The international fair for collectible design returns from 9-12 March in a new landmark venue, the Sheds of Tour & Taxis in Brussels
Photography by Pieter D’Hoop featuring Objects with Narratives by Dim Atelier, Labia, 2022
Words by Alia Akkam
In 2018, the year that Liv Vaisberg launched COLLECTIBLE with Clélie Debehault, she admits that it was ‘hard to explain to people what we were doing. They didn’t know what collectible design was,’ she recalls.
As Vaisberg gears up for the sixth edition of the international fair dedicated to 21st-century collectible design on March 9 through 12 in Brussels, it is clear the atmosphere has shifted.
There is a rising interest in and appreciation for bespoke and limited-edition pieces among collectors and the design industry, inevitably propelled by such enlightening showcases as COLLECTIBLE.
Photography by Jasper Timmermans featuring Gert Wessels, presented by fābula gallery, Citrus Cabinet. Object 64, 2022
‘I come from the art world. We were into experimental design, design that has something to say,’ explains Vaisberg of COLLECTIBLE’s inception. ‘Now, people come to the fair knowing they are going to see something new.’
This year’s COLLECTIBLE certainly promises surprises. For the first time the event will be held in Tour & Taxis, an historic, industrial building brightened by scenography starring inflatable, reusable, nature-inspired objects from PAF Atelier, complemented by Atelier Ief Spincemaille’s giant, playful rope structures and an unconventional booth layout courtesy of Volfram.
Vaisberg and Debehault loved and will miss the Vanderborght, the building currently under refurbishment where COLLECTIBLE was previously held, but they are ‘happy we have this huge space. It was like having a white page and we could do what we wanted,’ says Vaisberg. ‘The booths cross like rays of sun, so it’s not like a traditional alley with the white cubes on each side; there is interaction between exhibitors and visitors.’
Photography by Eva Donckers featuring COLLECTIBLE co-founders, Clélie Debehault and Liv Vaisberg
In addition to the main area, which welcomes a slew of new galleries and concept stores, like Tableau in Copenhagen and The Frozen Fountain in Amsterdam, as well as several focused on jewellery, there are two new sections: New Garde, revolving around up-and-coming collectives, and Architect-Designer, for which architect Nicolas Schuybroek puts the spotlight on furniture from Edgar Jayet, Corpus Studio, AdriAn Blanc, Marion Bernard Architectes, and Béton Brut. There is also Bespoke, centred on innovative materials and artisanal techniques.
Especially thought-provoking is Curated, an assemblage of works from 22 different artists, designers, and architects across the globe selected by Paris-based multidisciplinary artist and designer Leo Orta through an open call.
Although Orta thinks the term collectible design ‘is now in our vocabulary and the possibilities have opened up for putting it in interior landscapes,’ he points out, he still believes the value of a one-off chair or floor lamp, say, tends to be underestimated by collectors compared to contemporary art. ‘From my young designer perspective, in terms of accessibility and pricing, collectible design is still a bit complicated.’
Photography featuring Hong Kong Born artist-designer, Didi NG Wing Yin
The 2023 iteration of Curated, then, is an opportunity to delve deeper into the ideas and processes shaping collectible design, paying special attention to sustainability and collaboration.
Guided by the premise What is Your Story? Orta wanted to sidestep the ‘marketing and commercial aspects and look at how design can be valuable in the steps that we take as makers and thinkers,’ he elaborates.
Ultimately, Orta wanted the talents he chose for Curated ‘to get closer to understanding where the materials come from, what the crafts are, and how they connect within their local community.’