Baranzate Ateliers and Bold Dualities : The power of contrast (and of the collective)

Baranzate Ateliers and Bold Dualities : the power of contrast (and of the collective)

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Belgium is Design took part in Milan Design Week with the BOLD Dualities exhibition, featuring a selection of 30 projects, some never before shown at an international fair. In a societal, economic and cultural context that makes the power of the collective more relevant than ever, the exhibition was part of the Baranzate Ateliers project, created by Lionel Jadot, designer and founder of Zaventem Ateliers in Brussels.
Part of the FuoriSalone, the offshoot of the fair, this unique project gave Design Week visitors a broad overview of the many faces of Belgian design today.

In dialogue

This collection of disused warehouses, a kind of concrete cathedral, was located near Linate airport. 7,000 square meters of exhibition space were complemented by large outdoor areas, a source of dialogue and exchange between the many different worlds that coexisted on the same site. 35 studios and 15 guest projects. 6 days of exhibition. A raw setting, the perfect backdrop for the hybrid and multi-faceted proposals of Zaventem Ateliers, a multi-disciplinary creation and production space based at the gates of Brussels since 2019.

(c) Baranzate_Amber Vanbosse

For the second edition orchestrated by the collective in Milan, Lionel Jadot, conductor of this high-profile initiative, chose to broaden the debate by joining forces with several other projects. The industrial nature of the site invited a minimalist, unadorned scenography. Separated (or not, depending on the mood of the Milanese breeze) by white sheets, the spaces occupied by the designers left plenty of room for wandering around and taking in the different proposals.

(c) Marek Swoboda Fotografia
BOLD Dualities – Sustainable logic

For Belgium is Design, it was an obvious choice to take part in this multi-faceted project. It was a way of underlining its desire to be part of a collective dimension of design, but also of fully expressing the strength of its proposal. The Bold Dualities exhibition was a profound reflection on the meaning of design, with the aim of putting craftsmanship back at the center of the debate. Curated by Baroness O., the focus was on gesture, but also on the contrasts that emerge from the juxtaposition of textile objects, pieces of furniture and lighting. Karel Burssens‘ “zero waste” scenographic approach sought to emphasize the coherence of the different proposals, but also their own specificities. In the center of the concrete space, a large silver curtain, a souvenir of a fashion show by Belgian designer Dries van Noten, offered a global yet fragmented view of the 30 selected projects.

Coming from a variety of backgrounds (interior architecture, accessories design and craftsmanship), the representatives of the shortlist engaged in a fine exercise in exposure. Or how, in a single object, to translate the fruit of several months’ research. The playful nature of the various creations further underlined the relevance of the proposals. Among others, the carpet by Cocono (a studio based in Mouscron that promotes design using upcycled yarns) at the entrance to the exhibition set the tone. The tone was one of committed but joyful design. Just as the toys made from recycled materials by Combo Toys, entirely handmade, combine the concepts of circularity and modularity, as well as a search for beauty, common to all the proposals in this curation.

The mirror by Lou van’t Riet springs to mind: by offering the user the choice of folding the two sides of the mirror, the young designer launches into a poetic reflection on the role of the object in our daily lives and our quest for intimacy. As for the 3 designers/artisans grouped together under the Maak & Transmettre label, the constant search for new textile processes guides their work. Arches, the curtain they presented in Milan, plays on contrasts and transparency effects. For Ana Maria Gomez, founder of amgs studio, the FuoriSalone was an opportunity to present Cravo, a tapestry developed during a residency in Portugal in collaboration with the Belgian creative studio Omarcity.

Research in focus

Founder of the Brussels studio Tenue de Ville, Alexia de Ville was also among the Belgian delegation. Building on her recent research into the transformation of surplus paper from her wallpaper collections, the designer is now developing a woven material that has attracted a key player in the Belgian fashion industry. The result of their collaboration will be unveiled next summer. More and more often, there seems to be just one step between fashion and the object. Visitors to the show were able to observe this in the work of Lisa Berden. With the two tables and the mirror she presented in Milan, the jewelry designer plays on the idea of reflection. The way in which her objects interact with the space echoed other proposals, including that of Nathalie van der Massen. Winner of the Henry van de Velde Young Talent 2024 prize, the textile designer has developed a series of screens that also poetically question our relationship with space, while encouraging the use of noble materials (wood, natural fibers, brass, etc.).

Promoting Creative Minds

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