Studio Arno Declercq

Belgian, 1994

Arno DeClerq, Belgian designer and art dealer, makes bespoke objects imbued with his passion for design, atmosphere, history and craft. His work has attracted the attention of everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Vincent van Duysen; highlights include darkly dramatic Game of Thrones-style accessories, African tribal inspired stools and starkly sculptural tables and chairs.

 

Arno grew up in a family immersed in art, fashion, style and history. His father was a fashion designer, but also collected tribal arts for more than 20 years, and his mother operated a high style shoe salon featuring avant garde European designers. Arno studied interior design, after which he worked as an interior designer and opened his own gallery for ethnographic art and design. In May 2017 launched his own line of primitive and industrial style bespoke decorative objects. The collection was inspired by the sense of presence conferred by oversized sculptural vases and candlesticks typical of grand manors and castles. Soon, DeClerq began to design furnishings, and calling upon his training in interior design, he created tables, stools and chairs. Drawing upon the architectural forms of fortresses, bunkers and castles, ancient arts and design and tribal arts, he created a distinctive collection that can be found in 20 international galleries and shops.
 

Each piece is unique and entirely handcrafted by the artist, made of a tropical hardwood called Iroko, which DeClerq discovered after one of his frequent trips to West Africa to expand upon his interest in voodoo arts. In traditional West African tribal arts, Iroko wood is used in many objects, and according to West African tribal beliefs, their ancestors live in these trees, also referred to as "the king of the forest." Arno combines this wood with Belgian Oak that has been aged for more than 30 years, a type typical of traditional Belgian Mechelen furniture.
 

The pieces are finished with the Yakusugi technique "Shou Sugi Ban," an ancient Japanese technique where the objects are charred to protect the wood from weathering. It creates a distinctive patina and a unique textural beauty that enhances the sculptural form of the design, for a piece that evokes an aesthetic that is both ancient and modern.

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