We’re connected worldwide. Not only in positive ways through the Internet or social media, but also in more disturbing situations, such as the pandemic or climate change. What happens on the other side of the world can impact us. To tackle these global challenges, and come up with innovative answers, we need to join hands. Or, as some might say in Belgium: unity makes us strong. Unified in studios and small collectives, Belgian designers try to formulate answers to the main ecological and societal quests. They use natural or discarded materials, find new recipes to upcycle plastics, and subtly point out cultural barriers. In doing so, they create objects with a strong soul.

The Atomium perfectly summarises the story behind the “We (Be)Come One” collection. As a magnified visualisation of the iron element, it represented hope for new material and the general future after World War II. Built for the World Expo in 1958 in Brussels – which showed innovative and cultural products from countries all around the globe – it unifies science, architecture, and sculpture. It, alongside the pieces in this collection, demonstrates that connection is key in our natural surroundings.

Read our interview with curator Elien Haentjens on Adorno Editorial.

We (Be)come one

Curated by Elien Haentjens

Mabo Plate
by ecoBirdy

The Mabo plate looks as if it is made from marble, but it is made entirely from recycled plastic food containers. ecoBirdy has developed a technique that allows the reclaimed plastic to be an integral part of the production process; its authentic characteristics organically form a vein-like pattern and create an earthy color palette. Colour schemes and patterns follow a gradient progression, which produces a series of six soft tonal shades. The resulting tableware is a stylish embellishment to dining.

by DWA Design Studio

“Crack” is an artisanal object series created in natural stone. “Crack #1” is a coffee table in basalt and colored resin. DWA Design Studio, including designers Frederik De Wachter and Alberto Artesani, is a multidisciplinary reality always aware of the changes around them. The heart of their work is to design. The duo believes in the value of creation and applies it to big and small things, complying with the creative process to the many ways of living.

by Emma Cogné

“Turborama” is a partition that is deployed like a curtain, functional outside as well as inside, as a spatial separator, filter or shadow screen. It is made from an inexpensive and recyclable material, an ICTA Sheath which is durable. The tube, a construction component usually hidden inside walls, is here much more visible. It is created by hand-knotting allowing for variations in rhythms, colors and density, and allowing for placements in many different combinations and dimensions.

“Grande Bleu”
by La Gadoue

Wall Tapestry / Curtain. Unique piece made from reused fabrics collected in Belgium, mainly cotton.

by Zaventem Ateliers

BLEND is a stool made up of thousands of waste fragments, residues of production from all
workshops of Zaventem Ateliers. The production scraps from each workshop have been meticulously crushed and mixed and bound. That process creates hazardously, not in shape but in composition, a peculiar and unique stool. It brings together the extraordinary fragments produced by all the workshops; leather, brass,
glass, ceramics, resin, foam, glitter, wood … Each workshop religiously conserves all its waste and the RENEWI company helps us shred it. Zaventem Ateliers is a creative hive of 32 workshops, each creator expresses through his art the extraordinary, the unique, the challenge. This place brings together and amplifies energy thanks to the talents gathered.

Stratum Saxum Coffee Table
by Daan De Wit

Stratum = Geological layers in the earth. Saxum = Stone / rock. “Stratum Saxum” is a collection made on the same technique as the “Stratum Series”. The collection is based on the serenity and eternal silence of rock. The smoked glass top of the dining table and the coffee tables make the pieces look solid and heavy from a distance. The closer you get, the lighter the objects become through the transparency of the glass.

by Studio Plastique

“Comrades” is a series of drinking vessels for alcoholic beverages of which the handling, shape, and material properties ask for skill as they intend a repositioning of alcohol as something valuable. Despite its increasing abuse, alcohol remains an agent incentive for our more playful side. These objects not only facilitate a kind of play or game, but they also offer control. A measure. The drunker you get the more these vessels will turn out to be illogically logic, physically surprising, or alarmingly delicate.

by Berre Brans

Strongly inspired by the cultural influence of the chair, designer Berre Brans deconstructed the chair both conceptually and functionally. The high “TABOURET” can be split into two lower ones: a forty-two-centimeter stool (Western sitting height and throne height) and a twenty-centimeter stool (natural human squatting position). These different hierarchical positions change the perception of the user towards his surroundings and the seat itself, hereby questioning the role of the chair within Western society. This artifact was created within the context of “POST ORIENTALISM – A Kid’s Instinct”, a personal project of Brans. In his research, he looks for new ways of designing and encouraging cultural exchange in a post-colonial society. He does this by inviting different people within his design process and building a constantly growing Atlas of theoretical, personal, and visual references.

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