This new series, COLLECTIBLE In-Depth, unveils the backstage of contemporary creation. Tackling various topics from personal designer processes to the position of collectible design on the global design market, COLLECTIBLE In-Depth offers different views to suit all tastes. Today we speak with Lise Coirier, Co-founder and Director of Spazio Nobile.
COLLECTIBLE: How do you see Brussels as a design city/location and your place within this landscape?
Lise Coirier: It is just seven years since we have opened up our gallery Spazio Nobile, rue Franz Merjay 142 § 169 in Brussels, in the Brugmann district as well as Spazio Nobile Studiolo, across the street of the main gallery. Both my partner and husband Gian Giuseppe Simeone and myself are art historians and we have chosen this apartment in Ixelles which we acquired 20 years ago to set up our exhibitions on this beautiful floor of a 1920s Brussels town house. This neo-classical and eclectic architecture is a perfect frame to reflect our common passion for contemporary art, design and applied arts through a red thread of transmission, research, the transversality of disciplines and the exploration of excellence of craftmanship. We have also extended the gallery in Tervuren, in the outskirts of Brussels, close to the Africa Museum with Spazio Nobile At Home, situated in the main floor of our 1900s countryside villa. This venue is opened once a year or by appointment only.
We also publish the bimonthly print and online magazine TLMag_True Living of Art and Design, from Brussels to the world, which is internationally recognised after 15 years of existence. TLmag aims at thematising our contemporary culture through creation in the field of art and design by giving voice to artists, gallery owners, designers, curators, philosophers, researchers and collectors. Since 2020, we have been teaming up and having in-depth conversations with guest editors such as Marco Sammicheli, Bas Smets, Lidewij Edelkoort & Philip Fimmano for our latest issue around the theme “Origin,” which you will be able to find ar COLLECTIBLE. For the upcoming yearly editions at the end of 2023 and 2024 we are working with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Chris Dercon.
"Beyond the commercial objectives inherent to an art gallery, we have opted for a narrative and educational angle with a reflection on human's relationship with materials, nature and the changing state of the planet, its history and evolution."
C: How would you describe the boundary between functional art and collectible design? Where do you situate your practice between those two?
LC: Spazio Nobile Gallery is dedicated to the curated promotion and edition of unique pieces and limited series by international artists and designers from the field of contemporary applied arts, design and photography. We discover artists as well as designers, ceramists, glassmakers, sculptors... in short, creators who explore through the nobility of the materials, the minerality and the organic in the reflection of our lives and our contemporary culture. Function and collection become one single entity. The frontiers between art and design are blurred, especially with creators and makers like Sébastien Caporusso, Kaspar Hamacher, Pao Hui Kao, Fabian von Spreckelsen, Bela Silva, … We then mainly speak about “artistic design”.
C: What are the challenges in presenting contemporary collectible design?
LC: Since the inauguration of Spazio Nobile in 2016, each exhibition has been built around a theme and a narrative of its own. Beyond the commercial objectives inherent to an art gallery, we have opted for a narrative and educational angle with a reflection on human's relationship with materials, nature and the changing state of the planet, its history and evolution. How the artist appropriates his environment to build his own identity, as well as to innovate with the existing essence of true materials. The works and art displayed at Spazio Nobile invite contemplation and a physical experience of the material resonating within us like a constantly changing landscape, which immediately gives them an extra soul. For certain events we collaborate with architects and scenographers, always with the aim of building bridges between disciplines, telling a story and enriching perspectives.
C: What can collectible design bring to the daily lives of the people who collect?
LC: Contemporary applied art and design goes beyond decoration. It can bring more soul and added value to the collectors’ home and interiors by bringing in more living objects and functional pieces which are at the fringe with fine art.
About Spazio Nobile
By opening Spazio Nobile in 2016 in the very lively and cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Place Brugmann in Brussels, art historians Lise Coirier and Gian Giuseppe Simeone have united their passions for design and art history, initiating an erudite dialogue between contemporary applied arts, design and photography. With no boundaries between disciplines, the visual arts interact with the fine arts. Commissioning a collection of unique pieces, limited editions and installations both experimental and artistic, with a particular sensitivity to everything related to nature and minerality, each year the gallery organises five exhibitions and several events in art and heritage venues (Maison Louis Carré, Yvelines, France, arch. Alvar Aalto; Ancienne Nonciature, Grand Sablon; Lempertz (former galerie Leroy Frères), Brussels, etc). Spazio Nobile also takes part in Belgian and international fairs such as Art Brussels, Luxembourg Art Week, Art on Paper, Collectible Design Fair, PAD Paris and PAD London, Design Miami/Basel, NOMAD Capri / Saint Moritz, Unique Design Shanghai, etc. The gallery celebrates its 7th anniversary in 2023, and represents around 30 emerging and renowned artists and designers on an international scale, while promoting high-end craftsmanship and the cultures of East and West. Spazio Nobile also curates “TLmag_True Living of Art & Design”, established by Lise Coirier in 2008; through this bi-annual art and design magazine, available in print and online, the gallery shares its selection and its artistic and cultural commitment to collectible art and design. Spazio Nobile has received the “Homo Faber” label of excellence, and continues exploring its “Glass is Tomorrow” international project. In 2020, Spazio Nobile Gallery opened Spazio Nobile Studiolo, a permanent exhibition space, across from the main gallery which is located at the ‘bel étage’ of a 1920s house.
Portrait of Lise Coirier and Gian Giuseppe Simeone, Photo Sébastien Van den Walle, courtesy of Spazio Nobile