When in Antwerp, Visit the AUGUST

A former Augustinian convent becomes a modern-day sanctuary that embodies its sacred soul while charming one and all with modernist touches in every intricate detail. A hotel, restaurant, bar, wellness, shop and gardens; all located in the vibrant city of Antwerp. (The AUGUST, Jules Bordetstraat 5, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium)

NEW Passe-partout tableware by Vincent Van Duysen for The AUGUST

The new hospitality project at the former military hospital site will open its doors in April 2019 and includes a hotel, restaurant, bar, wellness, and shop designed by Vincent Van Duysen. When he met with the Serax team to discuss the production of the hotel tableware in 2017, they immediately saw eye to eye. Just one year later, the collaboration has resulted in an extensive collection for both professional and home use.

“The name Passe-partout actually says it all: this collection fits everywhere, in every setting.” - Vincent Van Duysen

The past is reflected in many aspects of this collection. Glasses that are vaguely reminiscent of medieval chalices, and carafes of different sizes that make any bottle on the table superfluous. With the porcelain tableware, countless visual effects can be created by stacking or by playing with the contrasting white and black exterior colors. The cutlery and wooden accessories also follow the blueprint Vincent Van Duysen had in mind for Passe-partout: no-nonsense, a tad nostalgic, while at the same time very contemporary.

The wooden items:

The clean lines of the traditional wooden objects follow the architecture of the monastery that was the inspiration for the Passe-partout collection. Archaic and traditional, but with a contemporary twist. The trays, bowls, breadboards, coasters, and the butter knife are made of carbonized ash wood, painted black and treated with a mat oil. This modern finish gives the items a timeless look. Thus, they can be used anytime, anywhere. In addition, the color contrast with the Passe-partout tableware ensures the perfect finishing touch.

Porcelain tableware:

The porcelain Passe-partout tableware does justice to its name. The straightforward, neutral design and the ingenious raised edges of the plates and bowls allow you to make countless combinations. With each new combination, you can create a different atmosphere. Sometimes traditional, sometimes modern. But the off-white glazed inside and the mat white or black finish on the outside always ensure a special contrast. The coffee and tea service completes the collection in the designer's typical clear-cut style.

Glasses and carafes:

The unique Passe-partout glasses and carafes come in all shapes and sizes, effortlessly linking the past to the present. The intriguing chalice shape makes the atmosphere of a medieval monastery almost tangible. But even when you prefer drinking from a classic-shaped glass, you will find something to your liking: from wine to champagne and from water to spirits, for each drink there is a glass and a matching carafe to serve it. The potassium glasses and the borosilicate glass of some of the carafes make them highly durable. Therefore, they are ideal for the hospitality industry as well as for home use.


The Passe-partout collection by Vincent Van Duysen for Serax is all about simplicity and rounded shapes. The Belgian architect-designer has also extended this to the cutlery. A classic design with a modern touch. The indestructible stainless steel with a mat finish makes the table and dessert knives, forks and spoons look timeless. In short, they are the perfect addition to the Passe-partout tableware collection.

Contact the Belgian House for tableware, wood items, glasses, carafes and cutlery:
marianne@thebh.ca or +1 (604) 716 8229

Collage By Giel Dedeurwaerder & Brent Neve Wins Henry Van De Velde Label

The laureates of the Henry van de Velde Awards are known. 255 products, projects and services were reduced to 23 winners. 9 of these were designed by or for a company from the Antwerp region. 1 of them was the collage collection of Giel Dedeurwaerder and Brent Neve, for Serax.

The Henry van de Velde Awards are the biggest design awards in Belgium. Flanders DC gives these design awards to honour good design in all its shapes and forms. Not only do the awards honour the designers as well as the clients, they also emphasis the excellence of the products, services and projects that are designed and made in Belgium.

Within designer collective Utilise.objects, Giel Dedeurwaerder and Brent Neve studied the possibilities of wood for their designs. They also investigated the food safety aspect. This is how they got the idea for a tea service. The tasks were divided up in no time: While one designer focused on the design, the other went in search of the most food-safe finish for the wood. Together with the Serax technical team, they also looked for alternative industrial production techniques. 


Giel: “The Collage tea service is based on the perfect balance between material, shape and proportion, and on the idea that tableware can also serve perfectly well as decoration, instead of being stored away after use.”

Inspired by Japanese designs, Giel and Brent created cups made of solid acacia wood and a cast-iron teapot. The combination of the warm wood tone and the indestructible cast iron gave the service exactly those durable, functional, and aesthetic characteristics that the duo was looking for. And those features have been awarded the Henry Van de Velde Awards 2019 in the Habitat category. 

