AT DESIGN MUSEUM GENT
10 Years Muller Van Severen
In Dialogue with the Collection
© Image courtesy of Design Museum Gent
Muller Van Severen, the Ghent designer duo of international acclaim, will celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2021. Fien Muller (1978) and Hannes Van Severen (1979) have been working on an inspiring oeuvre of furniture and other objects, on the interface between design and sculpture, since 2011. They are considered to be amongst the most image-defining designers of the moment. This first major exhibition in their hometown presents a stimulating dialogue between pieces from the museum's collection and their own work. It will be the last exhibition in Design Museum Gent before it closes for approximately two years.
Dialogue with the collection
The exhibition celebrates their design decade in two parts. At the request of Design Museum Gent, Muller Van Severen started working with the collection. Their intuitive and eclectic selection of some one hundred collection pieces enters into a dialogue with their own work in a large installation on the ground floor. The selection reads like an anthology of design history, with works by Alvar Aalto, Ron Arad, Harry Bertoia, Marcel Breuer, Gaston Eysselinck, Huib Hoste, Marc Newson, Jean Prouvé, Studio Alchimia, Léon Stynen, Linde Freya Tangelder, Willy Van der Meeren, Henry van de Velde, Albert Van Huffel, Maarten Van Severen and many others. The result is a surprising, fresh look at the creations of Muller Van Severen and at the collection pieces, which in many cases have not been on display in the museum for some time. The pieces were selected by Muller Van Severen on the basis of a 'kindred spirit' approach. They recognise a similar vision and way of working in these objects, and a 'design attitude' that ties in with their practice.
The installation was designed specifically for this exhibition space with a focus on harmony and proportion. The overall structure is made up of vertical strips of paper that define the space similar to an architectural composition. The flowing, draped shapes and colours of the paper refer to recurring and recognisable aspects within the oeuvre of Muller Van Severen. Paper also refers to the importance of sketches, prototypes and models in cardboard or paper in their creative process.
Muller Van Severen was founded in 2011. Trained as visual artists, the oeuvre of Fien Muller (1978) and Hannes Van Severen (1979) is logically situated at the interface between design and art. The duo developed an inspiring quest for sculpturally interesting furniture objects, in which the surrounding space is also part of the work. Their pieces are characterised by careful research and a shared love of art, architecture and materials. The use of simple industrial materials in combination with a special colour palette determines their oeuvre. At the same time, their pieces appear to have been created almost intuitively and seemingly effortlessly. As if the designers were drawing in space with a pencil.
Muller Van Severen have won several awards and have collaborated with leading international museums (such as Vitra Design Museum, Centre Pompidou and Musée des Arts Décoratifs) and galleries (Galerie kreo, Side Gallery, valerie_traan gallery). The duo's reputation has also been enhanced in recent years through collaborations with major brands such as Hermès and Airbnb, as well as their accessible capsule collections for Hay, for example. They are considered one of the most iconic European design teams of the moment. Their work can be found worldwide in homes and public places. Most of their pieces are handmade by small-scale workshops and talented artisans, always with a focus on the authenticity of the chosen materials.