Embrace Melancholy | 3 favourite objects by Nel Verbeke

Yesterday I showed you the BRUT installation I visited in Milan BRUT | A collective of Six Belgian designers  and I could easily dedicate a post to each of them, as a matter of fact I wrote a blog about the work of Ben Storms  four years ago. Today I love to point out three favourite works by Nel Verbeke, one of the six designers mentioned in my last post.

Nel Verbeke
With a background in visual art and a specialization in design and design research, Nel Verbeke is primarily a concept designer. Balancing between arts and design, her vocation will always be the emotional potential of shape and space. Fascinated by conceptual thinking, she shies away from the obvious focus.

Throughout her conceptual design practice, Nel Verbeke searches and formulates new arrangements of our material and immaterial surroundings. Her  works and collections are alternative compositions of time, space, motion and acts. On the one hand, they question our relation to the ambivalence of our emotions. On the other hand, they suggest that the emotional states of mind could be habitable spaces: shelters for a deepened moment of introspection and contemplation…. more about Nel Verbeke’s design and ideas at Nel Verbeke


Mounted on the wall, a fragile instrument reflects its surroundings, slightly obscured. It is as if the mirror is itself asking for time to gradually process what is in front of it. It seems to question us on the transience of our being. In an equally hesitating way, the circumambient light is scattered through speckles, fragmented and nearly unreal.

Attached to the round mirror is an elongated glass tube, partly filled with black sand. When the instrument is turned around, the sand slowly travels to the other side, seemingly unaware of the standardized units of time. See more The Mirror | Hourglass

A human-sized, dark-wooden structure stands like an entity unto its own. Its sculptural, monumental presence pauses the surrounding light and sound and nearly negates any known time and space. Approaching it, it seems to absorb you into a state of contemplation, more personal and private than before.

The work is a result of a quest for a material place for melancholy. An inviting refuge of stillness and seclusion, at the same time real and divine. A place where one can fulfil an act of melancholy in privacy and reflection. See more The place of Melancholy

At undisclosed intervals, a small amount of black dust travels slowly through the air, delicately collected on a copper plate. As a relic of what used to be, of time and time gone by, the collected dust reminds us of our own vulnerability, vanity and contemporality, and by doing so, it reminds us of life. See more The relic of time

Last picture ©vosgesparis  | Al other pictures courtesy Nel Verbeke