A child of one’s time

The year 2018 marked the 50th edition of the Biennale Interieur in the Belgian city of Kortrijk near the French border. The first edition in 1968 was entirely rooted in the reigning ideas of that time: challenging tradition, looking for innovation and taking a stand.

The Concept

Founded in 1967, the aim of the biennale was to put contemporary design and interior innovations on display the map. This would also be shown to the general public and not only to professionals, as was the cus­tom at other major fairs at the time. Design in the context of the interior was new in an time when ‘design’ was still perceived cold, elitist and at odds with the idea of ‘comfortable living’. The founding members of the Biennale Interieur dreamed of creating a place where the prevailing ideas about what a furniture fair should be were not valid. Biennale Interieur resolutely opted for a contemporary and creative form of interior design. The first edition in 1968 was an instant and unexpected success.

The 50th Edition

Now, fifty years later, the then new idea of combining design with cultural and com­mercial elements has proven to be a success formula. The ideas from that time have ensured that the Biennale has grown into a standing appointment in the annual design calendar. The 50th edition of the Biennale Interieur brought some drastic changes. The organizers opted in October 2018 for a more compact but strong substantive approach. The Biennale Interieur increasingly aimed at a professional audience. In addition to a strong cultural program including lectures, exhibitions, presentations and meeting moments, extra attention was paid to business and entrepreneurship. Interaction and exchange between participants, trade and professional customers have become the central starting point.
In addition, the festival in the city of Kortrijk was in line with the original idea of the Biennale Inter­ieur. An empty hospital in the center of the city was taken over by a young generation of designers, cultural partners and internationally leading designers.

Designer of the Year

For the thirteenth time in a row, a Belgian designer is crowned designer of the year: Frederik Delbart, a furniture and product developer, was this year’s laureate. INTERIEUR 2018 had expanded beyond the exhibition halls once again this year. Under the title TO OBJECT, the renewed Interieur Festival guaranteed a surprising and creative city program. Exhibitions, workshops, lectures and performances were held at various locations in the city center.