Give us a call if you’re interested in featuring this product in your store!

Source: https://www.serax.com/en/collage-giel-dede...

Comfort? What About It? PART 2

We attended Maison & Objet in September 2017, one of the largest interior design trade shows of the world. 

Comfort was the theme of this edition of Maison et Objet. Yves Badetz, the Director of the National Ernest Hebert Museum and the General Curator of Musee D’Orsay and Eric Gizard, Interior Designer for Air France, spoke to us about this theme.  Their conversation tackled the different views of a historian and interior designer on the notion of comfort. The following text is inspired by this conversation. 

Please read our previous blog post: Comfort? What about it? Part 1

A comfortable sight

Lighting is something many people take for granted, especially in Vancouver. Many of us live in a high rise building with windows from ceiling to the floor. The natural light flows in. Natural light puts our body at ease and tells our brains when its time to wake up and go to sleep.

For those of us that have been travelling by plane often, will have noticed the lighting. The lighting in the aircraft changes to influence your behaviour. It calms you down, puts you to sleep or wakes you up for landing. The lighting often helps the passengers get in the same sleeping pattern of their destination, to ease out jetlags. 

There is a reason why light effects us so much and that is because our brain can learn a lot from what is going by lighting. Take advantage of this fact and use this light to support your lifestyle. Brighter lighting in public/active places will make you more productive. Soft lighting in your private and calm places will help to put you at ease. 

Even Apple has adapted the importance of light by creating a night mode in their software, making sure your brain is not unnecessarily being kept awake by bright light.

Direct lighting, like spots and office lamps create intens lighting. Indirect lighting like most standing lamps or night lights are more calming. 

Public/Private, Active/Calm is division you should also consider when organizing your home. Different rooms in your house have different purposes and you can define them with these adjectives. A living room where you would entertain guest is public and calm, a dining room is public but active, a bedroom is private and calm, an office is private and active, … and so on. 

In a private space you can promote tranquility with colours, lighting and feel. Softer fabrics together with softer colours and a dim light will help you get into the right state. While cleaner and smoother objects/looks with more direct lighting will create a more active state of mind. 

The obvious but not to be overlooked way to create comfort by sight is to assess if something looks appealing. The image of having space in your home can be achieved by not overcrowding and not dividing a room by high objects or wide horizontal objects. 

Last but not least, hide clutter. No reason for cables from tv or computer to be sticking out or the sight of a box underneath the couch. You will take notice of these little things and keep them in the back of your head. 

Example of lighting on an aircraft

Example of lighting on an aircraft

Once again I can say that true comfort is attained by the things you don’t notice or don’t think about immediately. One of these things is sound. 

A comfortable sound. 

An example of this is BMW, they have isolated their cars so well to minimize road noise … that the driver was no longer able to hear the sound of their own engine. As a car enthousiast this is disappointing. So instead of compromising on their sound isolation they recreated the sound of the engine inside the car. The sound of the engine you are hearing therefor is not live, but you get the best experience. 

Trying to cancel out street noise or such in your home is out of your reach. But going back to the paragraph of a comfortable touch, you have to split up your home. 

Public space and Private space. Overall the most important parts of your home to be free of street noise are your private rooms. Position your private spaces away from the noise sources. More public spaces will be less bothered by street noise since you will already be talking, listening to music, … 

At Maison et Objet we saw the A speaker from Akoustic Arts. This A speaker, realized by new technology, will only create sound waves in a specific direction and isolate these sound waves to travel anywhere else. This makes it possible to hear the music while you stand underneath the speaker beam but not hear any of it if you take a step to the side. 

Quite an unusual-looking speaker with its honeycomb of mini transducers (200 in total).



CEO Ilan Kaddouch said the following: 

We wanted to revolutionize the traditional listening experience, so we created a technology to redefine personal audio. The A is a directional speaker that creates a highly targeted beam of sound, the same way a laser creates a beam of light. You hear sound only when you’re inside the beam. Outside of the beam, there is no sound whatsoever. The A makes it possible to have multiple speakers playing different audio content in the same place. You can listen to what you want without disturbing people around you. It’s like listening to headphones without headphones. 

VanAir Design, a local company, has created a vented door that has an integrated system that minimizes sound. VanAir Vented Door featured an air vent that travels throughout the whole length and width of the door. The air vent is designed in a way that acoustical sound waves become trapped. Therefor this door can provide you with the privacy of a closed door.

These doors can be used anywhere around your house or in the office. 

Example of the use of a VanAir vented door

Example of the use of a VanAir vented door

Information sheet from VanAir Design website

Information sheet from VanAir Design website

 A comfortable smell. 

