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Belgian Designers and Their Interiors is a compilation of fifteen homes of Belgian designers. The houses and apartments are photographed as they really are, without any styling, and show each designers interior as a very personal space. From young emerging talents to the distinguished or specialized designer, there is a wide range of style in these interiors. From functionality to simplicity, all are an elegant testament to the enduring uniqueness that has made Belgian design inspirational and compelling.
Designer Alain Gilles and his wife bought an abandoned factory for making fur coats and raincoats, and renovated the building leaving exposed some of the original elements: brick walls, parquet floors and structural beams. They then furnished the annex with flea market finds. They did this at a time before it was fashionable. The loft is quite simple and spare in terms of furnishings, utilizing classic modern style such as a Charles and Ray Eames lounge chair and ottoman and mid–century fiberglass furniture. Floor length mauve draperies soften the austere industrial space. Gilles explains, "I really wanted to create the sense of a space that welcomed visitors with open arms."
Marina Bautier designs wooden furniture with a modest, restrained aesthetic. She says, "I have produced a large number of prototypes myself; they naturally end up in my interior, alongside antique furniture or pieces that were made especially for this house." Her home environment is mostly white, with the natural wood furniture and built–in shelves creating a warm but lived–in feeling. Spare but well placed objects give interesting focal points throughout the older looking structure, with shots of color highlighting a wall or floor.
Sofie Lachaert and Luc d’Hanis bought a house that long ago served as a shipbuilding yard. They bought it for many practical reasons, but chiefly because they felt it had a soul. Lachaert and d’Hanis have created an environment of collaboration and symbiosis, she a jewelry designer/goldsmith and he an artist. They comment, "Our house serves as a base for the creative and aesthetic world we want to shape and exhibit." Indeed, it is creative but understated, with whimsical details merging with natural woods and distressed metal industrial pieces. They love to entertain, and approach their aesthetic with that in mind.
Belgian Designers and Their Interiors is a fine collection of designers’ insights and personal philosophies about design. Included are biographies about each designer with a selection of projects they have worked on. This book gives a unique glimpse into the diversity of many creative Belgian environments, and is a great addition to any creative library.Reviewed by FIDM Staff Member Cynthia Aaron.