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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Zara Home Convicted for Plagiarism – Decision of Brussels Court in case Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home

Zara Home Candle |  Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home 
To Whom it May Concern: 
Zara Home Convicted for Plagiarism – Decision of Brussels Court in case Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home 
The purpose of this press release/statement is to allow my clients to manage, streamline and react to the numerous requests for interviews that have come their way following the decision of the Brussels Court in the matter of Damiaens - Odink vs. Zara Home.
 The decision is attached to this e-mail, and summarized below. This statement also includes a couple of quotes from the decision, and subsequent remarks from the claimants and their lawyer. We politely ask you to direct any further questions you may have to Dieter Delarue via dieter@vaninnis-delarue.be. Thank you. 
 Summary of the decision – quote:
 The Brussels Court held that, while that is not the case for the original family coat of arms, the adaptation (wood carved sculpture) made of it by mr Patrick Damiaens is an original work of art and thus protected by copyright. The Brussels Court further held that by reproducing the sculpture onto a carved candle sold online and in Zara Home stores, without the artist’s permission, Zara Home infringed this copyright. 
 The Brussels Court ordered Zara Home to stop selling the candles (Zara Home had already pulled back the applicable candles), and convicted Zara Home to pay damages and legal costs, and to publish the decision in the “Heraldisch Tijdschrift”, a periodical focused on heraldic art. 
 Reflecting on Zara's typical modus operandi, the Brussels Court stated the following: "this clearly illustrates the intentions and attitude of Zara Home when designing and producing the candle: a commercially interesting and existing design, of not too much renown, is reproduced on the applicable goods in order to optimize sales without any recognition of the person who actually created the work and whose personality the work reflects."  

Statement by Dieter Delarue (lawyer for Patrick Damiaens and Mervyn Odink) 
 “As a copyright lawyer and a true advocate for the protection of innovation and creativity, it has always struck me that, no matter how strong and noisy the media campaigns against these practices were, in the end they faded away and the retailers went on and copied further. The retailers have always assumed that smaller designers or artist would be bluffed away, or would not persist in enforcing their rights. I hope that this decision, probably the first of its kind, even worldwide, can serve as a turning point in that respect, and that it may give courage to other designers or artists that are in the same boat.
 Statement by Patrick Damiaens (claimant 1):
 “I am very happy with the result. Two long years of persistence finally paid off. Zara Home found images of my sculpture online (probably on my blog), copied my work on one of its products and sold the product all over the world, without asking my permission. And then, when asked for an explanation two years ago, they simply waived the expression of my concern and feeling of disrespect away. They even threatened with a law suit for slander. I felt insulted and was too stubborn to let things go just like that.“
Statement by Mervyn Odink (claimant 2):
“To a certain extent I am happy with the end result: that Zara Home did not get away with what it did and that it has to realize that respect for third parties’ intellectual property rights is something that they need to show, too, no matter how big they are. I am disappointed, however, to the extent that the court has held that the original family coat or arms is not protected by copyright, because the creation of a work like this is in part the result of pre-defined choices or the combination of existing elements. We do not agree with this point of view”. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The palace of Augustusburg and hunting lodge “Jagdschloss” Falkenlust | Educational excursion with some students ornamental woodcarving to the castles of Brühl

Educational excursion with ornamental woodcarving course members to the castles of Brühl 
The palace of Augustusburg & hunting lodge “Jagdschloss” Falkenlust

The palace of Augustusburg and hunting lodge “Jagdschloss” Falkenlust

For many years now I have been undertaking annual, educational excursions with some of my ornamental woodcarving course members. In this context, the famous palace of Versailles has always been a popular destination. This year I thought it was time for something different. A couple of magnificent places in Germany came to mind. We thought it would be a great idea to visit the castles of Brühl, i.e. the palace of Augustusburg and hunting lodge (German: jagdschloss) Falkenlust. These are two prime examples of German rococo, located not too far from the Belgian border, which have been rightfully included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Unfortunately we were not so lucky with the weather, as it rained throughout the whole day.
With a couple of cars we drove in the direction of Brühl, situated close to Cologne. It was only a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Maaseik ( where I live), making it acceptable for people who do not enjoy long car or bus rides. I have probably already visited these UNESCO World Heritage sites at least 10 times, but being in the company of several of my “students” gave an entirely different feel to this excursion, compared to when visiting Brühl by myself.

