Hosted by Brussels Design September, Flanders DC, and Wallonie Design, the second edition of the Contemporary Design Market (CDM) takes place 26-27 September 2020. The exclusive exhibition and sales platform celebrates its role as the first public design event in Brussels held since COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020.
Invited to participate by an expert committee, fifty Belgian designers range from established to up-and-coming talent working across disciplines and in a variety of media. Held in tandem with the Brussels Design Market dedicated to 20th-century Belgian design, CDM’s national focus is designed to support local creative industries and communities, but also to raise the international profile of Belgian design, which the organisers say is globally ‘underrated’.
Here COVER previews the work of five designers featured in the Market whose output includes rugs and textiles. These designers ‘act locally but think globally’. In all cases their research and development is Belgium-based, while in some cases materials such as wool are sourced from countries such as New Zealand and Portugal and production is outsourced to countries such as India.
Les Monseigneurs is the artistic practice of Thomas Renwart and graphic designer Victor Verhelst. Their ‘muse’ is textiles, and their research and inspiration includes everything plant-based: horticulture, botanicals, home-grown and dried specimens, and vintage floral embroidery. At CDM Les Monseigneurs presents handmade quilts with graphic slogans, geometrics and flower patterns, rugs featuring abstract plant motifs woven with chenille, cotton, and recycled yarns at Lampe Textiles in Tielt, Belgium, and a trio of pink-ground jacquard tapestries created at TextielMuseum’s TextielLab. Unconventional materials were essential to the design process for the tapestry trio: ‘We searched for a way to use unconventional materials such as rubber and paper to create . . . structure and relief. We achieved this by weaving tiny geometric figures that were filled with a special type of yarn. This resulted in a background with more depth and a kind of scale pattern.’
Emma Terweduwe is a textile designer based in Ghent who graduated with an MA in Textile Design from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent. Her studio focus is jacquard-weave objects for home and fashion woven with ‘subtle yet expressive’ materials like linen and wool. Tactility and structure are key to her designs. Felting and manipulating the woven fabrics allied with her strong graphic designs create weaves that look and feel luxuriously tactile. Her work at CDW includes a starkly graphic grid-based rug with a contrasting wave border.
No More Twist in Liège is the textile research and production studio of Marie Beguin. Experiments with warp and weft are integral to her process. Her highly innovative jacquard weaves can include ‘cut floats’ that sail above the textile surface or weaves where warp and weft are sectionally interlocked to create unusual patterns like those found in her Fluxus weave from the Pinacoteca collection where warp and weft tensions ‘oscillate like a wave’ and create an optical illusion effect. The dimensionality, texture, and colour of each yarn is her starting point. Each weave is created in her Liège studio on a computerised floor-based manual loom. At CDM she presents jacquard weave cushions and throws, and ‘weave and light’ curtains where warp and weft create the dual sensations of privacy and openness.
Coloriages is a rug collection by Nicolas Bovesse based on children’s drawings. ‘I’ve been interested in children’s drawings for a long time,’ he says, ‘especially pages from colouring books.’ The holiday drawing of an ‘electric blue’ lake by his six-year-old son became the wool rug Lake in the Coloriages collection. Bovesse’s primary interest is the transition from a spontaneous drawing to finished rug. He describes the design of Lake rug as ‘a drawing abstract enough not to be directly linked to the world of childhood, but also so natural [looking] that it refers to it’. Designed in collaboration with his son and his son’s twin sister, Bovesse presents three Coloriages rugs at CDM made from New Zealand wool and hand-tufted in India under the CARE AND FAIR programme which guarantees respect for workers and no child labour.
The Alfred Collection is the label of Ghent textile designers Marie Mees and Cathérine Biasino. Their high-end interior textiles are woven in natural materials such as linen and wool with striking and timeless yet contemporary designs that do not follow on trends or ‘seasonal’ fashion. The common thread in the story of The Alfred Collection is the duo’s love for beautiful, pure materials. On show at CDM are rugs woven from 100% natural fibres, including soft New Zealand wool blended with durable Portuguese wool.