Collectible 2021 Preview
The Belgian contemporary design fair is heading online this year. Here are the key pieces not to miss
Brussels’ Collectible fair – the only design show in the world to focus solely on 21st-century works – is heading online due to ongoing travel restrictions in Europe. Reborn for its fourth iteration as Collectible Salon, the virtual show runs from 28-30 May 2021 and showcases cutting-edge contemporary design, with a ‘main stage’ of big-name galleries plus emerging independent studios, accompanied by a programme of talks. For those lucky enough to be in the Belgian capital, a number of venues across the city will also host shows and events.
Brussels’ Atelier Jespers is showing Anthony Guerrée’s series of chairs inspired by À La Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), with each piece representing a character from Marcel Proust’s seven-volume autobiographical novel. Working across a range of textures, forms and materials, Guerrée’s work includes Vinteuil, a cork-topped bench based on a piano stool, whose slatted base represents the five lines of a musical staff; and Albertine, inspired by a classic 1970s high-backed rattan chair but made with a huge wheel of oat straw and linen rope attached to its solid oak base.
Sitting at the cutting edge of ceramics, Antwerp gallery 12WYK is showing a diverse series of works including the eerily smooth tubular porcelain sculpture by Roger Coll and Floris Wubbin’s extruded glazed stoneware. Poland’s Monika Patuszynska makes work from old plaster moulds collected from abandoned ceramic factories, conjoining them to make entirely new, sometimes towering forms: she is interested in the imperfections that come from making and describes her practice as “chasing accidents”.
Explore the interaction between colour and light at Spazio Nobile. French duo Guillaume Garnier and Florent Linker’s Diatomée series of glass vases are made using lost-wax casting, and contain delicate strings of air-bubbles unique to each piece. Adi Toch’s vessels are made from beautifully patinated metal, their smooth curves and iridescent finish making them irresistibly tactile.
Todd Merrill Studio
New York’s Todd Merrill Studio returns to the fair with works from British designer Marc Fish’s Ethereal series, including a sinuous drinks cabinet and console. Fish’s work, with layer upon layer of hand-cut, paper-thin sycamore veneer suspended in resin, has an otherworldly quality – and also points to the whiplash asymmetrical lines of art nouveaux – but is inspired by nature’s complexity such as delicate leaf structures.
New to the show this year is Artskop3437, which specialises in collectible design by makers from (or influenced by) Africa. French artist and illustrator Louis Barthélemy – who in a former life designed prints and patterns for Dior under John Galliano – works with communities of artisans in Egypt to create works such as Nubian Romance, an appliquéd, hand embroidered cotton panel; while architect and designer Aro Vega’s brand Monogram has produced the Mélos chair in a ‘wild’ version upholstered in blue velvet and pink brocade.
Victor Hunt. Dealer.
The Lights At The End Of The Tunnel is a new collection of bespoke lighting curated by Victor Hunt. The gallery was an early champion of the now-exalted Sabine Marcelis, showing her Dawn lights at DesignMiami in 2015; her new work, Rise, consists of layered mirrors and neon lights to create an optical illusion of infinity. Laurids Gallée’s Patras lights are equally intriguing multimedia pieces, made from hand-blown neon glass tubes shaded by long fringed curtains.
Anthropic Entropic is a new trio of rugs for Italian company Nodus, designed by Roberto Sironi. Made from wool, bamboo silk and hemp and hand-knotted in Nepal, the three designs are inspired by a satellite’s-eye view of the earth’s surface – strange landscapes that mix man-made features with natural ones, where vast landmarks such as rivers, dams and forests are reduced to mere surface pattern. Sironi’s rugs are a collage of these overlapping elements, and, viewed at close range rather than with a birds-eye view, are highly three-dimensional, with higher and lower piles defining each geologically inspired feature.
Collectible’s separate Curated section is dedicated to emerging and mid-career independent designers and studios working with pioneering ideas and processes. This year it’s overseen by New York-based curator, writer and entrepreneur Julia Haney Montañez, whose overarching theme – ‘Tension!’ – explores the impact of global change on design. Exhibitors include Dutch designer Ward Wijnant, whose Chunk candleholders are made from tinfoil, pressed around a mould; and New York-based Ara Thorose, whose rubber and steel chairs look like an unbroken swirl of piped icing.