Especially now that fall is here, we will focus on smell because who doesn’t associate pumpkin scented candles with fall. Everybody has the different scented candles or even different perfumes for the different times of the year. 

You can take this to a next level and create different scents for the times during the day. Piet Boon created 4 different scented candles for serax. 7am, 10am, 6pm and 11pm. 

The intensity and character of the scent are so distinct that you are able to break up your day in scents. These scents will get you in the state of mind of your desire or recreate homely feelings. 

With this notion you can again go back to the private/public space and active/calm space in your home. 

Since scent is very subjective, there can be no rules written down about what scents exactly you should use. You should still use the scents you like best but by being aware of this notion, you will make your purchases more educated and justifiable ;)

Piet Boon scented candles for Serax

Piet Boon scented candles for Serax

Piet Boon scented candles for Serax

Piet Boon scented candles for Serax

A comfortable taste.

Food is tasted not only with your mouth but also with your eyes. All chefs pay attention to the way their food is presented and the tableware is a part of that. Sergio Herman and Pascale Naessens are two designers whose tableware we carry that are also chefs or culinary authors. 

They decided to create their own tableware to fully emerge their food in their views and create a full experience for the person who is eating it. 

This is one of the tricky things about designing tableware, it should look great with food on it and it should make the food look great. 

A simple white set of tableware is a safe bet when buying tableware because it will look good with any food. More earthy colours have been becoming a trend in tableware design and in my opinion that can be linked to the increase in natural and organic foods that are prepared in our homes.

Pascale Naessens tableware for Serax

Pascale Naessens tableware for Serax

Sergio Herman tableware for Serax

Sergio Herman tableware for Serax

Piet Boon tableware for Serax

Piet Boon tableware for Serax

Overall the information in this article are not guidelines for how to achieve comfort in your home but information that will make you question your choices of furniture and home decor. When you are cautious and truly assess everything you are buying you will be able to put together the perfect home for you.

To quote the Netflix hit show; you want to fill your home with things that spark joy. 

Comfort? What about it? Part 1

We attended Maison & Objet in September 2017, one of the largest interior design trade shows of the world. 

Comfort was the theme of this edition of Maison et Objet. Yves Badetz, the Director of the National Ernest Hebert Museum and the General Curator of Musee D’Orsay and Eric Gizard, Interior Designer for Air France, spoke to us about this theme.  Their conversation tackled the different views of a historian and interior designer on the notion of comfort. The following text is inspired by this conversation. 

Comfort is a feeling and is not an objective. Comfort is not a couch you never want to get off of, but a couch that supports your lifestyle. Why would you have a couch that is soft and thick and sleep-inducing when you often entertain guest until the late hours? To have a comfortable home means a home that is suits your needs. 

Analyse your lifestyle and ask yourself:

Do you work from home…?

Do you often have guests over…?

Do your guests like dinner parties or late night soirees…? 

Where do you spend your downtime…? 

What is your favourite season…? 

Do you spend the weekend on the couch or fly from event to event only stopping home for a change of clothes…?

How can your home accommodate these needs...? 

While overwhelming at first, addressing the needs of your day to day life is the first step in ensuring you are comfortable in your home. 

We start by assessing a comfort through touch. It is said when something is comfortable it will dissapear. You only notice how comfortable something is when its gone, like doorhandles you only notice in the home of another. 

Your flooring is one of the most important things you will choose for your home.

Tile, hardwoord, vinyl, carpet and cement give different looks feelings. Cement and tiled floors can be made softer in more intimate spaces by area rugs. Though cement and tiled floors don't immediately convey comfort, you are able to clean them with just a wipe. That makes your cleaning much more comfortable doesn't it?

Hardwood and vinyl are very close together in looks and in comfort. Hardwood has a different feel with bare feet for the real connaisseur, but is also more fragile if you drop items and spill liquids. 

Carpets can be comfortable, but wear and stain. A large decorative area rug can compensate for this. 

Address your lifestyle through your decor, noting how your home feels against your toes or finger. 

Next week we will discuss how we can achieve comfort through sound, sight, smell and taste. 

AP collection featured in the Comfort Lounge at Maison et Objet September 2017

AP collection featured in the Comfort Lounge at Maison et Objet September 2017

Hammock at the Comfort Lounge at Maison et Objet 2017

Hammock at the Comfort Lounge at Maison et Objet 2017

AP collection is a love story!

Pauline and Alexis met in Belgium, where they are both originally from. Soon after they began dating, Alexis moved to London to finish his studies.Over the long distance, they missed each other dearly and decided to send stuffed animals as way of comfort. It wasn’t long until they had about a dozen different stuffed animals each!

