Fracas gallery in Brussels
Sometimes when you least expect it, you discover a gem that gives you hope. Or at least that's how I feel when I walk into creative spaces that propose a unique vision. I felt it at a fashion shop in Berlin, that a dear friend introduced me to, a few months ago. And I felt it again when I visited Fracas Gallery in Brussels last month. The pin on the map on my phone said "Cool gallery Camille Esnée". I pinned a few months earlier just in case I'd be in Brussels in the near future. And yes it was really cool, and yes they had pieces of French ceramist Camille Esnée on display. And yes the space looked amazing: bright, spacious, with lots of cool old details, tiles & bricks, and houses an amazing collection of contemporary ceramics, design and art. And even a lush plantshelfie above the desk. I already shared quite a bit in Stories, but as I took so many photos, I wanted to share it with you here on the blog too. If you're ever in Brussels: tag Fracas gallery on your map ;) You won't be disappointed!
In their own words: "Initiated by two creatives, FRACAS is a platform dedicated to art, design and contemporary craft. Based in the center of Brussels, FRACAS is a concept-space that combines a workshop and an exhibition gallery where we exhibit and sell self-edited works of artists, designers and contemporary craftspeople. The space welcomes curated exhibitions and themed collections that gather together the work of creative minds from different fields, aiming to allow the general public to discover nice and original works. Conceptualized as a participatory structure for self-edited works of artists and designers, FRACAS puts the makers in front of the public without taking any commission on the sales, insuring the makers receive a fair income, and the clients pay honest prices".
There was one peculiar thing in this gallery: none of the items had name tags or information about the item or artist. Which means you simply look at the pieces and can only admire them for what they seem like to you, without any context. I believe this can be really nice and refreshing, plus you don't have any disturbing stickers or descriptions on the wall that tell you more about the artist or work. But sometimes a little bit of context and the techniques used, can be helpful to better understand the artwork. That's where the Fracas website comes in: you can find more information about all items and artists there and in their webshop. This also allows the Fracas team to restyle the different corners of the gallery very easily, which keeps it interesting ;)
Above: the works of Studio Jephrïm, Soha (and others).
Beautiful details from the building's former life:
Tradescantia, Calathea and Rhipsalis:
My favorites: this shelf with ceramics by Emmanuel Chevrel, Cécile Bichon, Alisson Thirion and Julia Huteau:
In the shop window a selection of pastel colored vases by Laurin Schaub, Sarah Pschorn, Messgewand, Alissa Volchkova (and others):
The HOOK by Camille Esnée, who I follow on Instagram (because she makes beautiful work) and that introduced me to Fracas in her Instagram Stories a while ago. And a large piece by Julia Huteau:
Wall sculpture by Anton Reijnders, vases by Sarah Pschorn, lamp by Bultin:
Wall sculpture and vases and plate by Fanny Richard, Tradescantia pallida cutting, stool by Soha:
The plantshelfie above the desk, pendant light by Schneid:
Fracas Gallery /// rue des Chartreux 82 /// 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to pm
Living room update
A living room update today! Clearly not of our own home, but this is the living room of my biggest cheerleaders: my dear parents! This summer they mentioned they were looking to update the colors and furniture in their living area. It had been years since they changed anything and asked me to think along. We planned a few Skype calls and they decided to go ahead with one of my ideas: to skip the mint green and add some pink! The layout of the room stayed the same: the Leolux sofa was completely upholstered with new black matte leather and the custom room divider and shelves on the left (below) went from mint green to a bright coral pink, with several layers of paint (done by my mama herself).
The two T-line Arflex armchairs that were originally bright red (when I grew up in the 1980s) had been mint green for over a decade and perfectly matched the Urban Jungle book that my parents proudly display in their living room. But it was time for new seatings and backrests, and a new pink Febrik fabric upholstery (reference "0641 Drop Tum Tum"). Quite an investment, but they are like new and are so much more comfortable!
What didn't change: the four coffee tables and three cylinder lights and the bronze candle holder. All designed and created by my papa! And the oxblood red Gelderland armchair is still in place as well.
The wooden bookshelves, another creation of my father, were replaced by this sleek Cubit sideboard in white and pale pink. My parents were so very impressed by the design and quality by the Cubit sideboard in our home they wanted one too! Their special hi-fi cases hide the ugly media box and even cancel its buzzing noise! A second sideboard was attached to the wall under the small circular window that hols more books, music and magazines.
On top of de Cubit shelves: a small Kalanchoe, a mini Diptyque candle and two pieces of ceramics made by my mama herself: a pink piggy bank and a tall black & white vase that I love.
A close up of the Arflex T-line chairs, designed by Burkhard Vogtherr in 1984. Initially they were bright red, then mint green, and now TumTum pink!