I tried to answer all the questions my students have, but I also learned new things about this fascinating style period (rococo). As always, I was very much attracted to the splendid rococo compositions, executed in stone, plaster and wood.

Hunting Lodge Falkenlust in Brühl

Hunting Lodge “Jagdschloss” Falkenlust
First up was hunting lodge Falkenlust. Originally this palace was used by the archbishop-elector and of Cologne Clemens August of Bavaria strictly for falconry and hunting. Afterwards his girlfriend and children also moved in. This hunting lodge opened its doors at 10:00 AM. As always the staff was very friendly and courteous. They were very happy to see a bigger group visiting the castle.
As we were also planning to visit the palace of Augustusburg later that day, we opted for the combi-ticket which costed 12 euros (June 25th 2016). The discount price was 10 euros.

It was highly recommended to use the audio guide, which was included in the ticket. Depending on your personal interests and the use of the audio guide a tour of this intimate hunting lodge took roughly 1 to 1.5 hours.
It was not allowed to take photographs of the interiors. The same was true for the palace of Augustusburg, and the staff made sure that the rules were strictly abided by. After some searches on the internet I did however manage to find a couple of nice photos of the Falkenlust rococo interiors.

Hunting Lodge Falkenlust in Brühl

After the visit we returned to our cars, and a 5 minute drive took us to the palace of Augustusburg. The parking lot (free of charge) was located close to the Brühl train station. This was quite useful, especially when you contemplate visiting downtown Cologne; something we did later that day. A return ticket Brühl-Cologne costed 4.5 euros, and a train ride of approximately 15 minutes took us the famous Cologne cathedral. What a luxury, especially considering the high parking costs, the low emission zone tax, and the time spent to reach the old town.

To the visitor, who is lucky enough to pick a day without rain I would highly recommend to visit the palace of Augustusburg first, then to leave your vehicle on the above-mentioned parking lot and to proceed on foot through the lovely park and forest to the hunting lodge Falkenlust.
I have done this a couple times myself and the 25-30 minute walk is truly a pleasant change of pace.

An impression of the walk to Falkenlust in 2008.

The palace of Augustusburg

The palace of Augustusburg in Brühl, close to Cologne, is generally considered the architectural pinnacle of European architecture of the first half of the 18th century. This residence of the archbishop-elector of Cologne Clemens August of Bavaria, of the House of Wittelsbach, is one of the first rococo style buildings in Germany.
Construction started in 1725 and was overseen by Johann Conrad Schlaun. From 1728 onwards work continued on the interiors and decoration based on the designs of architect François de Cuvilliés. He also designed the decorations found on the facades and in the grand reception room in Regency and late Baroque styles.

Interesting to note is that François de Cuvilliés was born in Belgium and later settled in Munich, Germany, to become an accomplished interior designer, sculptor and stucco master.
The center piece or showpiece of Augustusburg is undoubtedly the west wing staircase, which is both elegant as well as dynamic; truly an architectural masterpiece and a real treat for the eyes. It was designed by Johann Balthasar Neumann who was also responsible for the staircase in the palace of Würzburg.

Augustusburg in Brühl | German Palace

The palace of Augustusburg

Johann Heinrich Roth completed the palace interiors, including the “Gardensaal”, located on the first floor and lavishly decorated with stucco.
In concordance with the client’s expensive taste, and the prevailing style of the time, a lot of stucco marble was used. Stucco marble or “scagliola” was used extensively on pilasters and walls, often combined with trophies and other ornaments, instead of real marble. 

In those days marble was often considered too ordinary to be used as decoration. The baroque style garden (French) from 1728 can still be enjoyed in its original splendor.
This palace with its staircase and garden is one of the most important creations of German baroque.
The prince-electors only used the palace of Augustusburg as hunting and summer palace, and was inhabited approximately 4 to 6 weeks of the year. Their main residences were the Electoral Palace and Palace Poppelsdorf in Bonn.  

