Young designers were among the standout exhibitors at the second edition of Collectible, the Brussels fair dedicated to contemporary collectible design. Dezeen's Anna Winston selects her highlights.
Collectible 2019 took place last week at the Vanderborght Building in central Brussels, with an expanded roster of exhibitors including a rash of new galleries like Belgium's Alfa.Brussels, MDR Gallery from London and Berlin-based Functional Art Gallery.
Many presented work by designers who are at the beginning of their careers, including a number of recent graduates from schools like Design Academy Eindhoven and Belgium's Luca School of Arts and La Cambre.
This year Collectible founders Liv Vaisberg and Clélie Debehault also launched initiatives to showcase works by younger designers who might not otherwise afford to be part of the design fair.
Designers submitted work for showcase
These included a Young Designers showcase, a number of special project presentations and an exhibition that occupied the windows of the building.
Designers were invited to submit their work for the Young Designers and Design Studios showcase, with the final selection made by a group that included curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein and Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs.
"We try to really represent the whole spectrum of contemporary collectible design, and I was wondering how we can best represent the youngest artists," explained Vaisberg. "It's quite difficult for young designers to sell themselves."
"In the window display, we invited designers that work around recycled or sustainable materials: jeans, plastic, nylon, different materials that go to waste, and even salt, so also the use of a more natural and sustainable material. We wanted to show that the new generation is really concerned with those things," Vaisberg continued.
The Zaventem Ateliers Special Project space highlighted works by young makers with studios in the new communal workshop building in Zaventem, an emerging design hub outside the centre of Brussels.
Here, Dezeen contributor Anna Winston shares her highlights of the best new talent from Collectible 2019:
Linde Freya Tangelder
Founder of Brussels design studio Destroyers/Builders and a member of the Belgian design collective Brut, Linde Freya Tangelder is a product and interior designer. Using architectural volumes to create sculptural furniture, she describes her approach as being "on the edge of contemporary material use and traditional craft".
On show at Collectible, her Bolder Chair is a reinterpretation of architectural columns, using the chunky, round shapes to create different tonal effects across the white surface of the piece. The original chair is made from chipboard and a pressed textile-fibre from Kvadrat's sustainable material arm Really, while Bolder II is made from limestone and brass.
Studio Raw Material
Founded by Dushyant Bansal and Priyanka Sharma – recent graduates from London's Royal College of Art – Studio Raw Material works between London and Jaipur, with a focus on materials that have a strong cultural or geographic and historic story.
At Collectible, the studio showed Offcut 05, a table from its most recent series of limited-edition furniture and architectural spaces created using waste offcuts from marble mining in India.
"We delved into refining wasted forms of stone to make sculptural studies," explained the studio. "Our work attempts to explore alternate aspects of Indian craftsmanship – the structure and mathematics of balance, vernacular building techniques and importance of weight in relation to gravity."
Based in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, Nicolas Erauw graduated from The Royal School of Arts in Ghent with a specialisation in furniture design in 2017. His focus is on finding new ways to combine industrial manufacturing processes and raw materials to create unexpected results.
His cast-aluminium Chair T-006 was part of the Young Designers showcase at Collectible 2019 and is from the ongoing Wax On Wax Off series, which features the results of experiments with lost-wax casting and wax-dipping processes. He has built his own machine, called TONK, which allows him to create large objects in a process similar to candle dipping.
Schimmel & Schweikle
Design Academy Eindhoven graduates Moreno Schweikle and Janne Schimmel of Schimmel & Schweikle first came to attention with their Return To Default office chair series at last year's graduate show. The duo share a fascination with distorting and combining archetypal objects using 3D software and then trying to realise the results.
Alfa.Brussels – a new gallery that invites designers to create unique pieces during a residency program – hosted their first solo-show at Collectible, which included a new collection of furniture titled CrossFit that mashes together classic, boxy forms with smooth surfaces and blob-like furry upholstery in bright colours.
Leo Orta and Victor Miklos are another duo who started working together during their studies at Design Academy Eindhoven. Originally from France and Denmark respectively, the designers now run their studio across two locations in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and Les Moulins, France. They describe their approach as "ignorant design", trying to create playful objects that do not necessarily have an explicit purpose and do not respond to trends in material or colour.
OrtaMiklos took over the Functional Art Gallery booth at Collectible to create The Study Room, a total environment featuring The White Ladies, a pair of lamp/seat hybrids made from concrete cast in women's tights and electrical cables, and benches and bookshelves from their Iceberg series, made from carved foam and resin.
A 2018 graduate of the masters in textile design at La Cambre, Emma Cogné has previously worked with Dutch studios Buro Belén and Studio Nienke Hoogvliet, and share some of their sideways, experimental approach to textiles. Her work has already been featured in exhibitions in Brussels and New York.
At Collectible she presented Turborama – a large, partition-like curtain made from colourful ICTA Sheaths, tubes of recycleable polypropylene more commonly used by electricians to protect wiring and hidden from sight in the walls and ceilings of buildings. The tubes are combined using hand-knotted fibre in sections of different colours to create a patterned, semi-transparent, indoor/outdoor curtain.
Bram Van Breda
Antwerp-based Bram Van Breda studied graphic design at the Luca School of Arts in Brussels and Gent. He combines his knowledge of graphics with textile design to create one-off objects from a wide variety of tactile materials in blocks of subtle colour combinations.
The Resonance rug shown at Collectible is part of his Gathering series created by focusing on a specific part in the weaving process where the fibres are knotted together by hand to switch between colours or patterns. They are made using waste materials from Belgian carpet manufacturer Tasibel. Because of this process, which involves combining, repairing and finishing different pieces of textile, each of the pieces is unique and cannot be reproduced.
Touche-Touche is a new studio founded by Théo Demans and Caroline Giessner, who have previously worked on a number of site-specific installations for galleries and art events, including the staging for a recent exhibition by the artist Melanie Bonajo at Haus der Kunst in Munich.
They showed their first trio of furniture designs as part of the Zavantem Ateliers show. Using foam, the duo apply a wide range of hand-cutting, shaping, coating and colouring processes to create chairs and mirrors that look like they have been hewn from impossibly-pigmented rocks.
Part of the Alfa.Brussels family, Touche-Touche also host the designers in residence at the gallery's apartment in Brussels, which housed the offsite Palace of Play installation designed by Morph Collective during Collectible.
Danish designer and materials researcher Stine Mikkelsen has already featured in exhibitions including last year's Dutch Invertuals show, where she presented her Guilt.less lamps made from unwanted clothes, and The Art of Seating at Tools Galerie in Paris. A graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven and the Kolding School of Design, Mikkelsen combines a background in textiles with an interest in experimental product design.
The two lighting objects featured at Collectible were made from a composite material developed by Mikkelsen using crushed granite and fishglue, and are part of her Luminous Shapes project, which explores attitudes towards more radical approaches to design by blurring the boundaries between function and sculpture.
Xandra Van der Eijk
Dutch designer Xandra Van der Eijk has already garnered significant attention with her installations and objects, each of which deals with a key issue of the anthropocene era and how this is exposed by the passing of time. A recent project called Retreat explored the notion of ecological grief, replicating the surface of a glacier in the Swiss Alps in sheets of bioplastic to create a visual reminder of the impact of climate change on the country's landscape.
For Collectible, she exhibited the Future Remnants project, which aims to demonstrate and explore the impact of chemical waste dumping through a series of metal objects that have been exposed to the relatively low-doses of chemicals found in household products.