The forthcoming exhibition “MOBILIA”, at the Atomium in Brussels, that runs from February 12 until June 15 2014, focuses on the talent of architects whose work, since the late nineteenth century, has evolved beyond the design of buildings, to the creation of furniture and objects. Belgium hasn’t bucked this trend. Some emblematic movements of modernist architecture were initiated, among others, by Belgian architects Victor Bourgeois and Huib Hoste with Le Corbusier. They were particularly active during the first International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) in 1928. Yet the story remains relatively unknown to the general public.
“MOBILIA”, an exhibition that charts the careers of thirty Belgian architects over a period of one hundred years, emphasizes the connection between architecture, interior design and furniture. Since 1900, the number of architects opting for a total creative approach has multiplied. They have delivered original and exclusive projects from the design of the facade to the design of door handles. “MOBILIA” is an opportunity to take stock of this tradition and take a look at the way it is being interpreted today.
The exhibition presents a series of furniture and objects created by the aforementioned Belgian architects. Each element of furniture illustrates how each architect manages to translate their style, concerns and philosophy, into the final design. The exhibition covers the period from Art Nouveau to the present day, although the pieces are not shown in chronological order. The range of work – from prototypes to mass-produced objects – are grouped around different themes.
The design for the exhibition encourages the viewer to look at works in a different light, to discover how each piece of furniture is made and understand the connection between the place it was intended for whilst appreciating its function. Such an approach allows us to understand the contemporary context. If today’s architects create furniture and objects like their predecessors, there isn’t always a direct correlation between these objects and a design for a building.