When Clemens August died in 1761, construction on the main halls was still ongoing. His successor Max Friedrich von Königsberg (1761-1784) oversaw the completion of the palace as planned by Clemens August. After more than 40 years of construction the palace of Augustusburg was finally completed in 1768.
With the advent of the French Revolution the prince-electorate of Cologne seized to exist in 1794. 
French troops occupied the castle and sold all the furniture. When Napoleon visited the castle in 1804, he liked it so much that he wished it had wheels. In 1809 he donated it to marshal Davoust, who neglected it completely.

Augustusburg in Brühl | German Palace
On the train to Cologne

As mentioned, we also scheduled a short visit to Cologne. Due to the rain we decided to just visit Cologne Cathedral (German: DOM), rather than discovering the old center on foot. It was a challenge to ascend the 157.31 meter south tower with its 509 steps. This massive edifice is located close to the Rhine River (250 meters), and the main train station. Cologne Cathedral, officially called the High Cathedral of Saint Peter, was built in Gothic style with a cross shaped floor plan. Including the nave and towers this cathedral is 144.58 meters long and 86.25 meters wide.

Cologne Cathedral

Construction started on August 15th 1248 but was halted in the 15th century due to lack of funding. Centuries later, in 1824, construction resumed based on the original medieval design. Finally in 1880 the cathedral was completed in Neo-Gothic style. Only the base of the west tower dates back to the 13th century. It wasn’t until 1956 that all the damage caused by the war was repaired, and the church could be officially reopened.

The Cologne Cathedral boasts an impressive inventory including a couple of stained glass windows dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries.

Cologne Cathedral, 509 steps higher

After a visit to a local “Brauhaus”, for which Cologne is famous, we took the 18:00 train back to Brühl, where we ended our educational Saturday in the “Brühler Wirtshaus”. This was the old Brühl train station which had been converted to a very nice restaurant, something we experienced first-hand.

Translation Koen verhees


Friday, 2 June 2017

“De WARANDE” in Brussels | Ornamental wood carving carved on paneling | Hotel Empain a unique meeting place in the heart of Brussels.

De Warande in Brussels

“De WARANDE” in Brussels.
Hotel Empain a unique meeting place in the heart of Brussels.

In the characterful heart of Brussels, located between the embassies, on the edge of the park of Brussels, also known as the Warande Park, you will find the mansion ”De Warande”, a meeting place for Flemish entrepreneurs and their Belgium guests as well many international guests.
It was built at the end of the 18th century. At that time, it was known as Hotel Empain. Particularly beautiful and elegant, with decorated paneling (boiserie) interiors that enhance the residence. The diversity of style periods with their distinctive ornamentation that adorns the building, offers the opportunity to go deeper into the decoration of this beautiful meeting place in Brussels.

Manor House “De Warande”, Hotel Empain.

De Warande, an exclusive club.

De Warande is housed in the former Hotel Empain and 28 year ago it was specially set up and designed as a place where important Belgian people in Brussels could meet, in a discreet and casual atmosphere.

The life of wealthy people is often busy and stressful. In addition, our society is changing at a rapid pace. De Warande wants to be the Belium beacon to blend the social and professional activities seamless for her special members.
De Warande is a meeting place with many facets… Members can enjoy a gourmet top meal, plan meetings in one of the salons or connect with the intellectual group fed by a wide range of Warande’s activities.

De Warande wants to be an exclusive club that creates a first-class meeting place, with top-level service. With its stylish spaces and quality services, they try to offer each member a stimulating experience. As the management states, “We create a framework where leading Belgians can expand their network and horizons, on their own way”.

Members and their guest enjoy outstanding service and personal approach.

Orientation: De Warande in Brussels. (De red dot on the map).
De Warande Brussels with the beautiful monumental hall stairs.

The “De Warande” from my point of view.

In mid-2016, during my research work, I accidentally came across the website of “De Warande”, in which a particular photo drew my attention. A detail from a beautiful paneling from “The Lounge”, a beautiful composition with French influences was what struck me.
Because I am always looking for special and interesting blog items, I contacted the management of this club/meeting place to get information about the possibility to dedicate a blog item to “The Lounge”. I quickly received a positive response and I counted with their benevolent cooperation.

