It’s been a more a than two weeks since I arrived in Belgium and Kortrijk to be precise, for the Designer in Residence. We are a group of three designers trying to get our heads around the concept of Boundaries and the ways of making them blurry or Liquid. I’m working along with Maria Pita Guerreiro (Industrial Designer for Lisbon) and Déborah Janssens (Social Designer from Paris) for the coming three months.
A bit on the Designer in Residence
Designregio Kortrijk invites recent design graduates from the various creative disciplines for the Designers in Residence Kortrijk program 2017. During a working residence of 3 months (September to December 2017), the three selected designers have the unique opportunity to work together on exploring social transformation through confrontation between citizens, society, entrepreneurs and education in regions such as Kortrijk.
The theme of the residency is “enabling liquid boundaries by social design”. Boundaries have become blur in society. Libraries act as social meeting places, social restaurants also accommodate childcare, young startups and concert halls are co-housing, culture and scientific research reinforce each other, etc. The permanent state of societal transformations leads to a society with liquid boundaries. In the residency program you will develop an experimental concept for those liquid boundaries by social design, exploring social transformation through confrontation between citizens, society, entrepreneurs and education in regions such as Kortrijk.
We are working out of BudaFabriek, A five-sided pavilion made from pale sandy brickwork leads inside this former textile factory in Kortrijk that Belgian studio 51N4E has converted into an arts centre. BudaFabriek houses Budalab, which is a co-creation site: an open studio containing all the necessary materials to materialize ideas. From a futuristic vacuum machine, 3D printer and laser cutter, to the most basic craft tool. The studio is open to everyone: for designers, companies, students, professionals, artists and creative, inspiring people.
A bit on the city of Kortrijk.
Kortrijk is a Belgian city and municipality in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It is the capital and largest city of the judicial and administrative arrondissement of Kortrijk. The wider municipality comprises the city of Kortrijk proper and the villages of Aalbeke, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem. Kortrijk is also part of the cross-border Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai metropolitan area.
The city is on the river Leie, 42 km southwest of Ghent and 25 km northeast of Lille. Kortrijk originated from a Gallo-Roman town, Cortoriacum, at a crossroads near the Leie river and two Roman roads. In the Middle Ages, Kortrijk grew significantly thanks to the flax and wool industry with France and England and became one of the biggest and richest cities in Flanders. The city is often referred to as City of Groeninge or City of the Golden Spurs, referring to the Battle of Courtrai or the Battle of the Golden Spurs which took place on 11 July 1302 on the Fields of Groeninge in Kortrijk. In 1820, the Treaty of Kortrijk was signed, which laid out the current borders between France and Belgium. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, the flax industry flourished and remains important within the Belgian textile industry today.
So far things are going good, meeting a lot of people; visiting schools, companies and organizations. More on the place and what we are up to in the coming posts.