Opening this week, the international fair for 21st-century collectible design embraces a digital platform with virtual talks, exhibitions, and livestreams from galleries and showrooms.
By Rachel Gallaher
Monica Patuszynska, 12WYK. 'On adjusting on mismatching and the difficult a balance,' 2019. 47 x 20 x 55 cm. Porcelain. Image courtesy the artist.
Now in its fifth year, COLLECTIBLE—the Brussels-based fair focused on contemporary design—has gone digital. Opening on May 28 (and running through the 30th), the platform will offer collectible design by an international roster of emerging and established design galleries, design studios, and pioneering brands. And even though a digital version isn’t quite what the organizers hoped for, it does open the fair to a much large audience who might not otherwise be able to attend in person.
“Despite the frustration of having to move to an online fair only, we are also grateful that we have been working for the past eight months on our very own platform which totally reflects our DNA and spirit,” says COLLECTIBLE cofounder Liv Vaisberg. “COLLECTIBLE is the only global fair to focus on contemporary collectible design and for the past four years we have witnessed a tight community of designers, galleries, collectors, curators and other design professionals building up around our event in Brussels. We are glad we can still find a way to put this type of design forward while reaching out to more people by being global. Expect some interesting talks, recommendations from varied insiders and new works developed just for COLLECTIBLE Salon.”
Koen van Guijze. 'Stacking,' 2020. 123 x 53 x 120 cm. Wheatered brass. Image © Franziska Krieck.
Site visitors can expect the same high-end design picks that they would find at the in-person venue, and highlights include: a new collection of bespoke lighting pieces, The Lights at the end of the tunnel, by several European designers including Laurids Gallée, Sabine Marcelis, and Arnaud Eubelen at Victor Hunt; Dealer, the latest series of conceptual furniture by Johan Viladrich at Atelier Jespers; Louis Barthelemy's newest tapestries through Artskop3437; Xavier Lust's Hard Whale cabinet with a patina of aluminium reminiscent of the skin of a whale underwater; and much more.
In addition to the digital platform, COLLECTIBLE WEEK (May 26-30) will be held around Brussels as a way to spotlight local designers at galleries and boutiques across the city. Events and small exhibitions featuring new work will be happening at Victor Hunt, Atelier Jespers, MANIERA, and more.
Galerie SCENE OUVERTE - Léa Mestres. Yellow Bench, 2020. 45 x 135 x 35 cm. Ceramic. Image © and courtesy Galerie Scene Ouverte
“We are very grateful that our local community responded very positively to the idea of still finding a way to celebrate contemporary collectible design in Brussels,” says COLLECTIBLE cofounder Clélie Debehault. “Several galleries and designers have put their best efforts to host exceptional solo shows. It is a way to also give back to our attentive and faithful local audience who are dying to see design again in real life!
“We did not want to let our community down,” she adds. “Working on the platform has been almost as much work as a physical fair but developing the right tool for our exhibitors was very important and a way to continue supporting them during this difficult period. We hope our audience will enjoy visiting it as much as we are enjoying putting it together!”