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Belgium is Design - Confronting the Masters

Ten years of the prestigious Belgian Designer of the Year award

To celebrate ten years of the prestigious Belgian Designer of the Year, Belgium is Design presents Confronting the Masters, ambitious exhibition that brings together the ten winners in the picturesque Napoleonic Room in Brera Academy.

Alain Berteau (2006), Sylvain Willenz (2007), stefan schöning (2008), Nedda El-Asmar (2009), Bram Boo (2010), Nathalie Dewez (2011), Alain Gilles (2012), Jean-François d’Or (2013), Marina Bautier (2014) e Muller Van Severen (2015).


Opening during Fuorisalone:
Martedi 14 dalle 13:00 alle  20:30
Da mercoledi 15 a domenica 19 dalle 10:30 alle 20:30

Tuesday 14 from 1 pm to 8:30 pm
Wednesday 15 to Sunday 19 from 10:30 am to 8:30 pm Belgium is Design Belgium is Design (english)

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The Brussels-based architect and designer Alain Berteau has been designing products, spaces and/or creative strategies for some of the industry’s leading businesses since 2002. Bulo, ABV, Montis, RVB, Wildspirit, AGC and, more recently, Objekten (of which he is co-founder) are among his clients. His design stands out for its functional inventiveness and eco-friendly innovation. He has always been committed to developing and promoting relevant design solutions through innovative typologies and functional improvements. His original architecture practice has evolved into an award-winning product and interior design agency, which was the first to receive the Interieur Kortrijk Biennale designer of the year award in 2006. Alain Berteau is professor of Design at La Cambre since 2003 and was the renovator and curator of Isola Comacina (Lake Como 2010–13). His work has attracted significant international recognition and now features in the permanent collection of the Design Museum in Ghent. The discreet, timeless Nightclub collection of armchairs and sofas with a frame-free convertible feature can turn any seat into a comfortable lounging position for late-night cinema sessions


“ I work on what I call ‘Simplexity’, simple yet complex designs. Designs that have several layers of understanding. I also work on what I call ‘New Simplicity’ designs that have a true identity but tend to use a minimum amount of material. This should not be seen as minimalism, but rather as a will to use the right materials for their inner qualities. My style is graphic, architectural and dynamic, but also warm and lively. I always make sure that the objects I design, as artistic or conceptual as they may be, never lose their function. I tend to be satisfied with my designs when they achieve the right balance between a masculine and a feminine side. Typically, my sources of inspirations are threefold: the human aspect and interaction in the project; the architectural and structural aspect; and the graphic aspect of the project or the ability to correctly read and understand the project. Overall, my aim is to design pieces that are fresh, can evolve over time and that could potentially become classics… ” Alain Gilles is a Belgian designer born in 1970. After studying Political Sciences and Marketing management he worked in international finance. Later he studied industrial design in France. He opened his own Studio in 2007.

Belgium is Design

Per celebrare i dieci anni del prestigioso premio belga Designer of the Year, Belgium is Design presenta Confronting the Masters, ambiziosa mostra che mette insieme i dieci vincitori all’interno della suggestiva Sala Napoleonica, in Accademia di Brera. Alain Berteau (2006), Sylvain Willenz (2007), stefan schöning (2008), Nedda El-Asmar (2009), Bram Boo (2010), Nathalie Dewez (2011), Alain Gilles (2012), Jean-François d’Or (2013), Marina Bautier (2014) e Muller Van Severen (2015).


Bram Boo designed in 2010 display furniture pieces, a mix of curved parts together with straight ones. At that moment he knew it would be inspiring for him and the process started! “MATE” originates from the coherence between table and screen, horizontal and vertical. For me it is obvious that they are one and so form an archetypical object. Function displayed in all its trueness, defining a space in a symbolic and discrete way. MATE subtly fits in every space, as a desk, a mirror, a coffee corner and many other settings… The stool “Bro” is the perfect helpmate for the desk and interacts well by it’s curved shape. The pieces are produced by Bulo with local massive wood in collaboration with BOSQ. There will be two collections: one in massive wood and one made of veneer. The massive wooden pieces will be numbered and stamped by the origin of the wood. The first series of desks will be made out of an ash tree coming from the botanical garden Meise near Brussels. Next set is made out of a dead oak tree which grew in the backyard of the designer.


For Jean François D’Or design is a matter of harmony, an eye and a tool for quality and identity of product. It is a central factor of innovatie technologies and a crucial factor of cultural and economic exchange. Industrial design seeks to assess structural, organisational, functional, expressive and economic relationships in order to establish the multi-faceted qualities of objects. June is a table collection builts with straight basic grafic lines with Cruso high quality finishing and materials. The assemble construction of the base brings a long storage place under the top plate. A collection of stackable wooden trays fits within that storage gap. July is a wooden trays collection builts with Cruso high quality finishing. This collection of stackable wooden trays fits within the storage gap of the June table collection of Cruso. “In a lively but delicate gesture, he slipped the tray in the ample storage gap underneath the table; I did not know if I was still permitted to take these fresh September nuts. June was the name of the table, July the name of those trays.”


