Koen Van Guijze presents four years of playful lighting in historic Antwerp townhouse
The lighting designs of Belgian designer Koen Van Guijze are on show within the ageing interior of the centuries-old house Filips Van Marnix house in Antwerp.
Van Guijze is presenting four years of characterful designs in the historic townhouse, which was home to a chief magistrate in the 16th century before later becoming a hotel.
The building is set to be renovated and become part of the newly opened Botanic Sanctuary Antwerp hotel, but Van Guijze wanted to use it as an exhibition space before its renovation.
His playful designs, which include the wedge-shaped Spy and the ribbon-like Circuit, are presented alongside peeling paintwork and decorative mouldings.
Antwerp-based Van Guijze discovered the venue after Botanic Sanctuary commissioned him to design some lighting pieces for the hotel rooms, which are housed in former monastery buildings.
"When searching for a venue, I didn't have to look further than this gorgeous medieval environment in our beautiful city of Antwerp," he told Dezeen.
It is the first retrospective for the designer, whose best-known works include the Sofisticato range produced by Serax and bespoke pieces for Michelin-starred restaurants Zilte and Bar Bulot.
Highlights from the exhibition include Paravents, a series of handmade lighting screens made from paper porcelain, which have the appearance of folded and curved cardboard.
Each piece is unique, but they are all designed to wrap and hide a light source. They are presented here with candles and wooden packing crates, creating an air of informality.
The Marble Books designs have the same proportions and weighty feel as real books, but are instead made from natural stone. A lighting source hidden inside brings the colour of the marble to life.
Gruyère combines classic lightbulbs with a reflective base, creating a larger version of Spy. Other pieces on show include Le Collier, which is akin to a flower stem, and the gridded brass form of the Trapèze table lamp.
"I am very interested in rough and imperfect materials such as steel, brass and ceramics," said Van Guijze.
"Once produced in a lighting design, these materials gain patina with age and become even more beautiful in time."
Van Guijze describes his approach as timeless rather than trendy. His aim is to create pieces that will "make a statement for generations".
However, the designer still believes it's important to be playful and experiential. "A design comes to mind, but where it will end doesn't cross my mind while designing," he said.
Koen Van Guijze's exhibition is on show at Filips Van Marnix house for two weekends, 18 to 20 March and 24 to 27 March. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.
The photography is by Franziska Krieck.