One of Antwerp’s most discreet and elegant retail destinations has opened its private apartment space to show a new collection of hybrid furnishings by design duo Muller Van Severen.
Transformed by the Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen, the Graanmarkt 13 store occupies a grand town house on a quiet cobbled square behind Antwerp’s neoclassical Bourla theatre.
Reaching beyond the usual ‘concept store’ clichés, it houses an experimental vegetable-centric restaurant, fashion and contemporary craft objects, a rooftop vegetable garden, and a gallery. It used to house owners Ilse and Tim as well, but their soaring concrete-clad rooftop apartment is now leased out for private rentals.
This month ‘The Apartment’ is being opened to the public for the first time for a design exhibition co-produced by the Antwerp gallery Valerie Traan. Showing a new collection of brightly coloured metal-framed furniture pieces by Muller Van Severen, this exhibition heralds the launch of design label valerie_objects.
The spare structures of Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen’s designs often serve multiple functions – the collection at Graanmarkt 13 includes a hybrid chair/lounger/lamp and seat/bookshelf/desk/light. Conceived, perhaps, for living arrangements less generous than this, the pieces have an engaging sculptural balance that fits comfortably into Van Duysen’s warm but uncluttered space, providing flashes of bold colour against the linen and stone tones of his interior.
Co-founded by Valerie Traan gallery curator Veerle Wenes, valerie_objects is also showing sets of cutlery commissioned from its stable of freethinking creatives. Currently that’s a stable that extends to architects and designers from Benelux and East Asia, including Maarten Baas, Studio Wieki Somers, Koichi Futatsumata, Jinhyun Jeon and the artist DD Trans.
Valerie_objects takes over ‘The Apartment’ at Graanmarkt 13 until 28 May