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Belgium is Design

A Matter of Perception: Tradition&Technology – Palazzo Litta, Corso Magenta 24, Milano

In collaboration with: Les Carrières de la Pierre Bleue Belge, Alton, Van Den Weghe, Delvaux, Tannerie Radermecker, van Caster, Valerie_Objects by Alton, Atmosphère et Bois, Het Glazen Huis, Materialise, Ralph Baggaley

For Milan Design Week 2016, theorganisations and institutions that support and promote Belgian design under the collective nameBelgiumisDesign, have joined forces with the international contemporary culture magazine DAMN°. Taking part in the group event A Matter of Perception: Tradition & Technology at the Palazzo Litta, the seventh edition of Belgium is Design’s presentation in Milan, BelgianMatters, features the results of pairings between 13 designers and companies, the latter often coming from sectors far removed from that of furniture design. Each project has been com-missioned especially for the event and will be seen for the first time during the Salone. For DAMN° together with Mosca Partners it is a return to the 17th-centu-ry PalazzoLitta, having hosted AMatter of Perception: Products & Materials at the location in 2015. Centrally situated on the Corso Magenta, it is a place filled but not overwhelmed by centuries-old stories of the people engaged in culture, politics, economics and the art of socialising that have passed through its doorways. This time DAMN°, an independent publication founded in Belgium 11years ago, invites DiébédoFrancisKéré to reflect on A Matter of Perception. TheBerlin-based architect, who was born in Burkina Faso, trans-forms the courtyard into Neo-Africana: a meeting pavilion, which celebrates and animates the timely and timeless themes of tradition and technology, alongside a series of talks and activi-ties that includes live-interviews with the Belgian contributors. It is within this contextthat Belgium isDesign has wor ked closely with DAMN° in selectingand matching the participants for Belgian Matters, who come from all three regions of Belgium (Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia) and occupy three rooms of the Palazzo. The partnerships have been forged and supported by Belgiumis Design and present a series of ad-hoc products and prototypes that stress confrontations and commonalities between designers and manufacturers, as they work both with their fields of expertise but also outside their normal experiences. Designers use a range of materials (bluestone, leather and wood) or techniques (glass blowing, tapestry and tanning) with different degrees of familiarity. However, for the mix of manufacturers, artisans, industrial pro-ducers and research centres, it is often the first opportunity to experiment andencounter design as a collaborative actor in a way that expands and exploits the potential of their role beyond that of a supplier of materials or the tools of production. What links these diverseapproaches and mixedtypologies (ac-cessories, small objects or furniture) is the emphasis on the creation of each project, the processof makingand mutual learning, and the dialogue that has arisen out of these carefully crafted relationships.Thomas Lommée & Christiane Högner, who are participating as designers, are also responsible for the scenogra-phy and Kidnap Your Designer is the team behind the graphic design of the Belgium is Design 2016 edition. Ultimately it’s all about connections, from the content to the setting: this is Belgian design, made in Belgium, but decid-edly for the world and uninhibited by borders of experience.

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