The Biennale Interieur in the Belgian town of Kortrijk stands out from the design fair crowd, not least because of its accessible scale, judicious mix of conceptual installations and commercial brands and, above all, its enticing attention to detail.
For the biennale's 25th edition – themed 'Silvers Linings – Interiors' – the curatorial team was made up of Brussels-based architecture firm Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, artist Richard Venlet and graphic designer Joris Kritis. Silver as a leitmotif was accordingly featured in everything from the billowing fabric lining the ceilings to the Ann Demeulemeester uniforms worn by the hosts replete with sparkly shoes and bags. A series of ‘complete interiors’ commissioned or designed by the curators and invited galleries and studios were also housed in perforated or opaque corrugated silver aluminium shells and boxes to great effect.
Vincent Van Duysen was named Interieur’s Designer of the Year, with his work for various brands staged in an interiors setting. Photography: Frederik Vercruysse
Of the 250-odd brands on show standouts included Berlin Design Selection, a collection of designers based in the German capital whose products – displayed in an alluring space painted deep blue, pink and green – demonstrated flair, manufacturing know-how and originality. Showing for the first time in Europe, Canadian lighting marque Lambert & Fils wowed with its spare, architectural and geometric new collection entitled 'Laurent', made by hand in its Montreal workshop, while London-based Australian designer Brodie Neill chose to debut his deceptively simple marble-and-wood 'Elements' table in Kortrijk.
Paris-based Studio Dessuant Bone teamed up with local window frame-manufacturer Allaert Aluminium to create a striking installation that showcased the latter’s manufacturing capacities and Belgian design also shone at Serax, a furniture, tableware and textiles brand known for its accessible and on-the-pulse collections. This year it launched a collection of tables, shelves and clothes racks by Brussels design studio PJ Mares made (partly) out of powder-coated steel in appealing pastels and shades of gold.