And probably the biggest change in the living room is the oversized Nani Marquina Shade rug. It's truly a DREAM with such a nice gradient of pink, rust, green. It was designed by Turkish designer Begüm Cana Özgür, who I met earlier this year at Maison & Objet. And not only does the rug transform the room by its gorgeous mix of colors, it also completely changed the acoustics in the living room and makes the room (and feet) feel so much warmer.
The last thing left to be changed are the throw cushions! We spotted some really nice Grid Knit cushions from Scholten & Baijings for TextielMuseum, so they may join the family soon. And I would also add quite a few extra plants if this were my living room ;)
Time Work Space co-working in Paris
Sometimes different worlds come together and create something wonderful. That's what happened when my talented friend Cécile started designing her new co-working space called Time Work Space in La Défense in Paris. At some point she asked me for some plant advise, because she got some FENCY shelves from Tolhuijs that she wanted to dress with plants. Now I have two of these shelves at home and restyle them every few days ;) so I know what works well. But little did I know she turned this space into such a fabulous place to work! I visited last week and loved it: good vibes, lots of color, quite a few plants, a very comfy Cubit sofa, plantshelfies, even a discoball, lots of light, and a luxury in Paris: lots of space. Bravo Cécile & the TWS team!
Let me show you a few photos:
Cécile designed the space to be bright with colors inspired by the view on the Seine & highway: the floor has the same shade as the Seine river that you can see from the big windows, the red frames of the windows have the exact same color as the structure of the highway signs and the yellow and green reflect the leaves of the trees. It's very clever and feels natural. The large Cubit sofa in the chill out area adds some bold colors to the mix.
The different heights, sizes and fabrics of the modular Cubit sofa are on display at TWS. You may recognize the design from the sofa that we have at home! It's been six months since our pink & grey Cubit sofa moved in and I can't remember where we chilled before! It's so nice to hang on the sofa, read a book or a mag, have a break, cuddle with Otta, watch a movie, some Netflix... The quality of the wool fabric that we chose is outstanding. Otta didn't destroy it, although her sharp nails caused a few tiny loops, but nothing mayor.
I really like the new multicolor Nevada fabric Cubit added to their collection:
The view from the sofa:
Time Work Space is a co-working & office space where the focus is on design, sound and image. On the ground floor are several professional multimedia studios that you can rent to create your podcast or video interviews. And in the open space are several "boxes" that are completely soundproof. Perfect to use for important phone calls, or to work on a video or audio project without the need of headphones. The workspace in itself is also very quiet: you don't hear the highway or any city noise! Bliss!
A yellow Clipboard Frame from Block Design:
I like how there are small "audio" details everywhere: microphones, vinyls, amplifier... and a golden pothos and Tradescanatia zebrina that are thriving on the FENCY shelves by Tolhuijs, as well as some impressive roots of the Monstera deliciosa cutting:
In another corner of the open space, Cubit created a huge wall shelf installation in white with walnut, oak, lime green and petrol blue accent colors:
Look, how sleek?!
In the back is a large soundproof meeting room with a large bay window and all contemporary office supplies, including phone chargers, high speed wifi and more. And downstairs are lockers for your personal belongings, a kitchen, bathroom, coffee corner... It's a friendly community with all services of a business center, in a designy spacious loft. I wish it was closer to home, so that I could work here more often, because it has good vibes! And friendly co-workers!
Speaking of co-workers: one of them even has a nice collection of plants! His Angel Wing Begonia is currently flowering:
Time Work Space /// 3 bis rue Jean Jaurès /// 92800 Puteaux /// Tel: +33 1 49 00 05 40
Metro Line 1 station "Esplanade de la Défense"
GreenMa tea tube infuser
Are you a tea drinker? Black, green or white? I have been drinking tea since my early childhood, black Mango tea most of the time. Nowadays I like a bit more variety and prefer green tea. Ordering a tea in a French café, often results in a pot of boiled water and a bag of breakfast or lemon tea. Not really my cup of tea ;) That's why I generally drink tea at home. Last year I discovered French lifestyle brand GreenMa. They create organic teas, soaps, and candles that are better for the environment, with biodegradable packaging, with a focus on #zerowaste. Their organic soaps changed my life... or at least changed the life of my skin. No more itchy skin since I replaced my shower cream with organic GreenMa soap!
GreenMa is also known for their organic teas and herbal teas. I've been drinking their teas using my Tea Sub infuser or a mesh strainer, but it's been so messy and always a struggle to clean them. When I met Cécile at Maison & Objet, she asked me test and try me their latest GreenMa product at home. The GreenMa tea tube is a perforated glass tea infuser that replaces tea bags or mesh strainers, and that looks elegant as well! I tried it and love it! No more mess: because the glass tube is wider than a regular test lab tube, it is surprisingly easy to clean. And it also means: no more disposable tea bags!
