Objects of desire

Muriel de Crayencour
24 septembre 2014
25 Belgian designers were invited to show their work at the ING Art Center. A good way for them to have a showcase, something they seldom do in Belgium. Our country abounds in creative talent. But, as is often the case, they only find true recognition beyond our borders. This is true of visual artists, cartoonists, illustrators… and designers.

Trained in excellent schools – Belgium attracts many students from all over Europe due to the quality of its art and design schools, but they have to go to Milan, France, etc. to find companies to produce their work. As a result, they are often not very accessible or visible on the Belgian market. Only the fans, with a bit more perseverance, know where to look and find this or that object.

The exhibition which opened at the ING Art Center is a great opportunity for the public to see or discover the iconic objects created by these designers. It was organised by MAD Brussels. MAD is a non-profit organisation founded by the City and Region of Brussels, with the mission of promoting fashion and design. Both entities have invested nearly € 7 million euro via the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funding channels in the renovation of the 3,000 m2, located in the heart of the Dansaert district. The works are scheduled for completion by January 2016.

Three objects

On display for each designer, three objects, selected in a fun and surprising way. The first object must be the designer’s iconic creation, the one that made him or her famous, that defined his or her style and has been the most publicised. In this case, does the designer’s fame change the perception of the exhibited object? The most cost-efficient object by that designer is the second selection criterion. This object enabled the designer to develop his or her career, to reach a turning point in his/her development, or gave the manufacturing company an advantage in terms of competitiveness. The third object is a best-seller for the designer. Indeed, ultimately, the design must be marketable. Aesthetics must go hand in hand with successful marketing.

“A designer who sees the umpteenth chair project as a way to express his feelings; that should not be allowed. I know that these words won’t be welcome in cultural circles, but just like a chair is not a book, a designer is not a writer. Design is neither a means of communication nor an entertainment channel. Its primary task is innovation in the industrial world.” judiciously explains Alain Berteau, whose Tab Chair is a familiar sight.

Bram Bo (son of the painter Bram Bogart) is exhibiting his Gipsy Things seats and tables. By Nathalie Dewez, who showcased her products at Nationa(a)l Pop-up Store, one finds the very pretty “Balance” table lamp, or “Prism” the ceiling light marketed by Habitat and later Bislighting. And that’s not all: Nedda El-Asmar’s steel objects; Charles Kaisin’ best-seller, the K-Bench, often seen and imitated, splendid and so effective. He recently designed a glass for Leffe beer. Xavier Lust, King of pleated steel is present with his S-Table, his Banc that fits everywhere: at Rue Ravenstein as well as in the exhibition halls of the Japanese Tower: a “simple” steel strip. And the sublime Ben in Bad bath-tub by Bart Lens, which requires the bathroom to be designed around the bathtub: a sculpture!

The jewellery designer Christa Reniers stands out a bit, since she is self-taught and is presenting her hallmark organic rings displayed in blocks of resin. By Piet(er) Stockmans, the porcelain objects dipped in blue  (his trademark!)… And of course, Maarten Van Severen, with his .03 chair, or the D2V2 pendant light by Danny Venlet[, this designer whose grandsons took part in “Le Labo des héritiers” exhibition dedicated to the heirs of renowned designers at the Grand-Hornu Images… And other objects, all displayed in a fun and airy way, each item surrounded by white fabric giving the impression that it floats in mid-air.

Don’t forget to visit the basement boutique, where one can find small objects, stools, books and other creations whose efficient design does not take away any of their poetic value.

The Power of Object(s)

Design Bestsellers in Belgium

ING Art Center

6 Place Royale

1000 Brussels

Until 11 January 2015

Every day from 10:ooh - 18:00h, on Wednesdays until 21:00h



Muriel de Crayencour

Rédactrice en chef

Voir et regarder l’art. Puis transformer en mots cette expérience première, qui est comme une respiration. « L’écriture permet de transmuter ce que l’œil a vu. Ce processus me fascine. » Philosophe et sculptrice de formation, elle a été journaliste entre autres pour L’Echo et Marianne Belgique. Elle revendique de pouvoir écrire dans un style à la fois accessible et subjectif. La critique est permise ! Elle écrit sur l’art, la politique culturelle, l’évolution des musées et de la manière de montrer l’art. Elle est aussi artiste. Elle a fondé le magazine Mu in the City en 2014.

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