What link can unite Hainaut Blue Stone®, the most elegant and emblematic of Belgian natural stones, with the light and airy hats created by Fabienne Delvigne, official supplier to the Belgian Court? An innate sense of aesthetics and refinement, a spirit brimming with inventiveness, an unlimited dose of creativity in the service of the noblest materials… and an attitude full of audacity!
An innovative spirit
Since 1888, the year the company was founded, Carrières du Hainaut® has never ceased to innovate and to challenge bluestone with creativity. Indeed, if this material, exceptional in its resistance and unique aesthetics, is used for numerous constructions and public buildings, it has seduced designers since the beginning of its exploitation. Living and inspiring, Hainaut Blue Stone® is associated with creation. Over the years and as it has been used, numerous innovations have highlighted its infinite possibilities in terms of resistance, application, shape, texture and colour. Art Nouveau, having highlighted its ability to combine with many materials such as glass or metal, opened the way to these astonishing creative “marriages”.
A century later, the bold spirit of Carrières du Hainaut® remains the same. Carrières du Hainaut® has taken up the challenge of taking this unique material out of the world of construction and architecture and combining it with design and decoration. They are thus creating a surprise by announcing the association of two different worlds: to have a blue stone creation designed by the Belgian fashion designer Fabienne Delvigne.
No: they are not going to create a hat!
For the 2014 Interieur Biennial, Jan Devroey – Brand Manager of Carrières du Hainaut® – entrusted Fabienne Delvigne with the challenge of reinterpreting the Pierre Bleue du Hainaut® and designing an 80 m2 stand. The emblematic Belgian blue stone, a pure Belgian product, reworked by a renowned Belgian design label with an international dimension. “The challenge was to create this concept according to my criteria, i.e. the elegance, lightness and airiness of my designs. How do I translate these, which are really important to me, into bluestone”, explains the designer. “I was convinced when I visited the Carrières. Being in the bowels of the earth, in this vastness, is impressive. I was under the spell of this magical place. Seeing the Carrières and seeing how stone is worked inspired me. I immediately saw the brushstroke, a set of lines and curves.”
An artistic and technical challenge
Together they succeeded in transforming the originally hard, straight and massive bluestone into a light, airy, elegant object with curves and counter-curves. “This new concept contrasts with everything we have done before. Giving lightness to a heavy material, creating a fluid and continuous line in pieces of this size required many weeks of reflection and research into new techniques to create these curves and counter-curves in a material that is usually worked with straight lines” explains Jan Devroey, Brand Manager of Carrières du Hainaut®. Carrières du Hainaut® pushed back the limits of bluestone manipulation, inventiveness and innovation to meet this challenge.
The result is an innovative setting: two 11 m long stone walls, with delicate and airy lines, made up of fifteen or so 8 cm thick blocks, meticulously joined together to create fluid curves. This unique 80 m2 composition requires no less than 16 tonnes of Hainaut Blue Stone® and almost six months of technical preparation. “For the floor of the stand, we chose EnoPasso® paving,” explains Jan, “This dark grey to satin black paving is the perfect combination of the aged appearance of the surface of the tiles and a modern look, thanks to its unaged sawn edges. Perfectly suited to today’s styles”. This smooth, dark paving offers a subtle contrast to the impressive light grey vertical structure with its grainy feel. The unlikely marriage of Hainaut Blue Stone® and Fabienne Delvigne’s delicate universe gives rise to a surprising technical feat. Even if everything seemed to oppose these two worlds, in the end it is a question of sculpting a material. The meeting of two passions, but driven by the same criteria of excellence, quality, creativity, art, elegance, refinement and beautiful material.