Some emerging young designers are paving the roads for a contemporary Belgian design legacy. The one that jumps out the most is Brussels born Sylvain Willenz. After studying at the Royal College of Art in London, he opened his Brussels based studio in 2004. Since then he created an impressive collection design objects, ranging from lightning products to furniture.
You could call him the master of mass production, as all of his products are made with a strong sense of process knowledge. Combining this with a love for materials (rubber being one of his fetish) plus a straightforward approach and you end up with simple yet strong design solutions. His products are fresh, designed for the current market, but still fun, approachable, and desirable.
Willenz’s most popular and well-known design is the Torch Light for Established & Sons. They look like they’re encased in stone but they’re actually covered in black rubber. Form wise archetypal objects inspire them, in this case the simple silhouette of a typical hand-held torch or car headlight. Making a clear example of the essential experiment in processes before production. Or as he says itself: “I’m really interested in what you can make. It’s kind of nerdy, but I collect mass-produced things”
Working with the highly acclaimed design manufacturer Established & sons has lead to several other opportunities. Today some of his works are in production at Freecom, Feld, Vlaemsh, Karimoku and Tamawa. Most of this resulting in highly wanted design awards.
Dieter Van Den Storm, design journalist and curator of Interieur 06/08 says it like this: “Thanks to Sylvain’s innovative, simple and fair approach to design, and some dry humor, he is unmistakably an important Belgian talent.” And who are we to disagree?
Enjoy this Boijmans Van Beuningen Musuem video showing Sylvain commenting on his own designs!