mixes theoretical projects with realized architectural works. Meanwhile, Vermeersch’s artistic practice centers around painting, but not as you know it. He goes beyond the canvas as create spatial interventions in both exhibition and architectural contexts.

This deliberate collision in pairing practices that sit between the realms of architecture, design and art lead to an exploration of how subjects and ideas can overlap and merge into jointly-authored works. The exhibition presents the pieces in the themes of ‘Horizon’, ‘Echo’, ‘Shape’, ‘Material’, ‘Scale’ and ‘PS’ which refers to photography. These categories show the areas of mutual interest that emerged between OFFICE and Vermeersch.

In the ‘Echo’ section are pieces of furniture consisting of a room divider, a table, a floor lamp and a divan. The pieces were imagined for a house in Matarraña called Solo House II which OFFICE designed and Vermeersch painted one of his trademark gradient color murals onto. The furniture reflects the relaxed and liminal space of the holiday home of Solo House II with ambiguous shapes and many materials combined together.

The ‘PS’ section adds another practice and practitioner into the mix of the exhibition. On the upper floor f the gallery it shows photographs taken by Bas Princen, who has worked with OFFICE for a decade. The photographs were shots at night capturing only the fluorescent lines of LED lighting that seem to float against black backdrops.

The exhibition shows the productivity of venturing away from normal practices and colliding ideas, people and commissions together into a creative melting pot.

MANIERA 01 & 19 will be on display until May 4

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