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Bea Mombaers: Items & Interiors

Jun 25, 2021

TLmag sat down with interior stylist Bea Mombaers to discuss her book ‘Items and Interiors’, practice and collaborations.

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The practice of interior stylist Bea Mombaers can be described using two words: Items & Interiors. From the start, her lifestyle boutique in Knokke, ‘Items’ was the place to be for rare collector’s items, original works of art, vintage furniture, and a selection of exclusive homeware articles. She joined forces with photographer Raf Maes and designer Geoffrey Brusatto to create her book – naturally titled Items & Interiors – in which the audience gets a peek into her practice by showing spaces Bea put together. TLmag sat down with her to discuss this mesmerizing book, her practice, and collaborations.

TLmag: Tell me about the book, what prompted it?

Bea Mombaers (B.M.): After having started photographing in a house I suddenly had the realization we had to do it differently. I wanted to make a new book with one photographer in one house to make a beautiful book on my practice. And so I worked together with Paul Steijn and Raf Maes in a house of an acquaintance of mine.

We did a trial, and I had it in my head to shoot the way I live. I like to invite people and to prepare nice foods, and I’m always very busy with the presentation. So we shot a few pictures where we were eating outside, and then I realized that’s also not me. You know, I do styling and that wasn’t what you saw in the pictures. The idea was, they want to follow me all day long, when I wake up, I get a coffee at noon.

But finally, we decided to go and stay at these beautiful houses in which I had worked and stayed last year with Peter Ivens. Peter and I work together a lot, he has an architectural office and so he takes care of the renovation of spaces and I’m the art director. So together with Raf and Peter, we did all new photos, in these houses that are vacation houses, they are family possessions to which we are invited. And this is also really a basis of my work, working and connecting with people in beautiful spaces. 

TLmag: Can you elaborate on the composition of the book? We see the times and certain images returning in other parts of the day, what was the idea behind this?

B.M.:  Initially it was really the plan to follow me throughout the day, but the aesthetics of the spaces are leading. The composition of the book is really based on colors, shapes, lines, and aesthetics. I feel like my practice and personality are captured by these images, which made them leading throughout the process of making the book. 

TLmag: The introduction of the book reads: ‘Don’t ask Bea to define her style: she lets her interiors speak for themselves.” Can you elaborate?

B.M.: I don’t know how to explain it.  I might be minimalistic in the colors, my style is minimalistic, yet not minimalistic.  A lot of my friends always make fun of me when I mention a project is difficult for me: ‘’How can it be difficult if you only use 50 shades of white?’’.

TLmag: Yeah, because when I read that I was wondering, how do you actually decide on which pieces you take with you? What is it that you select your pieces on? Yeah, but does it have the style of the house? 

B.M.: Yeah, that’s always different and always depends on a lot of variables. But in the end, my clients and I are always a good match – they also have great taste and just don’t have enough time to do the work. Often I gather a lot of pieces, arrive at the house, and in one week everything is ready. I place where everything has to go and that’s where it stays.

TLmag: The way that you speak of your practice, it almost sounds as if it comes natural and effortless to you. 

B.M.: I wouldn’t say it is effortless, there’s obviously a lot of stress that comes with the work. If you find the right piece, it might be difficult to find the right place for it. But I do think that, perhaps, effortlessness defines my style. I just really love the work that I’m able to do, and moreover, the people that I get to do it with. In the end, it’s all about connections.


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