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Terenja van Dijk



KunstWerkStede De Coene 1888-1977

Masters of art nouveau, art deco and design

Commissioned by the Museums and Cultural Heritage Unit of the city of Kortrijk [2006-2007]

Curator; exhibition scenography, direction and production of a series of filmed first-hand accounts

As part of a larger municipal project, the exhibition brought to life the history of the Kunstwerkstede De Coene.

Inspired by the ideas of the Arts & Crafts movement and the Wiener Werkstätte, the De Coene brothers started a Kunstwerkstede of their own in Kortrijk and developed it into a many-sided international firm. It offered the visitor a chance to rediscover ninety years of furniture, interior construction, architecture, and enterprise. Broelmuseum Kortrijk 2006.

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The exhibition was conceived and built as an exploration of the unique spirit of the Kunstwerkstede De Coene, a route leading past products, documents, photos, and first-hand accounts that bring to life the creativity, innovative force, and solid craftsmanship of the Kunstwerkstede. All of the museum’s exhibition rooms were used.

Instead of a traditional entrance into the small rooms of the classic villa, the route through the museum was reversed, so that visitors entered through the former stables, where they received an introduction before proceeding to the museum spaces filled with original furniture, documents, paintings, and the like. Both the exhibited material and the spaces of the museum were highly diverse, and in order to lend continuity to the exhibition, it was necessary for Willy Nel – a former De Coene employee – to design a neutral modular system of platforms and display cases in black particleboard. Contains photography by Ilse Liekens and Gerald Van Rafelghem


The filmed first-hand accounts of twelve former employees supported the exhibition circuit. These eyewitnesses take us in search of old projects in Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. These ‘encounters’ bring back all manner of memories, and the former employees relate their stories about the products, the adventures, and the Kunstwerkstede’s way of working.

See also the article ‘Vanuit de Kortrijkse buik, mensen vertellen hun verleden,’ Openbaar Kunstbezit Vlaanderen (OKV), August – September 2006 (PDF, 508kb)

At the right, fragments from five eye-witness accounts:

  1. Craftsmanship at De Coene, Roland Deleu
  2. Working with architects, Jerome Dervichian on the decoration of the interior of Unesco Paris, 1958, with architects Breuer, Narvi, and Zehrfuss
  3. Royal Library Albert I, Brussels, Philippe Neerman
  4. Expo 58, Achilles Daelman, Gilbert Bartier
  5. Decoplan, Willy Nel
General coordination
  • Isabelle De Jaegere
  • Frank Herman
  • Terenja van Dijk
Advisory committee
  • Achilles Daelman
  • Philippe De Craene
  • Marc Goethals
  • Véronique Lambert
  • Ruben Mayeur
  • Bernard Pauwels
  • Illustrations and texts: Tim Oeyen and Sanny Winters
  • Modules and display cases: Willy Nel
  • Models: John Van Oers and Fien Van Elzen
  • Globe: Guillaume & Gyles & Georges
  • Set up with the cooperation of Gert Renders
Audiovisual production
  • Direction and editing: Terenja van Dijk
  • Camera and editing: Jess De Gruyter
  • Sound: Koene Ruymen
  • Sarah Blee
  • Willem Vandekerckhove
  • Jan Verlinde
  • Ad Windig
Construction and technical services
  • The exhibitions and events team of the city of Kortrijk,
  • under the direction of Catherine Baelde
  • and with the assistance of Willy Nel,
  • De Coene Decor Kortrijk,
  • Groep Van Marcke Kortrijk,
  • 4U-Renting Kortrijk
  • Modules and display cases: Groep Van Marcke Kortrijk,
  • Shell by Renaat Braem: De Coene Decor Kortrijk
Administration, logistics, supervision
  • Employees of the department of culture, municipal museums, and cultural heritage unit of the city of Kortrijk
Press and communication
  • Peter Monbailleu, communication department of the city of Kortrijk, with the assistance of d’Artagnan Brugge
Educational material
  • Vzw casa blanca

The exhibition ‘Kunstwerkstede De Coene 1888-1977, mastery in Art nouveau, art deco and design’ was part of the municipal project KunstWerkStede De Coene - Kortrijk Designed. The project was an initiative and production of the city of Kortrijk, the non-profit organization Stedelijke Musea Kortrijk, the non-profit foundation Stichting de Coene, and the cultural heritage units of the city of Kortrijk and Antwerp, with the financial support of the Flemish government and numerous sponsors. The exhibition also took place within the context of the inter-municipal collaboration encouraged by the cultural heritage agreements of Kortrijk and Antwerp.

The Kunstwerkstede team would like to thank all those who worked to make this exhibition a reality:

-The many private donors, advisors, and lenders, as well as all those who contributed to the production of the exhibition in other ways.

Organizations, institutions, and companies
  • ACV-Kortrijk (Centrale Bouw & Industrie),
  • Antiquair Vancaneyt Kortrijk
  • Antiquair Design Michael Marcy Antwerpen
  • AMVC-Letterenhuis Antwerpen,
  • Archief van het Koninklijk Paleis Brussel,
  • Archives Charlotte Perriand Paris,
  • Bibliotheek Universiteit Gent,
  • Bewaarbibliotheek stad Kortrijk,
  • Bibliotheek Academie Gent,
  • Brasserie du Parc Oostende,
  • De Coene Construct- Heijmans Kortrijk,
  • De Coene Decor Kortrijk,
  • De Coene Products Kortrijk,
  • Designarchief Vlaanderen Gent,
  • Designmuseum Gent,
  • District Deurne Antwerpen
  • District Merksem Antwerpen,
  • Filmarchief Brussel,
  • Gemeentebestuur Vorst,
  • Groep Van Marcke Kortrijk
  • Koninklijke Bibliotheek Albert I Brussel,
  • Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis Brussel,
  • Koninklijke Paleis Brussel,
  • Liberale Vakbond Gent,
  • Maria Austria Instituut Amsterdam,
  • Musea en Erfgoed Antwerpen,
  • Musea van Deinze en de Leiestreek Deurle,
  • NMBS Holding Brussel,
  • OKV-Openbaar Kunstbezit Vlaanderen Antwerpen,
  • Pleinscholen Kortrijk,
  • Provinciaal Museum Het Lijsternest, Ingooigem
  • Provinciaal Archief West-Vlaanderen Brugge,
  • Renaat Braem Huis Deurne-Antwerpen,
  • Rijksarchief Kortrijk,
  • Rijksarchief Beveren,
  • Rijksuniverstiteit Gent,
  • RVT Sint-Jozef Kortrijk ,
  • Santos Palace Koksijde,
  • Stichting Interieur Kortrijk,
  • Vlaamse Gemeenschap Brussel,
  • Vrienden van de Musea van Kortrijk.

The directors and employees of the culture, events, communication and law, facilities and environment, tourism, and fire departments of the city of Kortrijk, the employees of the cultural heritage unit and museums of the city of Antwerp.