Best of Contemporary Design Market 2020: Top 10 Collectible Pieces from Curator Elien Haentjens

Over the past three weeks and continuing into next week, Brussels Design September 2020 has hosted cultural and commercial events for design enthusiasts across the city. This years theme, as described by Design September and in line with the ongoing uncertainty of the world, is change, with a “focus … on responsible consumption, keeping our nearest and dearest close, different ways of travelling, reinterpreting the role of objects and reassessing what is essential and necessary, on the one hand, and what is less important on the other”. One aspect of the Design September 2020 agenda is dedicated to contemporary design – the Contemporary Design Market, organised in collaboration with Flanders DC and Wallonie Design.

In its second edition, the Contemporary Design Market, taking place 26 & 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”.

Featuring pieces from Axelle VertommenBas PattynDaan De WitEmma TerweduweJoachim FromentNiyonaPierre De ValckStudio BisktStudio DŌ, and TheAlfredCollection.

The selected pieces presented below will be available to view in person at the Contemporary Design Market, located at Avenue du port 86c, 1000, Brussels from Saturday, 26 September to Sunday, 27 September.

Axelle Vertommen, “Gattorre”

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.

View Axelle Vertommen’s showroom, including “Gattorre”

Bas Pattyn, “Rocking Chair”

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.

View Bas Pattyn’s showroom, including “Rocking Chair”

Daan De Wit, “Stratum Basim”

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.

View Daan De Wit’s showroom, including “Stratum Basim”

Emma Terweduwe, “GRADIENT” RUG

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.

View Emma Terweduwe’s showroom, including “GRADIENT” RUG

Joachim Froment, “Knit” Pendant Light

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.

View Joachim Froment’s showroom, including “Knit” Pendant Light

Niyona, “Ukiyo Candleholders”

NIYONA - UKIYO Candlestick

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.

View Niyona’s showroom, including “Ukiyo Candleholders”

Pierre De Valck, “Off-Round Cabinet (Lapis Lazuli)”

Off-Round Cabinet (Lapis Lazuli)

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.

View Pierre De Valck’s showroom, including “Off-Round Cabinet (Lapis Lazuli)”

Studio Biskt, “Balik” Bench

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.

View Studio Biskt’s showroom, including “Balik” Bench

Studio DŌ, “Gemma ex Lapide” Petersite Earrings

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.

View Studio DŌ’s showroom, including “Gemma ex Lapide” Petersite Earrings

TheAlfredCollection, “FARLEY”

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.

View TheAlfredCollection’s showroom, including “FARLEY”

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