March 13, 2020 - February 21, 2021

Design Museum Gent, Ghent, Belgium

On 13 March 2020, a prestigious exhibition will open at Design Museum Gent about the innovative and diverse use of colour. The museum starts from van Eyck’s brilliancy of colour to show how contemporary designers use colour. Expect an extraordinary experience with a Pigment Walk and Experience Rooms that will stimulate all your senses. An exhibition linking the past with the present in the framework of the OMG! Van Eyck was here theme year.

The starting premise of Kleureyck. Van Eyck’s colours in design is the Flemish Master Jan van Eyck’s skilful use of colour, which was revealed in all its superb glory after the restoration of The Ghent Altarpiece. Van Eyck used oils and transparent, coloured glazes to achieve an innovative variety of colour nuances, clarity and saturation in his paintings. Curator Siegrid Demyttenaere started from this idea for her selection of Flemish designers and international names who have an affinity with colour.

The three-part exhibition features a Pigment Walk, Research Projects and Experience Rooms. Bram Vanderbeke has created a modular poplar chipboard design for the exhibition. After Ghent, the exhibition will travel to lille3000’s Le Tripostal, where it will be the closing event of Lille World Design Capital 2020. The exhibition will run from 9.10.2020 to 3.01.2021 in Lille.


In the Pigment Walk visitors will walk through colour. Based on 13 expressive details from the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, some 100 contemporary design pieces were selected and collated by colour. It features objects from almost all areas of design, including product design, textile design, ceramics and glass art. The products and projects on this walk are all examples of a creative and inspiring use of colour. The designers test how they can influence colour and colour’s influence on us.

The works experiment with colour and light (transparency, reflection, layers), colour and material (varnishes, precious stones, metals), colour and textile (drapery, layers), colour and patterns (moiré effects), colour and technique or colour and space.

Curators Siegrid Demyttenaere and Sofie Lachaert selected a mix of established artists and young, emerging talent including Tinus Vermeersch, OrtaMiklos, Michael Johansson, Muller Van Severen, Anton Alvarez, Nendo, Sigve Knutson, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, OS & OOS, Klaas Rommelaere and Stéphane Mouflette. The line-up is supplemented with designs from the museum’s own collection by Ettore Sottsass, Wim Goes, Sophie Rowley, Wieki Somers, Barbara Nanning and Unfold, among others.


A floor with research projects complements the Pigment Walk. Here too, the innovative role that designers play in colour research is highlighted – literally even. Different in-depth research projects answer deceptively simple questions. Where does colour come from? How do you create colour? What can you do with colour? What is the impact of colour? How does colour psychology work?

Hella Jongerius collaborated with an artisan paint manufacturer for Colourful Black, a world of dark hues that reveal the many shades of black in all their glory. Nienke Hoogvliet researched the use of herbs as textile dyes, using them as an alternative for harmful chemicals. Lynne Brouwer examined how we can make uncomfortable spaces such as a crematorium or a police station as comfortable as possible with colour.


Finally, the period rooms of the 18th-century Hotel De Coninck at the museum’s entrance will be transformed into Experience Rooms. The designers were each assigned a room to examine colour in relation to our senses. Some designers partnered with international design institutions or companies to create an installation that fully immerses visitors in a colour experience. You can taste, see, hear and feel colour in the eleven Experience Rooms.

Colourful Kinaesthesia by mischer’traxler + Boisbuchet is the result of a workshop with artefacts on how colour can move and move us. The project of Pinaffo Pluvinage + MADD Bordeaux is like music to your ears. Their coloured jellies have conductive properties and are charged with electricity, enabling you to make different sounds depending on how you touch them. The Jan van Eyck Academy Food Lab developed an installation using the plants and herbs in The Ghent Altarpiece as inspiration. They asked themselves how we can preserve fresh food over time and how the food’s colour and taste change in that case.

Studio Rens + Light & Lighting Lab KU Leuven open your eyes. See how different types of light can transform colours into new colour gradients. Nick Verstand’s ANIMAis an impressive visual light projection with a matching spatial sound composition. Joanna Reuse, meanwhile, has created a room in which children can unleash their creativity in her Building Game that is geared towards our sense of touch.

The experience changes all the time in the room that Judith Seng created. Every week, the walls and floors are overpainted for one hour in her Colours of Becoming. The other experiences rooms are the result of a creative brief to Les Monseigneurs + Verilin, Schloss Hollenegg of Design + Studio Plastique + Wonderglass and Biolab / School of Arts KASK + Gijs De Heij.


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