Christophe Bourg, born in Brussels in 1967, has divided his career between furniture production, interior decoration and design. It is his work as a designer that is the subject of this exhibition, in which original, personal pieces, which he designed and had produced by Belgian, Italian and Portuguese craftsmen, are shown together.
Several broad aesthetic traits run through Christophe Bourg’s work.
The first of these is his frequent use of a right-angled structure to serve as an initial starting point in the design of a piece of furniture. Angles intersecting at 90 degrees meet, fitting together to form the initial skeleton, the modernist inspiration then disturbed by a second element, which might be colour or an irregular, more organic material. Sometimes this skeleton also serves as a matrix within which different modules can be inserted. Several of his furniture designs can be modified, with multiple potential variations, depending on the client’s wishes. This idea of interchangeability and movement is also not entirely foreign to Bourg’s trademark as an architect, his aptitude for creating spaces for living, places to fill. This inclination towards design-inspired architectural tropes found its literal expression in Bourg’s Module House project: prefabricated and modular homes, in the spirit of Jean Prouvé.
The second trait is the surreal wit that manifests itself in many of his works. He takes Le Corbusier’s famous LC2 armchair and gives it a dishevelled air. He designs a huge basket, not for dogs, but for humans, whom he invites to lie down inside them with the unself-consciousness of their animal brethren. He plays games with scale that tease the viewer with their offbeat conception of large and small.
The third trait is Bourg’s choice of materials, particularly metal, as well as marble, and more occasionally the wood found in his designs. With a family background in the metal industry, Christophe has inherited a sensitivity for this material and its cold rigidity. However his use of colour and exploration of the play of lines and elegant intersecting configurations give it a more nuanced, warmer appearance. There is a continual oscillation between coldness and warmth, enhanced by the way he marries different materials with marble, whose cool presence is brought alive by the flicker of its blue-grey veins.