Van der Massen and Vlerick were inspired by the traditional Japanese room screens that have been used for centuries to divide up spaces and create privacy. In developing the room divider, the role of light and transparency was taken as a starting point. Their vision that pieces of furniture can also be autonomous collectibles is clearly reflected in the design.
Subtle layering and traditional techniques
The elegant room divider was designed with respect for traditional craftsmanship and the choice of pure materials in mind. AKI is a unique object that combines intuitive design, an eye for detail and craftsmanship. Each piece is handmade in Belgium. The frame in walnut is finished with fine details in brass. The wooden frames are assembled by experienced craftsmen using a manual process using loose wooden fins for the rounded corners.
The development of the fabric for the paravent follows a study commissioned by the Flemish Architecture Institute (VAi) into light and the technical possibilities of weaving. Van der Massen continued to work on the results of this study for the development of the textiles. The woven fabric has a complex structure consisting of several wafer-thin layers of linen, silk and rubber. The open bindings of the fabric keep it transparent and light, and create a subtle play of colours. The fabric for the AKI paravent is available in 2 variants. An abstract ton-sur-ton version called Ton and Akua: a derivative of an original watercolour painted by Van der Massen. The fabrics were also selected by the Textielmuseum Tilburg for their permanent archive.
The frame is the result of a thorough investigation into ratio and human size. The designers chose to play with asymmetrical panels that are in relation to the user and space. The object can be placed as a partition in a room, or as an autonomous work of art.
AKI is a timeless design that is about both functionality and beauty. We went in search of a piece of material poetry.
AKI will be officially presented at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair in early February. The new work of the designduo was selected for participation by Belgium is Design, an initiative of the regional Belgian design organisations Flanders DC, MAD Brussels and Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode. In March 2019 the paravent will be on display at the Collectible design fair in Brussels.
The room divider comes in a limited edition. Each piece is numbered and made with different textile designs. For people who want customisation, a tailor-made piece can be made where you can choose the wood type as well as the base materials and color of the fabric.
AKI is for sale via www.akiparavent.com and via Haptic House in Antwerp, Belgium by appointment.
About Nathalie Van der Massen
Nathalie Van der Massen (°88) works as a designer in the field of textile and graphic design, interior and architecture. After finishing her Master in Graphic Design at Sint Lucas Antwerp, she went to LUCA Ghent to do an extra Master in Textile Design. During this study period she was selected for a residency at the Textile Museum in Tilburg and did internships for an Italian fashion company in Como and later for fashion designer Christian Wijnants. In 2016 Van der Massen is invited to do a research and exhibition commissioned by the Flemish Architecture Institute (VAi). In 2018 she takes the leap as a full-time designer with the establishment of her own design studio and the launch of her first collection.
In 2019 the work of Nathalie Van der Massen will be exhibited during the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair at the stand of Belgium is Design. She was also selected by Sahara Widoff, the creative director of Acne Studios, for the Temperament exhibition in Stockholm. In March, the designer will once again be present at the Collectible fair in the Vanderborght building in Brussels.
About Charlotte Vlerick
After her Master Interior Architecture at the Henry Van de Velde Institute, Charlotte Vlerick (°87) chose to do an internship abroad to study the design and execution of art installations.
In 2010, she worked at SOFTlab in New York on the (N)arcissus installation in the Frankfurt art center. She then started working as a designer at Marcel Wanders Studio in Amsterdam. Here she is among other things project leader for their 'Pinned Up' exhibition that highlights the complete oeuvre of one of the Netherlands' leading designers. After several years of working experience in Brazil, her love for warm minimalism and brutalism grows with an eye towards the unique use of materials. In 2018 she resolutely opts for her own style and starts her design studio under the name HIJA.