Profile: Christophe Gevers

Profile: Christophe Gevers


Christopher Gevers was born on October 1st, 1928, in Antwerp, Belgium. After completing his secondary studies in Art and Craft Techniques, where he learned forgery works and tech drawings, he pursued a time to study radio-electricity. He then completed a mandatory military service, and eventually followed an apprenticeship at a cabinetmaker and learned to work on wood. 

In the 1950, Gevers started to design his first creations with a desire of change and renewal, convinced that furnitures then needed a complete modern approach. Shortly after, he joined De Coene, an editor of furniture who also distributed Knoll in Belgium, and worked for the sale and implantation of this future classics that he greatly appreciated. Gevers has always recognized Knoll editions as an influence in his exigence for quality. He then worked for a time at the Knoll International Agency in Brussels, until he obtained a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from his aunt in 1956. That year, she offered him a substantial fund to allow him to create his own café-tavern in Brussels. 

In 1958, Le Cap D'Argent opened his doors. The place displayed Gervers' modern taste in furniture and interior design. It was an immediate success. So much so that Gevers will open the next year, right across the street, La Taverne des Beaux-Arts in the eponym building designed by Victor Horta. 

At that period, he started to replace the Knoll furnitures he first used in his restaurants by his own creations; tables, chairs and stools. His practice as a designer won him a reputation through their bourgeois and art aficionadas clienteles. 

In 1961, he founded his own design agency GEVERSDESIGN and had many clients over the years such as Flandria for the arrangement of their boats, and Asko, for their offices and exhibitions rooms in both Brussels and Paris. 

By 1968, he had developed friendly contact with Albert Niels, a Belgian restaurateur, who will first give him complete authority to renovate and design the interior of an old café in Brussels' Sablons.

In 1969, the restaurant Le Vieux Saint-Martin opens, displaying bright colors, strong materials and well-though proportions, all details reflecting Gevers' creativity and freedom.

It was the start of a long friendship. Followed in 1971, the restaurant La Marie-Joseph situated in Ste Catherine downtown Brussels and various collaborations, such as the interior of Nielsvins shop and offices. Their last project, in 1992, was the Canterbury tavern and its upstairs apartments near Ixelles Ponds in Brussels. 

During the 1970, he was working on the complete make-over of the Passage 44 for Le Crédit Communal de Belgique, designing the entrance area, the Twin's cinema and the auditoriums working on their acoustic with ingeniously. He also had commissioned works for various luxury boutiques and jewelry shops. 

In 1973, the restaurant Les Trois Tonneaux opened in Brussels. 

In the 1980, he also worked for mass-market and produced a serie of Quick restaurants in Brussels, Milan, Grenoble, Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux, using only his noble and natural materials. 

During all this time, from 1960 to 1993, he was also professor at the Interior Design and Furniture Design Department of La Cambre in Brussels. Gevers's workshop formed many designers to rigorous standards and push them to excel in every of their projects. Gevers valued over these decades the many interactions with his students and affirmed that it has greatly help him in his work.

Christophe Gever liked to refer himself as a space constructor, as he would always start a project by a volume study. His own creative universe, very personal and remarkably pluridisciplinary, comes out of a series of handicrafts for which he had a particularly strong perception. 

 

The power and coherence of his universe rise from this control over techniques. Using and mixing materials such as wood, steel, stone and leather for their resistance and diverse patinas. Gevers expressed modernism delightfully with his choice of materials and use of primary colors, painting a whole object or ceiling in yellow or red. He produced numerous lightings and accessories of all kinds, including jewelry and cigar boxes, as well as many little games or playthings for his relatives. His designs' shapes could be naturals, even organics, so much so that he used found wood and branches at time to organize and ornate his projects, placing them as abstract sculpture to correct a strict environment. 

He received the Signe d'Or Award in 1959 for his TBA chair that he designed for the Taverne des Beaux-Arts. 

He was notably in charge of the interior design for the Belgian Pavilion's restaurant in 1970 in Osaka Japan. 

A retrospective exhibition has been organized by Archives Design Projects and the Fondation pour l'Architecture in Brussels in 2008.

Christophe Gevers died on June 19th 2007 in Ohain, Belgium