On rue Antoine Dansaet, in Brussels, Kelly Claessens’ decoration boutique needs no introduction. A great architecture and interiors enthusiast, this lady has been offering selections of everyday objects, lighting and outdoor furniture for the past 7 years. It’s style is minimalist, in an palette of pastels colours with a touch of Scandinavian chic. The same atmosphere as her cozy family home. As luck has it, her partner Benoît is also a designer and it’s clear that the two love working on projects together. La Fabrika is as much a boutique as a studio. Together they’ve worked in parallel on several design and scenography projects. One of their very first was their own home. 8 years ago, the couple utterly transformed this ancient manor house, reimagining both the space and the lighting. We take in its warm and timeless ambiance, as their little son Leon shoots us a sweet smile.
Kelly, Benoît, could you introduce yourselves?
After completing my studies, I opened my own design office, Benoît Deneufbourg Design Studio, in Brussels. I create objects (accessories, lights, etc.) and furniture for brands. With Kelly, we do interior design and I also develop scenographies for exhibitions.
I’m 35 years old, originally from Antwerp but now live in Brussels, and I’m the mother of Leon. I opened our La Fabrika store 7 years ago and most recently La Fabrika Studio, an interior design office.
What brought you to design?
During my studies I did an internship for the designer Xavier Lust before working with him for 2 years with. It was at this point that I realised that I wanted to create objects, whilst continuing to work on interior design projects.
How was La Fabrika born?
I always wanted to start a personal project. In my previous job I was a sales account manager for a furniture brand. My clients were shops that I visited regularly and I soon realised that I wanted to open a shop of my own.
Benoît, what do you like about being a designer?
The multidisciplinary aspect of the trade, the discoveries and the breadth of expertise I come into contact with.
How would you describe your creations?
The objects and furniture I draw are simple and without extravagance. They are pieces that give the impression of having always existed, but distinguish themselves from others by small details that you might not see at first glance.
Which item do you love the most?
Without a doubt the armchair designed by the Brothers Bouroullec for Vitra.
What is on your dream wish-list?
We don’t really have any items that we dream of buying at the moment, but we’d like to design a new kitchen for our apartment, because our current kitchen is only “temporary.”
What are you working on now?
On various interior architecture projects in Brussels and Ostend but also on a collection of objects in ceramic and blue stone. And then I’m also developing an office (Hoe office) with a Belgian company, and other projects are on the horizon.
We’re in the process of finalising the design for the MAD, the fashion and design centre in Brussels. It was a huge challenge, but something we’re really proud of.
What are your plans for the future?
To move into the studio that I’m building.
I’d like to launch a new website for La Fabrika and of course I hope to continue working on some great projects.
Which places do you recommend visiting in Brussels?
The Innovation and Design Centre (CID) in Grand-Hornu, restaurants Resto Henri and Oficina (just behind La Fabrika) and B&B Leon°16.
What is your favourite holiday destination with a child?
Italy. We really like spending our holidays in this country because we love culture, small villages, food, ice cream. This year we decided to have a change and go to Cyprus.
Photography & Text: Eve Campestrini – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily