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Objects With Narratives occupies a palatial heritage building in Brussels

As grand and opulent as a fine art museum, the 100-year-old R. Mallien furrier building is a Beaux Arts gem on the Place du Grand Sablon in Brussels. The four-storey end-of-terrace townhouse is blessed with original plasterwork, gilded cornicing and frescos, as well as beautifully maintained stonework on the façade. So when its lease became available, the collectible-design gallery Objects With Narratives leapt at the chance to move in.

Now, the building is a landmark… with a twist. The two-year-old gallery has hauled in its most visually powerful functional art, curated to surprise and delight and arranged in a continuing promenade over three floors. The most striking room is the old ballroom beyond the entrance, used by Belgian furrier Raymond Mallien as a couture salon. Here, owners Nik Vandewyngaerde, Robbe Vandewyngaerde and Oskar Eryatmaz have exhibited tables by Mircea Anghel, Laurids Gallée, Cedric Breisacher and Ben Storms, who headlined one of two solo shows during the Collectible design fair (the other featured Lionel Jadot).

Photography: Tijs Vervecken

On show in the dramatic wood-panelled ‘director’s office’ is seating by designers Alun Heslop and Lisa Ertel.

Then comes the unexpected: a contemporary whitewashed gallery space called the White Cube, more liberally arranged with wall art, sculpture and decorative objets. This extends into a space for temporary exhibitions and, on the second floor, an adaptable showroom hosting solo and curated exhibitions, while the second floor unfolds as our showroom and ‘playground’ for members of the art and design community.

A boom in Belgian art and design means OWN can narrow its focus to concentrate in home-grown talents, working more closely with clients from concept through exhibition. The gallery at 40 Place du Grand Sablon is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, or by appointment.

Photography: Tijs Vervecken

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