After their studies were finished and they reunited in Brussels they were browsing an antique market and spotted an original “Oyster” chair from the 60’ by Pierre Paulin. This sparked the idea of sewing their beloved stuffed animals onto a chair. A way for them to imbue a product with memories of their day to day lives.

It was only when they received countless ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ on their first chair from friends and family, 

that they realised they had created something unique. From this, AP (Alexis & Pauline) collection was born!

Alexis and Pauline work with a team of expert seamstresses in Belgium who attach the stuffies to the chairs.

Every species of animal has a specific behaviour and personality. Bunnies look curious and alert, bisons show strength and unity and raccoons just look like they are up to something. The seamstresses make sure the chair shows each animal’s personality.

Every chair becomes unique and shows a different side of the animals’ character.

Alexis and Pauline, given their own experiences and the values that align with their company, give generously to charities helping animals and children in need.

Miss Flamingo chair

Miss Flamingo chair

The herd bench

The herd bench

Meet Iconic Factory 76

What inspired you to launch Iconic Factory 76? 

Iconic Factory 76 presents lifestyle objects with a soul, combining authentic materials with contemporary design. These values are very important to me: aesthetics combined with authenticity & sustainability. 

How did you find the artisans who make your products? 

When on holiday, I love to stroll around the streets, to discover nice objects, made by local artisans and fitting in the European lifestyle. I was lucky to meet this professional and reliable salesman on the market place which lead me to the best artisans.

Where do you find inspiration for your slogans?  

The slogans make or break the success of the handwoven baskets.:lo; They represent the added value. I wanted them to evoke a summer feeling with a touch of humour. Not too serious. I consulted a good friend of mine. She came up with the best ideas! I also organized a personalization action which allowed my clients to come up with their own slogans. The results was very inspiring, for example "#dreams inside"


Meet Que Onda Vos

What inspired you to launch Que Onda Vos?

I woke up one day with this clear thought in my mind that I wanted to give more meaning to my work in a social way. 

I travelled to Guatemala for a month to get an idea of the culture and their weaving traditions and I fell in love with their work. 

Most of the women in Guatemala still wear their traditional clothing, woven by hand on the backstraploom or the footloom. 

In each region they use different techniques, different designs and different colors. 

Each design has its own history and has grown from their past. Their designs and their stories are very inspiring to me. 

A year later, I founded QUE ONDA VOS, a design label from Antwerp, but based in the heart of Guatemala. 

What does Que Onda Vos mean? And, what was the inspiration behind naming the company such?

QUE ONDA VOS is Guatemalan street slang for 'Yo, what's up?'. 

If you visit Guatemala you'll hear it everywhere you go, a warm way of greeting each other! 

Can you tell me a little about your design process from the first idea to completion of a piece?

The designs are a reflection of my lifestyle, living and constant moving between different cultures and different realities. 

They are also a result of the dialogue, co-operation and interaction between these cultures. 

I design a product, they will make their interpretation, and I will answer again to their interpretation and so on till we have a final perfect result of our dialogue. 


Telma, mother of the family, combing and preparing the wool for spinning. 

The wool is prepared for the loom.

Luis and Hair, father and son weaving one of the Que Onda Vos carpets. 

Congratulations Raf Simons

Congratulations Raf Simons for receiving two Council of Fashion Design of America (CFDA) Awards in New York yesterday! 

Simons was the winner of the Womenswear Designer of the Year and Menswear Designer of the Year awards for his work with Calvin Klein.

The CFDA commented on Simons, "He brought the potent mix to New York Fashion Week: Men’s in February and just a few weeks later, raised the American menswear bar at Calvin Klein with varsity sweaters featuring sheer torsos, strong tailoring, and head-to-toe denim. The show instantly pressed the reset button on Calvin’s cool factor for this and for future generations".

Simons is a Belgian designer who began his career in furniture design. He started his own menswear label Raf Simons in 1995. Since then, Simons has worked for Jil Sander, Christian Dior and, since February, at Calvin Klein. 

Raf Simons at CFDA 2017

Raf Simons at CFDA 2017


- Raf Simons upon receiving his award

"If we as creatives can be an inspiration for how the world should look, I think that it's something we should take as a very important task." 

We also want to congratulate the other winners yesterday at the CFDA awards.

Kenneth Cole received the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. 

Rick Owens received the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award. 

Pat McGrath received the Founder's award.

Demna Gvasalia with Vestments and Balenciaga received the International Award.

Cecile Richards, Gloria Steinman and Janelle Monae received the Board of Director' Tribute. 

Franca Sozzuni received the Fashion Icon award. 

Stuart Vevers with Coach received the Accessory Designer of the Year award. 

Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim with Monse received the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent.