The Brussels Design September 2020 has hosted cultural and commercial events for design enthusiasts across the city. The theme of 2020, as described by Design September and in line with the ongoing uncertainty of the world, was change. One aspect of the Design September 2020 agenda was dedicated to contemporary design – the Contemporary Design Market, organised in collaboration with Flanders DC and Wallonie Design. Discover in this article 10 unique designs made by Belgian creatives.
In its second edition, the Contemporary Design Market, that took place 26 and 27 September 2020, has partnered with Adorno to offer a digital and in-person experience for participating designers to share their practices with both local and international audiences. In her latest collection, Tactile Pureness, journalist and Belgian curator Elien Haentjens has shared her best of Contemporary Design Market 2020 with us, highlighting the work of ten emerging and established makers. This collection – which includes sustainable use of material wastes, tactile approaches to textile, and experimental jewellery – speaks to the variety of narratives and identities in the Belgian contemporary design scene as well as the sensual tactility that each piece evokes. Haentjens describes that these “creations are an invitation to slow down and to emotionally connect” and that, with this moment of connection, “their subtle beauty evokes quietness in our turbulent, often digitally driven world”.
1. Gattorre, Axelle Vertommen
In response to the plain, mass-produced scratching posts that stand in many cat owner’s homes, Axelle Vertommen’s Gattorre offers a colourful, aesthetically pleasing edition. The cashmere goat hair upholstered scratching post stands out with its unique shape and eye-catching colours, seamlessly fitting in with the decor around it and providing pets with their own piece of design furniture.
2. Rocking Chair, Bas Pattyn
Designer Bas Pattyn focuses on geometry, structure, and minimalism in his work. These aspects are evident in Rocking Chair, a piece which presents a graphical play between clean and simple lines, merging strong steel frame with draped, PVC mesh seat.
3. Stratum Basim, Daan De Wit
Part of the Stratum Series, started in 2017, Stratum Basim highlights the costly and irreversible waste of materials such as marble, travertin, and other previous materials. To bring attention to this, De Wit’s small-scale process makes use of a technique that produces little waste and utilises leftover materials that would otherwise be difficult to use.
4. Gradient Rug, Emma Terweduwe
Produced in collaboration with TextielLab Tilburg, Gradient Rug brings out the tactile qualities of Merino wool, Mohair, linen, and cotton through a process of felting and manipulating after weaving. Through this process, the materials of the rug take on graphic and textural characteristics.
5. Knit Pendant Light, Joachim Froment
Created from recycled plastic, Joachim Froment connects form and function with material in his piece, Knit Pendant Light. Through the piece’s inorganic shape, which draws the eye over its textured surface, and the use of PET, Froment offers a unique, sustainable solution for lighting a space.
6. Ukiyo Candleholders, Niyona
Inspired by the decorative arts and named after the Japanese art genre Ukiyo-e, popular between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, Niyona’s Ukiyo Candleholders channel the floating world aesthetic bringing the sublime to their surroundings and giving pleasure to their owner.
7. Off-Round Cabinet (Lapis Lazuli), Pierre De Valck
Pierre De Valck’s Off-Round Cabinet combines aluminium with the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli to create a unique piece with an historical narrative. In the case of this piece, the unpolished stone at the centre is estimated to be 65 million years old and was found in the Sar-e-Sang mines in Badakchan, Afghanistan.
8. Balik Bench, Studio Biskt
Studio Biskt reinterprets the seat in their piece Balik Bench by linking a metal frame with a ceramic seat. By juxtaposing fragile clay with strong metal, the studio plays with opposites in design, ultimately taking these materials out of their usual habitats and creating a secure, unique structure.
9. Gemma ex Lapide Petersite Earrings, Studio DŌ
The Gemma ex Lapide project, including an object and earrings created from Pietersite stone, explores the core relationship between stones and jewellery, while also bridging between the body and space. The studio works with stones in an experimental way, focussing on the unique elements each stone possesses and reflecting on the origin of (gem)stones in jewellery.
10. Farley, TheAlfredCollection
TheAlfredCollection’s handwoven Farley carpet is crafted with a mixture of two top-shelf wools from New Zealand, which provides softness, and Portugal, which provides strength. Expert Portuguese weavers who create this piece by hand, alongside these materials, contribute to the durability and unique result which could not be achieved with a machine.