Belgium has a storied history with textiles, from the flax fields in the northern part of the country, to the spinning factories of yesteryear, to the new generation of designers experimenting with material research today. In celebration of Belgium’s role in the textile design industry, Belgium is Design has launched “The Gift to be Simple,” an exhibition curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano as part of the 7th annual New York Textile Month in October.
“In chaotic and fearful times, humanity will naturally look for answers and find solace in simplicity. People are trying to make the ordinary extraordinary,” curator and trend forecaster Lidewij says of the atmosphere surrounding and inspiring the exhibition. The exhibition displays textiles, furniture, and objects that are original, quality, and, above all, very simple and honest. The sincerity of each object is amplified in the accompanying, purist furniture from Atmosphère & Bois Home, which is partly fabricated from reclaimed woods.
Each of the nine designers featured in the exhibit brings her own style and material knowledge to create straightforward, emotional products. Their roots in Belgian design connect to the trend of sincerity and material honesty today and become extraordinary through the designed tactile transformations. Here are three of our favorites:
1. Natalia Brilli
In soft curiosities and crafted rugs, Natalia Brilli creates a homely fantasy. “I try to give nobility to the simplest things, to transform these everyday objects into luxurious and rare objects, to make them true hybrids between crafts, sculptures, and installations,” Natalia says.
2. Pascale Risbourg
Pascale Risbourg’s archetypal designs tell a rustic and intuitive still-life story, whether she is working on bespoke wallpaper, hand-tufted carpets, or the artistic ceramics shown in this exhibition.
3. Vanessa Colignon
Woven bath products by Vanessa Colignon reflect on the importance of wellness and cleanliness, and offer a commentary on sustainability. Vanessa’s brand, Design for Resilience, makes sustainable domestic products from linen and hemp.