A piece of furniture is also a house

Van Hee, Robbrecht & Daem, Kieckens, Dubois

Five architects who all graduated in Ghent in 1974/5 – Marie-José Van Hee, Paul Robbrecht and Hilde Daem, Christian Kieckens and Marc Dubois – can be considered to be the protagonists of a generation. Their work and influence have played an instrumental role in the development of a culture of architecture in Flanders. The exhibition examines interiors, scenography (stage design) and furniture design. A keen interest in construction history, the relationship with art, and ensuring that things can be manufactured in a logical way are also the basis of their designs for both interiors and furniture. In addition, each of them has selected one or more objects from the Design Museum’s collection, guided by their sense of inter-relationship, inspiration or wonder. The result is an exciting constellation in the stylish rooms of the Hotel De Coninck.


Christian Kieckens chose to focus on the theme of Milan, the city of design, where several of his teachers and inspirations live(d). The furniture and interior designer Pieter De Bruyne, the Milanese modern architects Giovanni Muzio, Asnago & Vender, BBPR, Figini Pollini …  who have shaped the face of the twentieth-century city, and the designers Gio Ponti, Aldo Rossi, Ettore Sottsass and Gino Sarfatti. Kieckens contrasts their designs with two of his table designs. The exhibition also offers an overview of 60 scenographies that Kieckens designed for architecture, art and design exhibitions.

As the architect of numerous private residences, Marie-José Van Hee has developed over the years a very specific vision on dwelling. In her design, she integrates the furniture into the various rooms and circulation areas. The walls, stairwells, corridors … conceal a wall cupboard, a cloakroom, a study or a library. She believes that the only furniture in a house should be a table, a chair and a bed. The inhabitants are free to add them, move them around or remove them, depending on their needs, the seasons or the phases of their life. The exhibition presents two homes in which this vision is clearly expressed.

The career of Robbrecht & Daem architects has always been characterized by an intense collaboration with artists. They have not only designed studios and exhibition spaces for them, but also furniture. As an example, we have selected one of a series of benches designed for contemplating the paintings of Raoul De Keyser. The “Ta Tisch” table is exhibited alongside the bench, as well as the “Joburg Stool”, which recently went into production. The robustness and the selected colors reflect the characteristics of their architecture.

Marc Dubois has a separate meaning in this exhibition, highlighting his role as a promotor and spokesman for architectural and design culture in Belgium. As an architectural historian, he helped build the collection of the Design Museum, and, as a critic and curator, co-founded the Stichting Architectuur Museum (Architectural Foundation Museum). We thereby also examine his role as the director of the Biennial Interieur Design events in Kortrijk, and his influence as Design Master in Kortrijk. Dubois makes connections between design, architecture and heritage, and his commitment has become synonymous with the importance of good design at every level and that is accessible to everyone.

08.07.2016 - 23.10.2016

Design Museum, Ghent (BE)

Contemporary Architecture, Design