Marina Bautier was born in Brussels in 1980, where she lives and works. After studying at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, she opened her own studio in Brussels in 2003. Marina worked for ten years in the furniture industry for several international brands, including Ligne Roset, Swedese, Idée, and Case Furniture. After ten years of working in the furniture industry, it felt like the right time for the launch of her own label along with its own retail space – its name: MA. ! The lap desk is a modular solution designed with simplicity in mind. The lap desk is adaptable to work in different environments. Starting with a single unit, you can add extensions or a mixture of trays, deep & shallow boxes with shelves to store a variety of paperbacks and objects. Marina designed the system with this modularity and adaptability from realising the strange way people store objects in a box or on a tray. The name "Lap" refers to how the metal overlaps the wood structure. How you arrange the components is up to you, and they can be rearranged at any time.


Photographer Fien Muller (1978) and sculptor Hannes van Severen (1979) made their debut as a design duo at Gallery Valerie Traan in Antwerp three years ago. Their joint furniture project was almost immediately picked up internationally and they were selected as international guests at the Interieur Design Biennale in Kortrijk in 2012. They were nominated for prestigious international awards, including the Design of the Year 2013 award at the Design Museum in London and the Wallpaper Magazine Designer of the Year award 2014. They continue their inspired quest for sculpturally interesting furniture objects - spontaneously and seemingly without effort. It appears once again that the universe they create together is a very natural extension of their work as individual artists. The crucial difference lies in the functionality, to which Their fascination with certain materials and their properties, their special sense of colour and the characteristic tension between sober and playful or static and dynamic provide continuity and familiarity in their new work.


The work of Nathalie Dewez extends from small objects to monumental installations, from the unique piece to the industrial product, in collaboration with international brands such as Hermès (FR), Habitat (UK), Ligne Roset (FR), Established&Sons (UK), Moome (BE), among others. Nathalie Dewez is a designer whose medium is light and whose materials vary between metal, glass and other long-lasting medium. Nathalie’s designs reveals his passion for sculptural shapes and superior craftsmanship. Car Light arose from the workshop, ‘Glass is tomorrow’, which took place in Boda (Sweden) in July 2013, launched by Pro Materia in partnership with the Swedish manufacturer The Glass Factory. Car headlights were selected by Nathalie Dewez as the source of inspiration and the basis of experimental work with glass blowers. Could the ribbed, etched glass of car headlights be artistically reworked and used to make an indoor light? By mouth-blowing the glass in a cylindrical mould lined with a grille, Nathalie Dewez obtained dome shapes on which the desired motif was marked in relief. Each glass light thus produced is a unique piece which projects the shape of its halo of light onto the surface on which it sits and on the surrounding walls.


Nedda El-Asmar trained as a silversmith, but it is impossible to sum up her various activities over the last twenty years in one word. Openness, flexibility and diversity are key concepts in her thinking and design approach. She is always ready to look beyond what she knows already. She is quick to see possibilities, even if a commission comes from an unexpected source. As a result she has evolved into an acclaimed designer with a broad field of activity, praised as widely for a condom holder as for silver dishes, for cutlery as for water pipes, for dinner services, for leather saddles, for tables and chairs as well as for mussel pots and incense burners. She employs sober, softly undulating shapes that look gracious, contemporary and timeless. Her fresh, innovative view of tradition is always surprising. Her designs are functional, up-to-date and aesthetic, poetic and a tad secretive. Since 2008 product designer Erik Indekeu has been her business and design partner. They had worked together previously and this partnership and her nomination as Designer of the Year in 2007 mean that the diversification of her projects has gained momentum.


In search of developing his identity, stefan schöning works in a lot of different fields with a variety of products and materials. Toys, lighting, furniture, kitchenware, consumer products, public design, all of these industries require a different approach and gather a knowledge which is exchangeable. This approach results in designs which go further than standard production. every design case can lead to applying new technologies and materials in order to sharpen the appearance of the design’s identity. elimination is an important guide during this design process. ‘If you draw a line, it has to replace all other redundant lines. it has to be that line, with all its characteristics. this is absolutely necessary to keep the world free from clutter and excess.’ “Legnosystem is a glass cabinet in which I have tried to introduce the lovely but difficult combination of two basic materials: glass and wood. The exercise in this design is to find the right balance between two materials without losing the functionality of the product."


Established in 2004, SYLVAIN WILLENZ DESIGN OFFICE is an industrial design office based in Brussels, with an approach to design characterised by a clear inquisitiveness for products, industry and processes. Sylvain Willenz and his team, work on various projects ranging from lighting to products, IT electronics and furniture. SWDO works internationally with renowned clients such as Cappellini, (IT), Established & Sons (UK), Freecom (NL/DE), Hay (DK), Tamawa (BE), Karimoku New Standard (JP) amongst others. ARCH chair for Wildspirit (BE) is a dynamic and elegant chair combining the richness of a detailed massive wood structure with the simplicity of its bold seat and backrest. The unique identity of ARCH lies in its fine proportions and a soft sinuous back leg. Features such as assembly details and chamfers which run along its edges have been emphasized into slender surfaces onto which light gently shines off. ARCH is stackable and comes with and without armrests, in various wood and leather finishes as well as in Teak for outdoor usage.

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