LIVING IN COLOUR. Common Ground between Visual Arts and Interior Architecture

De Vos Els – Universiteit Antwerpen, Onderzoeksgroep Henry van de Velde

The unbundling of the architecture school Nationaal Hoger Instituut voor Bouwkunst en Stedebouw NHIBS [National Institute for Architecture and Urbanism] from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1946, had acquired a momentum of its own, causing a dynamic to think about new degrees. The NHIBS launched that year the first degree in interior architecture in Belgian Flanders, called Binnenhuiskunst –literally the “art of the domestic interior”. Modernist architect Jul De Roover, alumnus of the Academy, was in charge of the practice-based part of the programme. Although both programmes, the visual arts and interior design, were from then on run at different institutions, they maintained certain commonalities. Some visual artists were involved in the programme of interior architecture; such as painter Julien Van Vlasselaer who taught chromatics at both institutions. Color is one of the tools of both disciplines, the visual arts and interior architecture. This paper will focus precisely on this element vital to both disciplines, colour, by elucidating the contents of the exhibition ‘Living in Colour. A Common Ground Between Visual Arts and Interior Architecture’, taking place on 5-19 December 2019 in Antwerp. By means of 14 ‘encounters’ between visual arts and interior architecture we will demonstrate how the two disciplines can interact through colour in several ways, based on the relationships between space, objects, furniture, art works, etc. Original iconographic material from several archives, museums and private collections will be presented, as well as furniture objects never displayed before. By doing so, we wish to shed new light on the work and publications of Belgian designers such as Renaat Braem, Pieter De Bruyne, Jul De Roover, Raymond Goyvaerts, Elli Kruithof, Walter Leblanc, Camiel Van Breedam, Willy Van Der Meeren, Jef Verheyen and others.