This biennial Belgian design show is now in its 25th edition, having begun life in that year of revolution 1968. Interieur, a short hop over the French border, has itself been radical, albeit in a quiet, modest fashion. It is a show that feels genuinely curated rather than overcommercialised, small but punching above its weight in terms of product launches and having an international focus but giving ample weight to local suppliers and designers.
If Interieur were married to the world of design this would be its silver anniversary and this happy marriage is celebrated in the Silver Lining installations curated by Belgian architect OFFICE Kersten Geers David van Severen. These break up the main stands, giving you a breather from product overload, with something a little more esoteric.
The offering from Swiss architects and designers Trix and Robert Haussmann was typical, playing with geometry and reflection. Others included Solo House an interiors concept based on self-sufficiency.
Design/art galleries were also present, such as Etage Projects’ work by Fredrik Paulsen. The visual stimulation didn’t stop when it came to bar and restaurant offerings, including Terra, with its display of mushrooms. And nigh on impossible to find, but a serendipitous treat when one did, was The Circus, a big top curated by agency King George, with brands such as Alessi, Duravit and Quick-Step. This year’s designer of the year was Vincent Van Duysen who presented a rather beige installation to mark the occasion.
Previously more scattered around the city, this time activity was more concentrated in the Kortrijk Xpo. As far as a compact, quality-driven design show experience goes, Interieur has pretty much got it sewn up.
Allaert Aluminium commissioned Anglo-French design duo Studio Dessuant Bone for its Perpetual Motion installation. The much videoed display takes a sideways look at the product, especially the Otiima low profile frame system giving windows and doors a sculptural quality.
This winning entry in the Interieur awards by German firm Design Studio Niruk mixes the warmth of cork and the structure of concrete. The resulting hybrid is much lighter and absorbs more sound than concrete. The surface is treated with techniques such as grinding, cutting and polishing.
Uffelen Young Antwerp-based Lennart Van Uffelen in collaboration with fellow Belgian studio Atelierdubbeloo has created a family of handmade furniture called Butler. Charles and Alfred can be combined as modular multifunctional tables which can be used as side tables or low seating. Alfred is available in black and white, with an option for a wood top. Their big brother James, meanwhile, is a high stool that can be used as part of a small workstation and stacked away when not in use.
The MWD writing desk is the work of designer Inesa Malafej. She wanted to produce a workstation for creative types that reduced clutter, which is why the storage is arranged around the tabletop but objects are easily within sight and reach. The high edges of the desk create what Malajej calls a “positive microclimate where things feel good in relationship to the user”. It also features two drawers to store a laptop or other professional essentials and the legs can be twisted off for ease of transportation.
Designer Marc Th. van der Voorn is behind the Epic chair for Belgian firm Z-editions. The distinctive back of the design is achieved by splitting the frame in two with a team of craftsmen joining it back together. The collection comes in oak and the seat can be upholstered or painted.
Lambert & Fils
This Canadian company caught our eye with a delicate range of lighting we could see as a feature in a reception or, larger scale, in an atrium. The components are made of unfinished brass and handblown glass with an LED lightbulb, combining modern lighting with traditional materials.
Belgium’s biennial design fair, which took place in the city of Kortrijk in October, was compact but perfectly formed