Dezeen Magazine

Living room of Maniera with furniture by Rooms

Maniera unveils first exhibition inside art-deco Hôtel Danckaert

Brussels-based gallery Maniera has found a new home in an art-deco villa, where it is presenting new work by designers including Office KGDVS, Studio Mumbai and Rooms.

Maniera has swapped its white-walled gallery for the historic Hôtel Danckaert, also known as Villa Dewin, which was designed in 1922 by Belgian architect Jean-Baptiste Dewin.

Chair by Rooms for Maniera
Georgian design duo Rooms has furnished the entire front room

As one of the city's best-preserved art-deco buildings, the villa boasts an interior designed by the renowned Ateliers d'Art De Coene, characterised by wood-panelled walls, stained-glass windows and parquet flooring.

For the inaugural exhibition, called Hôtel Maniera, the design gallery commissioned 15 new collectible furniture pieces from its roster of contemporary artists and architects.

Copper lights by Piovenefabi for Maniera
Piovenefabi has created cone-shaped metal floor lamps

They can be found in every room on the ground floor of the historic house, even the lavatory, while some of the gallery's previous commissions are presented in the rose garden.

"It was a very ambitious opening," said Amaryllis Jacobs, who founded the gallery with partner Kwinten Lavigne nearly a decade ago.

"We invited all of our artists and architects if they wanted to do something, and a lot of them said yes," she told Dezeen. "This is the way the Maniera family furnishes a house."

Lazy Pillows by Lukas Gchwandtner for Maniera
Lazy Pillows is an ambigious furniture work by Lukas Gchwandtner

One of the most striking pieces of show is an ambigious work by Austrian artist Lukas Gchwandtner, titled Lazy Pillows.

Located in the dining room, it consists of a steel platform topped with feather-filled cushions, which could be interpreted as a table, a bed or a sofa.

Kitchen at Hôtel Danckaert with table by Office KGDVS
Designs by Office KGDVS, Jonathan Muecke and Richard Venlet feature in the kitchen

The living room is meanwhile furnished entirely with works by Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia of Georgian studio Rooms, including their blocky Historic Bench and the monumental oak Lovers sofa.

The kitchen centres around Office KGDVS's aluminium Prototype 5 table, which is accompanied by pieces from American designer Jonathan Muecke and Richard Venlet.

Other works on show include a winding steel and rope floor lamp by Belgian sculptor Valérie Mannaerts and cone-shaped copper and brass lights by architecture studio Piovenefabi.

Hôtel Danckaert is one of several residential spaces that Maniera has occupied over the years.

When the gallery first launched in 2014, it was in Jacobs and Lavigne's own apartment. More recently, they have hosted pop-up exhibitions in houses that include the brutalist-style Van Wassenhove House near Ghent.

Bench by Sophie Nys for Maniera
Other new works include a bench by Sophie Nys and a lamp by Stéphane Barbier Bouvet

It was this that led the gallerists to seek out an architect-designed villa.

"We wanted to move out of the city centre, but we knew we had to find a special house," said Jacobs.

Hôtel Danckaert
The house was designed in 1922 by Belgian architect Jean-Baptiste Dewin

They felt an older building would make a more striking setting to display contemporary furniture, creating opportunites for surprising juxtapositions.

"It's such a beautiful house; all these pieces stand out here and become so much more beautiful," Jacobs said.

"A lot of visitors also say that our pieces make the house shine," she added.

The photography is by Jeroen Verrecht.

Hôtel Maniera is on show at from 4 March to 6 May 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

More images

Lazy Pillows by Lukas Gchwandtner for Maniera
Lazy Pillows by Lukas Gchwandtner for Maniera
Lazy Pillows by Lukas Gchwandtner for Maniera