kreon and 5 other Belgian design brands have opened The Belgian House in Shanghai
Together with five other Belgian design brands, kreon opened The Belgian House in Shanghai a few months ago. The 800 m² multi-purpose space in the vibrant French Concession neighbourhood is anything but a classic showroom. Visitors can enjoy a real experience with an eye for detail, quality and finish in a 100% Belgian setting: from the interior to the Vedett beer tap system and the roof terrace. The combined forces of these different Belgian brands are making a strong impression in the Chinese metropolis. Today, the location is also a hip centre for exhibitions and events: a Belgian evening was recently organised to mark the 50th anniversary of trade relations between Belgium and China. Plans are also under way to bring new Belgian partners into the project. According to kreon, a dynamic showroom with different brands is the key to success for continuing to attract architects and designers in the future.
Joint Belgian project makes impression in the metropolis of millions
The Belgian House combines the forces of top Belgian brands kreon, PR interior, Renson, Decospan, Royal Botania and Reynaers. PR Interior, a Waregem-based furniture company, took the initiative for this shared showroom and found a prime location in the centre of Shanghai. “kreon has been operating in China since 2014. As ‘small’ Belgians, it’s not always easy to make an impression in the gigantic Chinese market. We immediately believed in this concept and closed our own showroom in Shanghai to co-invest in this joint project”, says Bram Dingenen, kreon sales manager for China. Architectural firm Raamsstudio was responsible for the design of the showroom and offices, making them a cohesive whole. The result is a unique design in a vibrant neighbourhood full of historic heritage, appealing primarily to architects, designers and developers.
The Belgian character is omnipresent throughout the building. From the Vedett beer tap system, Reynaers aluminium windows and doors, Renson and Botania products in the front garden and roof terrace to PR Interior, Decospan and kreon products throughout the showroom and offices. “This mix of Belgians feels like a friendly, family collaboration. That Belgian character, along with quality and high-end design binds us together,” says Bram Dingenen.
Look and feel of a luxurious loft with integration of different products
The Belgian House consists of two floors of which the ground floor and adjoining garden serve as a showroom for meeting professionals and organising events. On the second floor, there are four separate office spaces, occupied by kreon, PR Interior, Decospan and Renson. The showroom reproduces the look and feel of a luxurious loft in which the products of all partners blend harmoniously into the whole. The interior materials and products are key to the creative process of the entire building. “The timber floors, walls and cabinets showcase all aspects and uses of wood veneers. The adjacent dining room is an enclosed space with beamed ceiling for meetings, reminiscent of the typical Belgian attached house,” says German Roig of Raamsstudio. The use of mirrors creates visual connections to the outdoor space. The concrete ceiling was left intact to preserve the original condition of the building. The furniture, in turn, is inspired by the trend of “Furnitecture” which focuses on efficient use of space so that, for example, the partitions serve as storage at the same time.
Dynamic showroom with multiple brands: the future
The showroom features a wide range of the latest products that are updated regularly. “We don't want to create a static space. That's why we often alternate collections and why the door is also open today to new partners who will then provide a new wind and make this a lively building. The Belgian House can thus provide a unique platform for Belgian companies in the sector to explore the Chinese market,” says Bram Dingenen.
This lively dynamic is enhanced by the exhibitions, press conferences, product lunches and events that are regularly organised there. For example, a Belgian evening was recently organised to mark the 50th anniversary of trade relations between Belgium and China. That evening there was an exhibition of Tintin in the showroom. The Belgian House also invited the Consul General of Belgium in China to attend. Meanwhile, The Belgian House is also on a rental platform for commercial spaces. “The showroom is so lively! Both large groups and individual architects and designers regularly come to take a look. The lively vibe, unique location at the end of a long avenue and dynamic offerings play a big part in this. Visitors get a real wow-experience there,” says Bram Dingenen.
According to kreon, this type of showroom is the key to success in the future. “In our view, there is real added value in presenting more than one brand in a showroom and making sure the showroom is alive and changing. Today, we find that it is increasingly difficult to attract interior designers to a specific location. But such concepts do add value for them,” Dingenen insists.