Looking back at the Brussels Balthazar Awards 2023

Best of Belgium

Belgian furniture has been synonymous with quality for some time, but in recent years there’s no denying that beautiful designs are taking up more and more space in the Belgian furniture landscape.

An evolution that is apparent from new players and experienced exhibitors alike. For example, Saunaco set up a collaboration with Studio Segers in 2017, the result of which is a joy to behold. What’s more, our jury put the Ron model in the spotlight by choosing Saunaco as the winner of the Brussels Balthazar Award ‘Best of Belgium’. In addition, Robu (with the model Taku) and Passe Partout (with the Bahia) also won prizes as nominees in this category. It is no coincidence that these collections are also characterised by the use of fine lines that result in handsome designs.


Best Innovation

The ‘Best Innovation’ award is the ideal opportunity to link new ideas and techniques to the creation of furniture.

When, like last year, the winner combines new techniques with delicate lines, it is always easier for the jury to reach a consensus. The Sento model from Theuns was a good example of this. One jury member was charmed by the design, while another tried with amazement to understand exactly how the shape was created. The exhibitors Herleven and Ecolife also won prizes. The former with the model Wave, a real innovation in the field of recycling; and the latter with the bed ‘Agave’, made from 100% natural materials. It is no coincidence that the majority of the innovations sought to contribute to an ecologically responsible production process. Because the Future is FURnature, as the Furniture Fair slogan declared.

Coup de Coeur

Every year, we look forward to seeing which pieces make the jury’s hearts beat faster.

What makes this award so exceptional is that there are no criteria linked to it. Will the jury choose aesthetics, technical mastery, innovation or future vision? They have completely free rein, which makes their decision even more eagerly awaited. This year, the choice was clearly influenced by aesthetics. The Abbracci model by Max Divani is a textbook example of timeless Italian design. But with the necessary dose of originality too, because the seat comprises two elements that are presented both individually and as a single whole. The two nominees in this category were exhibitors Dienne with the model Petra, and De Toekomst with the model Kelp.

Best International

Brussels has evolved throughout the years into an increasingly international (European) furniture event, which we see reflected in the visitor profile as well as in the offering that is presented.

Loyal exhibitors Poldem (model Dixon) and Himolla (model 1462) were the ‘runners up’ for the ‘Best International’ award this year, while the highest podium on the stage was occupied by manufacturer Innovation Living, who succeeded in securing the main prize with the elegant and functional day bed Nolis the very first time they were exhibiting.

Young Designer

For the second year in a row, the Brussels Furniture Fair organised an award for the best ‘Young Designer’ from the ‘Design Academy’ concept’.

The Design Academy saw the light of day when it became clear to Brussels that the advantages of a collaboration between designer, manufacturer and retailer could be better communicated. With the award for best young talent, Brussels wants to give up-and-coming designers the chance to come into contact with all the furniture industry players; and to present their creations on the one hand; and give established names in the sector the chance to share in the enthusiasm, ideas and fresh approach of these young, up-and-coming talents on the other. This year, the prize went to the Vlak model by designer Caroline Van Hoeck, a student at Thomas More University. The name ‘Vlak’- meaning flat, plane or surface in Dutch – refers to geometric forms and sheets. All the shapes come from a single, flat sheet. Van Hoeck’s designs consist of a mix of diamonds, hexagons and rectangles. The possibilities seem endless, which makes us hope that the current collection, comprising a table and chairs, will be continued. Winner: Caroline Van Hoeck (model Vlak)