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100% Design London was the arena chosen for the Jules Wabbes Editions 2010 official launch in the United Kingdom. Although one of Belgium’s most prominent interior architects and furniture designers of the fifties and sixties, Wabbes never achieved the recognition of his French counterparts, Jean Prouvé or Charlotte Perriand, with whom his designs share an industrial aesthetic.
Jules Wabbes was the premier representative of Belgian design in the 1950s until 70s. Initially an antiques dealer and decorator, Wabbes opens a design office for architecture and industrial design in 1950. At only 31, Wabbes was mixing with creative talents such as Willia Menzel, Jacques and Maurice Huisman, Director of the Théâtre National and Director of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, set designer Denis Martin, actor Raymond Gérôme and the Strebelle brothers – Claude the architect, Jean-Marie the painter and Olivier the sculptor.
Wabbes quickly became known for his sensual use of the very best materials and launched a series of timeless desks, tables and cabinets crafted from pear, walnut and cherry-wood. The timber was precision-cut and glued into woodblock panels to prevent warping, creating long sumptuous contours or a mosaic of richly textured grain. As he liked the construction of his designs to be visible, Wabbes didn’t hide the supporting structure or joins – instead, he stamped all the concave, nickel silver handles with his last name.
A lover of beautiful materials, Wabbes created desks, tables, bookcases, storage furniture, lamps and seating in addition to the furniture made to measure and adapted for customers who commissioned him to fit out their interiors: beds, door handles, trays. All these products could be ordered in different sizes, materials or finishes. These were the foundations of the international reputation of his designs of simple form and timeless elegance.