• Studies for furniture by Maarten Van Severen in De Zwarte Doos (c) Storm Calle
  • Archive Van Den Berghe-Pauvers (c) De Zwarte Doos

Design Archives

Since 2012, the scope of the CVAa has broadened to include not just architecture but the ‘design of the environment’, a category into which design also falls. From 2013 onwards, the CVAa has been working intensively on an integrated design-related project. The programme has multiple objectives.

Firstly, the CVAa aims to initiate a catch-up effort in terms of the registration and long-term preservation of privately owned design heritage. It also seeks to raise awareness of its importance amongst heritage policymakers and cultural-heritage organisations, and to provide an impetus for the development of an appropriate policy.

Finally, it aspires to collate expertise and to share this knowledge with all those involved in the preservation of design patrimony.

Several strategies were followed to achieve these aims, with a focus on the postwar period (1945 and after):


In this online database, in which CVAa gathers all its knowledge on architects, urbanists, designers and the whereabouts (if known) of their archives, also the findings of the Design Archives Project were implemented. More than 200 records of design archives in public collections now have a record in it. Although the actual description is mostly in Dutch, it is possible to consult the field names in English. 

Archival Guide

The aforementioned database records are the result of research and visits to public collections in Flanders and Belgium. In a published archivial guide, these findings are grouped according to the type of actor involved in Belgian design after 1945: designers & producing firms, government services involved with design, design schools, design shops and selling points, intermediary persons and organisations and documentary collections. Furthermore, an introduction situates the research and the findings methodologically. It is followed by five essays by design historians Fredie Floré, Nina Serulus, Eva Van Regenmortel, Irene Lund and Ko Goubert on the furniture firm De Coene, the Brussels Design Centre, on designer Maarten Van Severen, on provincial exhibitions for design promotion and on the design critic P.-L. Flouquet and the periodical La MaisonVormgevingserfgoed in Vlaanderen na 1945 (2016).  

Design Assignment and Installation

CVAa asked textile designer Nathalie Van der Massen to find inspiration in the archives of interior designers Bataille & ibens, for a new original design. The result and a film documenting the proces were shown in the 'VAi-vitrine', parallell to the exhibition Ensembles. Architecture and craft.

Online Image Archives

The beauty and interest of design archives is illustrated by the online image archive op www.designerfgoed.be.


We registred information on the archives of a selection of contemporary designers, i.e. the winners of the Henry van de Velde Awards voor Loopbaan en Jong Talent eversince 1994, which gave us extra insight in the shape of recent design archives.

Archive Design Vlaanderen

Names out of the files of the archive of Design Vlaanderen were registered in the database.

Oral History

We recorded and conserved several in-depth interviews with design policy makers, designers and crafts(wo)men. Transcripts of these interviews can be consulted after filling out this form.


On 22 October 2014 CVAa organized a workshop 'Geef vorm aan uw archief!' during the Biennial Interieur in Kortrijk. Please find a report here (in Dutch).

Tailormade Support

We supported several designers, producers or their heirs in dealing with or transferring their archives. Read more

Advice Committee

The Design Archives Project was supported by an advice committee, consisting of Werner Adriaenssens, Jan Boelen, Moniek E. Bucquoye, Marc Dubois, Fredie Floré, Frank Huygens, Christoph Grafe, Dirk Laureys, Lut Pil, Katarina Serulus en Johan Valcke.


In 2014 a short film was produced on the archive of designer Maarten Van Severen: