‘Belgium is Design’ is a declaration of passion for design, highlighting the unique characteristics of Belgium’s creative production. A joint declaration between the three different regions in the country, it recognizes that Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia are host to various talented designers that transcend cultural, linguistic and sociological differences to form a unique style. It is an approach that qualifies the statement ‘Belgium is Design’.
‘Belgium is Design’ is used as a common label for the collective actions organized in Belgium and abroad by the following institutions: Wallonie- Bruxelles Design Mode, Flanders DC for Design and MAD Brussels. And it is also enthusiastically supported by the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels export promoting organizations: Brussels Invest & Export, Flanders Investment & Trade and Wallonia Foreign Trade and Investment Agency.
Each year many Belgian firms attend Milan Design Week, largely at Salone del Mobile’s fairground site. The fair and its expansive off-programme in the city is the most important design event in the world, where producers, buyers, the press, and all those associated with the industry assemble annually. As such, Belgian governmental initiatives support their presence and try to stimulate new talent to connect to an international audience in this setting.
In the Belgian federal system, promotion of export is predominantly a regional concern. Each region, Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia, attends the Milan
Design Week through its own initiative and has done so for many years. In this crowded event, however, it is vital to find a way to stand out and get maximum exposure. Since the whole is more than the sum of its parts, the regional agencies for the promotion of design came together with those for international entrepreneurship.
In the beginning, this resulted in joint communication on the Belgian presence in Milan to give an overview of the different public and private initiatives, but since 2011 a common approach has evolved further. The various government initiatives have now been integrated into a single presentation, always under the auspices, of course, of ‘Belgium is Design’.