10 Young Arts & Tech Designers From Belgium
Brought up in a family working in reclaimed building materials, Ben Storms has always been attached to the material itself when approaching his designs. Exploring the boundaries of materials, Storms seems to counter their natural properties. In his ‘In Vein’ piece, the designer challenges the heaviness of marble by giving it a lightweight form, placing a marble slab on top of thin steel legs and crafting a movable trestle table.
Bloemen and Martijn Vogelaers
Deborah Bloemen and Martijn Vogelaers are the couple behind Uber and Kosher. Functioning as an art direction studio, Uber and Kosher covers a range of design-related projects including concept design, artwork, styling, graphic design and consultancy for the fashion, music, art and film industry. Their work is guided by their aesthetic intuition and they are influenced by the emotions evoked by the artists with whom they work.
Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen
Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen are an Antwerp-based design duo going by the name Unfold. With interests ranging from research, design-theory to computational design methods and developing a 3D printing method for ceramics, Unfold have pushed the boundaries of craftsmanship. They have recently put together a book Printing Things, Visions and Essentials for 3D-Printing, heavily acknowledging the role that the new technology is beginning to play for contemporary designers.
Elisabeth Leenknegt is a jewellery designer with 10 years under her belt working within her Elisa Lee label. Coming from a family of glass artists, Leenknegt uses blown glass in her jewelry as well as hand-forged silver. For her ‘[BIT]’ collection, Leenknegt created a line of jewellery inspired by moments of sensory rest, which she claims we each have the right to experience. These moments of change, moving from awareness to rest remind Leenknegt of her childhood horse-riding days which explains the horse-related titles of the pieces.
Illustrating for magazines, creating prints and textiles for the fashion world, shaping patterns for ceramics and collaborating with interior designers – Inge Rylant is a graphic designer who extends herself well-beyond the traditional remit for this form of design. Drawing influence from illustrators as Charley Harper and Dick Bruna, Rylant abstracts everyday objects into their fundamental building blocks of colour and composition. Rylant uses digital tools to create her illustrations, but attempts to juxtapose her use of current technology by printing her images using the analogue silkscreen technique.
Inspired by nature and its fragility, Kaspar Hamacher approaches his designs with simplicity and works as a new craftsman. He takes wood from the forest, pieces of fallen trees and shapes the raw material by way of a controlled burning technique. Through the destruction of the wood emerge four legs and when tipped over, the piece becomes a stool or a bookshelf.
“Humour is just another defence against the universe” is the principle of this young textile designer works. Myrthe Steijaert creates textiles with combinations of materials and techniques, resulting in colourful and unique designs. The humoristic aspect of her work seems to stem from the unusual combinations which somehow complement each other. She manipulates materials in a stunning way, turning simple materials such as basic foam into a quilted pattern, creating her own unique prints.
An Antwerp native, Niels Peeraer graduated from the Royal Fashion Academy of Antwerp in 2011 with a collection that earned him five awards and the opportunity to collaborate with DELVAUX, the Belgian house for fine leather and luxury goods. The idea of androgyny and the difference between masculinity and femininity are highlighted in his designs and approached in a fresh way. The young designer has already made a name for himself in Paris with his brand for leather accessories.
Graduating in 2013 with a degree in architecture, Reinaart Vandersloten has an eye for spatial arrangement. Working as a designer and architect, he has created the furniture piece ‘Space+’, a transformable structure built for multifunctional use in small living spaces. Using origami as a technical inspiration, a reflective brass display piece is designed to be folded out into a working desk, clad in felt. Whilst the reflective quality of the brass enlarges small rooms, the felt desk has sound absorption qualities.
Studying the relationship between the artist and their muse, Wim Bruynooghe created his graduation fashion collection ‘Lena’ at the Royal Fashion Academy of Antwerp in 2013. Bruynooghe uses polyurethane in many of the pieces from his collection, giving movement to the plastic material whilst showcasing his line drawings and creating a modern stained glass effect. The graphic drawings inserted between the polyurethane also show the extent of the research done for the collection, an aspect of fashion not often given much importance.