In Brussels, Maniera Settles Into an Art Deco Villa

The roving gallery brings its roster of artist- and architect-made design objects to a history-laden Belgian villa replete with original Art Deco touches.

In 1922, the Belgian architect Jean-Baptiste Dewin designed the sumptuous three-fronted Villa Dewin in the heart of Brussels for his contemporary Jean Dackaert, an industrial engineer. A century later and the heritage structure has retained most of its original Art Deco flair, including the elegant woodwork, an imposing oak staircase, and vivid stained-glass windows that overlook an English-style rose garden, all of which came from Kortrijk’s famous Ateliers d’Art de Coene. The structure, now known as Hôtel Dackaert, is surprisingly well-preserved—and offers a look inside how the industrial bourgeoisie used to live. 

The villa is also welcoming its latest tenant, the roving Maniera design gallery founded nearly a decade ago by Kwinten Lavigne and Amaryllis Jacobs, who have a penchant for historically significant architectural sites. (Previous shows were held at Henry Van de Velde’s Hôtel Wolfers, Juliaan Lampens’ Van Wassenhove House, and Huib Hoste’s De Beir House.) Each of the inaugural show’s 15 objects gels well within the villa—likely because Maniera encourages its diverse roster of architects and artists to explore beyond their usual practice. 

That’s no exception here. Among the offerings is a steel-and-rope lamp by Belgian artist Valérie Mannaerts; a metallic, Pergay-meets-Parachute platform sofa with off-white canvas pillows by Lukas Gschwandtner; and an entire room filled with some of the best-known pieces by Tbilisi’s up-and-coming Rooms Studio, a recent addition to the roster with new work underway. On that note, things might look different next time: the gallery plans to carefully renovate the villa with Belgian restoration architect Barbara Van der Wee.

All photography by Jeroen Verrecht.

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