The GreenMa Relax tea that you see in the photos above, has this beautiful green/blue color that comes from its blue mallow flowers and lavender. I also tried the sweet Mango Cranberry tea that reminds me of the Mango tea we drank in the eighties, but better! I love that there are entire cranberries in the mix and with the tea tube you can actually see and recognize the ingredients of the tea while you're making a cup. If you like, have a look at my highlighted Instagram Stories called "Tea!" to see how it works!
So, who's coming over for a cup of tea?
Full disclosure: I published these photos on my Instagram earlier, as I partnered with GreenMa to give away a set of the Tea Infuser and 2 teas. After sharing my experience with the Tea Tube in my Instagram Stories, I've received so many reactions that we thought it would be fun to giveaway a set of the Tea Tube and 2 teas.
More faves from Maison & Objet 2018
Cane, dusty pinks & corals, terracotta, arc-shapes... and overall rather neutral color palettes. This September's edition of Maison & Objet didn't surprise by its innovative use of colors or shapes, but comforted in what we already know that's coming: more natural materials, better craftsmanship, terracotta, more pink, circular shapes. As always it was nice to speak with designers, brand managers and fellow bloggers (Coucou Ilaria, Valérie, Juliana, Freg, Nannette, Marie, Nathalie) (top image of the booth by Fest Amsterdam)
Let's go for a tour of some of my highlights of Maison & Objet, september 2018:
Maybe I was hungry, but I kept spotting bowls with beautiful fruit & veggies everywhere (prickly pears, cactus fruit on the left, fresh figs on the right):
Eco-conscious designs from vegetable tanned leather and recycled leather plant pot covers by Miolos Design. Made in Galicia (North-western Spain), a region which I love, and visited a few years ago. And in the stand of Sprout they had hundreds of cuttings growing in water, elegantlydisplayed on their Sprout porcelain dishes:
Not new at all, but a first for me: Danish brand OYOY. These amazing ceramic pots with balls made swoon... they're so pretty! The striped Confect pouf and Takara cushions are also really stunning...
The Inka Kana pots come in two colors: Sienna and Rose. And on the right: glass vases "Riflessi" by Milan-based studio Böjte - Bottari for Paola C:
More pink goodness by Bornn Enamelware from Turkey. How amazing is their new line of enemal dishware. The details and colors are just stunning!
These products may look familiar if you follow me on Instagram: I use the Fumario vases as planters for an Aloe plant and a Spider plant. Lucie Kaas' latest product is a set of "Leaflike" decorative leaves in chrome, brass, pink and black. They add a contemporary botanical touch to your home. And the shadow patterns they create are equally eye-pleasing!
I can't deny the bold (and trendy) colors caught my eye first: but the details, like the Hangry poster by Danish brand MADO made me smile. By the way, the brand is a collaboration of two Copenhagen-based design companies, All the Way to Paris and Paper Collective.
The Eye Rug by Dutch brand Maison Deux made me smile: super simple, fun and clever. The porcelain Tuba vases by Sebastian Bergne for Japanese brand Ha are also very desirable:
I couldn't resist touching these oversized Cloudy plant pots by Swedish brand DKBD. The cabinet by HK Living, on the right, almost mixed all trends of the moment: arc-shaped, cane paneling, brass base... and the pink is in the items inside.
Dutch design brand House of Thol launched their new product called "Flower Constellations", a perforated brass tool that comes in all the signs of the zodiac. It makes a few stems of flowers look like a million dollar bouquet. Also check out my Instagram Stories (highlighted to see how it works). And another favorite on the right: the lamp designed by Ionna Vautrin for the new TGV trains, by Moustache.
Dutch designer Renske Versluijs launched her new collection of wall jewelry at M&O. The designs come in mix of copper, brass, leather, ceramics, wood. And we find the same Mediterranean / Klein / Cobalt blue at Octaevo from Barcelona, that presented their new range of paper flower vases with bold and colorful designs:
And last, but definitely not least: my favorite booth at Maison & Objet by Valerie Objects. My phone photos don't do it justice, it was warm, contemporary, home-y, easy-going... like a real home where I could see myself hang out and feel good. Their booth looked also very different from their previous setups which were more clean like an art gallery. It reminded me of Veerle's own home in Antwerp that we visited during the Function + Form blogtour.
The new porcelain wall shelves and holders that you see below, would look great in a bathroom! There's even a mirror version, already available in the Valerie Objects webshop.
Check my @joelixjoelix Instagram pinned highlight, for some additional images and videos, if you like!
@joelixjoelix on instagram