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The Designer’s Desk: Inge Onsea of Essentiel...
3/20/2014
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The Designer’s Desk: Inge Onsea
of Essentiel Antwerp

When we first caught a glimpse of Essentiel Antwerp’s collection, we thought… >

The Designer’s Desk: Inge Onsea
of Essentiel Antwerp

When we first caught a glimpse of Essentiel Antwerp’s collection, we thought, This must be a lively bunch. Their use of colorful patterns (feathers!), shiny embellishments (sequins!) and unique fabrics (neoprene!) gave us an instant jolt of happy. When Inge Onsea, Essentiel Antwerp’s co-founder and designer, gave us a tour of her office in—where else?—Antwerp, Belgium, our hunch was confirmed. A cacophony of color and pattern, this isn’t exactly what one might call an understated workspace—amplified is more apt. But at the onset of spring, after an especially grey and trying winter, amplified is right up our alley.

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On details making a room. "I love the stories behind a lot of these pieces. The carpet was in the Chinese Pavilion at the Word Expo in ’58 in Brussels. The porcelain stools were used in China as little stoves; they put hot coals in them in winter, so you could sit on them to warm up. There is a big shiny ball above my mirror called a heksenbal, which translates to ‘witches ball.’ They were used in houses in the Middle Ages; when you look at the ball, you see all corners of the room. This comes in handy now as well—nothing escapes my eye!”


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On jewelry as décor. “The necklace on the poster is Essentiel, from last summer’s collection. I keep it close by because sometimes I have to do an interview or meet clients, and I can put this on and feel instantly glammed up. The earrings and bracelet on the little statue are from my holidays in Greece.”


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On going green. ”The green walls were something I didn’t really think about. I am attracted to bright colors in general, and I thought the contrast of the green with the classical features of the room would make an interesting clash!”


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On collecting…or not. “These are the only two cat statues I have. I like to think they protect me. Actually, I am not into collecting. I am drawn to so many things that it would be too much work to collect all of what interests me. I guess the only thing I truly collect are shoes!”


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On getting moody. “These are the mood boards for Spring-Summer 2015. I make mood boards all the time…I find it very necessary. With a mood board, I can directly see the general idea and quickly get back in the vibe of a particular collection.”


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On saving face. “The man with the sunglasses is Charles Tennant, photographed in ’79 by Robert Mapplethorpe. This was an invitation by a gallery, but I kept it because I loved the atmosphere of the photo—he has a cool look. The book is called The Age Of Collage. When I’m working heavily on collections, sometimes it is nice to just open a book and get fresh inspiration!”