Beside my subjective feelings, I would like to tell you what it was all about. The name, Toolbox, comes from the curators’ original approach that shows not only the product, but also the devices and materials used in assembling a prototype that then resulted in a finished industrial design product. Every finalized piece of design that was displayed had a reference number that was linked to the tools and materials used in its making. Displayed separately, they showed the craft and toolmaking that is needed to create a unique piece of design. Design is about research, creativity and innovation, but it is also tied to production know-how, technical manufacturing skills, labor and employment. The Toolbox documents the creativity bubbling throughout Belgium and the work behind the products. It acknowledges the value of design conceived, manufactured and produced there.

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Aside from the final objects, The Toolbox was filled with examples of wood bending, weaving, glass and bronze casting, production samples, metalwork and cabinet making. The bronze casting models and the tools for ceramic modeling revealed some particularly astonishing insights of works in progress.

Altogether, it was very interesting to have a glimpse at craftsmanship and design in the making. The exhibition was also dedicated to one of the spiritual fathers of Bauhaus: Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), a Belgian artist, designer, architect and European before his time. His work contributed to the foundation of economic and cultural models of modern design. The 150th anniversary of his birth is being celebrated at a number of exhibitions and events in Belgium, most notably Passion – Function – Beauty at the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels, starting September 13, 2013.

To live in a society with fraudulent objects is no less dangerous than to live in a society of corrupted persons, and indulgence is no longer excusable once the fraudulence has been clearly exposed.
– Henry van de Velde, excerpt from Pages de Doctrine, 1929