December 2nd 2013 by Crystal Wilde
It’s waffles and chocolate, not design, that immediately spring to mind with the mention of Belgium – but that could all be about to change as Hong Kong’s Business of Design Week (BODW) rolls into town. Unassuming Belgium has been chosen as this year’s partner country, meaning that alongside exhibitions, talks and activities from design and business elites from all around the world, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium and more than 20 Belgian designers will be descending on Hong Kong’s Convention & Exhibition Centre between December 2nd and 8th.
One of the most hotly anticipated speakers is Charles Kaisin, a Belgian designer known for creating innovative contemporary furniture from recycled materials. He first came to Hong Kong two years ago when attending a workshop at the Hong Kong Design Institute, and is excited that his small but creative country will now get the chance to showcase its skills in Asia.
Speaking exclusively to Localiiz before the start of the BODW, Kaisin said he is impressed by what he’s experienced so far of the Hong Kong design scene. “The work of the design students I saw at HKDI convinces me some great designers will emerge in a near future,” he said. “The students are open-minded and eager to create and think outside the box.”
Also representing Belgium will be avant-garde fashion designer Marina Yee, famous for being one of the Antwerp Six, furniture designer Xavier Lust and automobile legend Lowie Vermeersch, who designed numerous concept cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Maserati Birdcage.
Although there will certainly be some big spenders attending, BODW may also throw up some opportunities for design lovers with more modest budgets however. Localiiz favourite designer furniture rental company IROCO, for example, says they’ll be on the lookout for unique pieces to add to their collection.
“We stock designer furniture from all over the world, but we currently don’t have anything from Belgium,” IROCO founder Sonia Jackson told Localiiz. “Business of Design Week is a great forum for seeing what’s coming up in international fields, so it’s a great opportunity for us to see what Belgium’s got. We’ll be looking for inspiration, and if there’s some really cool Belgian designers that we think would work well with our collection we’ll be sure to snap them up!”
Visit the BODW website for the full programme.