A Collectible Design Gallery Bets Big on Brussels

The once-nomadic Objects With Narratives sets up shop in a historic Beaux-Arts building with a mission to show artful one-offs by Belgium’s burgeoning design vanguard.

As its name suggests, the Belgian gallery Objects With Narratives prefers to show collectible design pieces with riveting backstories. And when founders Nik Vandewyngaerde, his brother Robbe, and longtime friend Oskar Eryatmaz learned about the history of a landmark Beaux-Arts building in Brussels’ historic Place du Grand Sablon, it was difficult to pass up establishing their previously nomadic gallery in the resplendent 21,000-square-foot interior. In the 1920s, the address was home to the sales room and workshop of Belgian furrier Raymond Mallien before becoming a museum and the auction house of Yves Saint Laurent co-founder Pierre Bergé. Original details like gilded moldings, fanciful frescoes, and shimmering chandeliers remain intact, lending an eye-catching backdrop to the array of expressive objects on offer.

In the front room, those range from an oversized pillowy marble cocktail table by Ben Storms and a dynamite-shaped copper sideboard by Mircea Anghel to Laurids Gallée’s translucent sky-blue resin console that mirrors a nearby fresco’s cloudy hues. Other spaces, specifically the whitewashed former workshops upstairs, will feature rotating exhibitions with a special focus on Belgian designers. Storms and Lionel Jadot enjoyed dedicated solo shows when the gallery opened earlier this month, coinciding with the like-minded design fair Collectible’s seventh edition. Expect more spotlights on homegrown talents in the future—besides serving as an investment in the Belgian capital’s potential as a cultural hub to one day rival London or Paris, the founders are hoping to support the local economy and shine an international lens on designers who may otherwise be overlooked.

Photography by Tijs Vervecken.

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