MagazineHotlist, Icons

Design icon ‘Bruges’ – Jan Kuppers

Every other week, together with Sjiek / Het Belang Van Limburg, we propose a Limburg design icon, or one that is well on its way to becoming one. This week it is Bruges from Jan Kuppers.

WHAT: Modular timber loft made of corten steel

YEAR: 2014

A woodhouse or a storage place to stack your woodlogs and keep them dry, not immediately something that gets you warm. Not if you look at the options available. Either you opt for a standard garden shed or a canopy, or you look for something that is impregnated with some firewood rack, but bricks are used more often. “When I had a soapstone stove installed at my place, I found it striking that practically every solution is meant to cover up somewhere in a blind spot of your garden. Why? ”, Designer Jan Kuppers expresses his wonder. “Stacked firewood is pretty nice, so I wanted to turn a functional necessity into a virtue.”

A personal motive with a designer is always good for creative sparks. Jan Kuppers, trained as an Industrial Designer, developed a modular timber loft in 2014 using three millimeters thick corten steel. “That has just the same strength as other steel, but gets a nice brown rusty color. This very dense oxide skin provides natural protection for the steel and gets beautiful patina, ”he says. The design was placed under the kuppers & wuytens flag, after the collaboration with Karen Wuytens.

With the archi-Belgian cliché of bricolage in mind, the fat got into the fire: Kuppers composed the timber loft as concatenated houses with gable roofs. “These houses also vary in height and the whole is designed in such a way that you can reduce it to five different parts that you can switch with.” Literally and figuratively, because you can expand at will. In addition, the standard dimensions of a euro pallet were taken into account so that flat pack transport runs optimally.

Since 2018, the timber store has been part of the collection of the Dutch company RB73, specialized in outdoor fireplaces, and Jan Kuppers no longer has to engage in production or commercial concerns. “RB73 has ensured that Bruges is now sold globally and I have already seen photos of my woodhouse in Japan and there is also one in New Zealand.” The name “Bruges” is not picked by accident.

During his studies, Jan Kuppers was apprenticed to a saddler in Seville, worked closely with Michaël Verheyden on leather accessories in the early 2000s, and in 2014 there was the kuppers & wuytens label. Always with a strong urge to make authentic, sustainable products balancing between “Less & More”. As a design teacher he teaches at Atlas College Genk and since 2016 he finds the rest in his coffee. Under the name Monx he is keen on specialty coffee and, above all, he remains a designer and not a seller, unless of passion.

“Bruges” consists of three modules with an intermediate piece, a total weight of 250 kilograms and is good for a volume of approximately 3.5 cubes. Target price 1,800 euros.