Interieur comes but once every 2 years and that's probably a good thing. It means the standard of exhibitor is high, the standard of exhibition design is high and visitors are eager to see whats on offer. Splitting the show into 2 separate venues, as the organisers did this year, may not be such a good thing, but more of that later.
Interieur at Kortrijk is a chance for the Benelux designers and brands to flex their muscle. With a tendency to be more decorative than the Scandinavians, and quirkier than the Italians, the show has a unique feeling. It's immediately obvious there is a strong curatorial team in charge, with each hall linked by a central corridor, gently guiding you around. Rather than have a single guest of honour, several designers were invited to create installations and temporary cafes on the theme "Future Primitives" which interrupted the corridor. Makkink & Bey, Nendo and Muller Van Severen all created hugely different spaces.
|Installation by Makkink & Bey|
|Installation by Nendo|
One of the more attractive elements of Interieur is that space is given to design galleries, representing less commercial designers and "design-art". Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Galerie Greta Meert (showcasing works by Donald Judd), Valerie Traan (who represents Muller Van Severen amongst others) and Victor Hunt all had space within the main exhibition halls. After LDF, followed by PAD London and Frieze, it's good to see these different sides of the design industry can co-exist.
|Installation by Muller Van Severen|
Less effective was the new Buda Island area in the city centre. A fleet of Audi cars in blue and pink Interieur livery carried you from one site to the other. The new zone focused on younger designers and brands and was almost a mini Zona Tortona. However, it felt isolated and had no interaction with the city around it. It may as well have been in an exhibition centre on the edge of town. However, the first time is always difficult, so we won't be too harsh. There were some definite highlights like the Troika ARCADES PROJECT, a site specific installation, and part of the Future Primitives programme, that created a cathedral of light.
It was also good to see Dennis Parren's CYMK light again (last seen tucked in a corner of Spazio Rossana Orlandi) and Vera, Chapter Two, a "must see" during LDF that we missed.
One strand that linked the two sites was the multitude of 3D printing. Long been mooted as the future of design, 3D printing or rapid proto-typing as it is also known, was by far the biggest trend on show. Stepping into the mainstream, it is not that difficult to envisage a day when a show like Interieur becomes an online only event and a visitor to the site can print out at home any of the designs that takes their fancy.
|3D printing at design vlaanderen|