For 46 years, the Biennale Interieur (located in the charming city of Kortrijk, Belgium) has been a destination for design-lovers seeking fresh ideas and innovative makers from Belgium and beyond. It was our first time at the bi-annual show and we were frankly blown away. The quality of the exhibition space/exhibitors and the thoughtful offsite exhibitions really made a walk down each aisle an exciting discovery. The show offered a well-curated experience between the main hall and the installations and exhibits located across town in the Buda Island district. Organized and run by a non-profit organization, with sleek Audis ferrying attendees back and forth, the two days we had for the show, were not nearly enough time to soak it all in. We did our best by taking very short breaks in the charming onsite cafes (created by designers), monitoring our beer drinking (we even visited a Beer Temple) and keeping a brisk pace (our FitBit numbers were through the roof).
One of our favorite areas was the special section celebrating outstanding Belgian designers and going back in time to show the rich talent that distinguishes the Belgian design scene. This year the “Designer of the Year” award, a prestigious title given to one who exhibits unique and creative design in their industry, was given to Marina Bautier. Marina is a native to Belgium, where she set up her own furniture design practice in 2002, until Lignet Roset discovered her work and fueled her international career in Milan. At a cocktail in honor of the exhibit, we got to meet other Belgian design super stars, including Alain Bertau, the founder of Objekten and one of our faves, who was awarded this title in 2006.
In addition to thought-provoking exhibits, installations and cash and carry designs, the show line-up included cocktail and dance parties at all hours and all over town. Our friends at Architonic went so far as to rent a decommissioned church for their annual disco event. The venue was attached to an old school that was soon to be demolished. The city allowed the show to take over the space to fill it with student design work as well as a fab pop-up restaurant. We got coveted reservations for dinner on the long school-house tables. It was wonderful! Another after-hours hot ticket was to the Wünder party sponsored by Axor, Duravit, Delta Lighting, Casaus, Samsung and Barrisol and featuring installations, dancing and Belgian beers.. need we say more!
Additional culinary highlights included the home gelato makers on the show floor and some of the best gelato we have ever had… AND for free at a trade show to boot – fantastic chocolates and frites!!!