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5 Belgian designers to see at the Design Week in Milan

Belgium Culture Design

The world’s biggest design fair is the Salone del Mobile, which takes place every year in Milan (this year from April 14th 'till April 19th) and attracts about 400.000 visitors, anxious to see what’s hot and happening in the world of design. Designers and manufacturing companies traditionally present their newest pieces in Milan, countries and galeries take up stands to show the world how much design talent they have to offer and there are a giant number of events to go to. It goes without saying that our talented Belgian designers also need to be there, like these 5:



castor sofa karimoku The BIG-GAME design studio was created in 2004 in Lausanne (Switzerland) by a Belgian (Elric Petit), a Frenchman (Augustin Scott de Martinville) and a Swiss (Grégoire Jeanmonod), who met while they were all studying at the Ecole Cantonale d'Art Lausanne. The threesome have a predilection for straightforward functional objects to which they add aesthetic value and preferably also a touch of humour and optimism. They are the design team behind the Bold Chair (by Moustache) that was added to the collection of the MoMA in 2013, and the triplex Moose by Vlaemsch(). During the Design Week in Milan their newest piece for the Japanese brand Karimoku New Standard will be presented, namely a sofa in their successful Castor line. The sofa will be displayed at Karimoku's exhibition stand in an apartment in the Brera Design District, alongside new work by designer Christian Haas and a photo series by the Japanese photographer Norio Kidera. (Photo © Karimoku New Standard)


2) Maarten De Ceulaer

maarten de ceulaer suitcases

Maarten De Ceulaer's work has already attracted the attention of the Belgian and international design world: as early as 2009 The New York Times described him as a young designer to watch out for, in 2012 he was selected by Fendi for the Design Performance programme at Design Miami, and in Flanders in 2013 he received the prestigious Henry van de Velde Award for Young Talent. His Writing desk of suitcases will be on display for the Design Week at NilufarDepout in Milan, a new location of the Nilufar gallery on the Via Lancetti 34. De Ceulaer made himself known with his Pile of suitcases, his final project before graduating from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 2009. It drew the attention of Nina Yashar of Nilufar and she asked him to design a series of suitcase furniture, in a limited edition: every piece is handmade by artisans, using the finest leather. Other pieces by Maarten De Ceulaer at the Design Week are Woof and Warp, a room divider by Moroso (Rho Fiera Milan, Hall 16, Stand A29 B22) and the Mutation Chair and Stool by Cappellini Next (Rho Fiera Milan, Hall 20, Stand E01 F06). (Photo © Maarten De Ceulaer)


3) Sofie Lachaert & Luc d’Hanis

sofie lachaert a stomaco vuoto

Sofie Lachaert en Luc d’Hanis' designs are highly individual, making them difficult to pigeon-hole. They create what can best be described as ‘applied art’: fine items such as crockery, but also larger pieces such as chairs or rugs. In Milan their work isn’t present on the actual design fair, but at the cultural organization Il Lazzaretto, as a part of the exhibition A stomaco vuoto (On an empty stomach) with ‘objects, words and projects on the theme of fasting’. The expo was created for the occasion of the Design week by DWA, the interior decorating studio of Alberto Artseani and Frederik De Wachter. To anyone who can’t make it to Milan this we, we can recommend the exceptional guesthouse that Lachaert and d’Hanis run in Tielrode, which has received favourable reviews from The Independent. This also doubles up as a gallery, providing a showcase for emerging new talent in the applied arts. (Photo © Sofie Lachaert & Luc d'Hanis)


4) Ben Storms

ben storms in hale

For the exhibition A Matter of Perception, Products & Materials is designers, architects and furniture brands were invited to show the public how important the choice of materials is during the design process and how materials determine the result. One of these designers is the Belgian Ben Storms, who will show the table In Vein and the coffee table In Hale (as seen on the photo above) and the posh Palazzo Litta will hopefully attract the attention of international galleries. That shouldn’t be difficult, because Stroms’ pieces are real eye catchers, first of all because of the materials they’re made of: for the table he used marble mirror polished stainless steel and leather, the coffee table is actually a giant block of marble of 200 kilos, placed on an air-filled copper cushion. These exclusive and organic designs are almost sculptures, made by hand – Ben Storms is an experienced stonecutter and woodworker. His parents run a natural stone and recycled materials company – so that’s where he learned about natural materials – and he chose to study art history and furniture design: al these different aspects and interests are present in Ben Storms’ work. (Photo © Ben Storms)


5) Confronting the Masters

When you visit this exhibition in the beautiful Sala Napoleonica of the Accademia di Brera you will be able to admire the work of no less than 10 Belgian designers at once. And not just any Belgian designers: the best, at least according to the jury of the annual Belgian Designer of the Year award. This award, created by Knack / Le Vif Weekend and Biënnale Interieur (and supported by the Design Museum Gent, Le Grand-Hornu and Bozar), will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year: the perfect occasion for an exhibition in Milan, organised by Belgium is Design, featuring the work of the 10 designers that were presented with the award from 2006 up to now: Alain Berteau, Sylvain Willenz, Nathalie Dewez, Alain Gilles, stefan schöning, Bram Boo, Nedda El-Asmar, Jean-François d’Or, Marina Bautier (the cover photo of this article features her Lap Desk) and Muller Van Severen – these two won the award in 2015, one of their designs (included in the exhibition) is shown in the photo. The work of these awardwinners will also be showcased alongside the work of some less established young talented designers at the SaloneSatellite, to profit from maximum visibility. (Photo © Muller Van Severen)

___ Coverphoto: Lap Desk and Shelves by Marina Bautier, texts: Hadewijch Ceulemans