Information, texts, archive material was also available to me. In addition, I noticed that not only “The Lounge” is decorated with an elegant paneling, but other rooms of De Warande too. My curiosity for this beautiful place increased during the same week, when I had the appointment for a visit.

And that was why I went with one of my students of ornamental woodcarving, in the direction of Brussels in mid-july 2016.

De Warande is located in the royal district, on the corner of the Hertogenstraat and the Zinnerstraat. The latter does not really work more as a street, but rather as parking area for the members of De Warande. In the building complex on the side of Zinnerstraat, the US Embassy has also taken advantage of this “street”.

Yes… we should have expected this; after a security check of about 15 minutes, our entry was granted. The experience reminded me of a border control between East and West Berlin in 1983. For a bribery (in the border), a can of Coca-Cola or a package of Malboro did miracles then, but I had a vague suspicion that this would not be the case here and now.

We received a particularly warm reception from the Communications Manager of De Warende, Mr. Tijs Michiels. We visited several rooms where we felt at home, in an stylish environment where the almost natural beauty precents itself in a impressive way.

Here, the architecture offers the artist a medium in which he can meet nature to get inspired and invited exploring his/her creativity.

The arrangement and decoration of the interiors show that in the beginning of the last century (17th and 18th century) the old traditional ornamentation of the building was restored by some customer, designers and craftsmen. Not that this tradition has been lost, but for s short time is was displaced by a “modern style”.

 By that time, Brussels had won its famous of an Art Nouveau city, the city where this innovative architecture was created and was blooming. The Art Nouveau had its peak in 1907; and the traditional forces, that never slept on their laurels, once again took its place and got back under King Leopold II, who set the tone.

Paneling with ornaments (boiserie).

This historic building, located in the royal district of Brussels, has several remarkable wall panelings (wooden wall cladding or boiserie); lovers of elegant and high quality wood carving will not be disappointed. The diversity of styles will give me the opportunity to publish many blog entries in the future, about De Warande’s paneling and ornamentation.

The use of French decorative styles, the exuberance in ornamentation, the partitioning in the paneling and the composition of the carvings are very diverse and tastefully designed. One could use the interior of the Hotel Empain, executed with high skilled workmanship, as example for a lesson in “Architectural History of the Beautiful Styles”. Architectural aesthetics and art are a blast to the eyes.

De WARANDE in Brussels / Decorated panelings with ornaments.

The rooms:

The Empain salon is accessible from the hall stairs.  About 50 square meters of oak paneling worked by the Mechelse sculptor Frans Louis, shows different episodes of Jean d’Arc’s life. The piece is made in particularly high quality wood carving. An authentic Reinassance fireplace was sculptured in marble and is of Venetian origins.

Two sculpted columns with gold-leaf adorns the chimney mantel (trumeau) and shows the last supper. Certainly, an appropriate them for this dining room. The polychrome work is Italian and 17th century. At that time, it was a tradition to use authentic art pieces for the interior, together with newly designed decoration.

The club restaurant is formed by a few very cozy and intimate spaces that blend together, each one with its own decorative identity and a recognizable style period. The quality of the materials used and the skilled workmanship is also particularly high here. To the details of the finishing and the rich character of each part of the decoration, you will see that the customer was a man with the required specific knowledge, maintaining and keeping high standards.

In the small rooms, some of them with a low ceiling, you will find the finer decoration, composition and wood carving. This part of De Warande (Hotel Empain) provides a pleasant rest. Each room has its own style or style period with decoration with typical features. For example, there are 18th century Liege style, the Regence style, Louis XVI style, Empyre style (19th century) … but also compositions we can’t get our head around. Probably, the designer’s own creativity and/or personal wishes of the client have been given the preference or superiority, rather than strictly following the specific “style guidelines”.

The lounge, garden room, Salon Duke, Salon Arenberg... are the larger formal rooms and can be use by the member of De Warande, for parties, meetings or as a lunch room. Historically, these spaces served to impress the guests. You can see this in the decoration because they radiate wealth and power. The Salon Arenberg on the ground floor features an oak wood paneling with beautiful wood carving in French Regence Style.

De WARANDE in Brussels |
 Decorated paneling and paneling with ornaments.

The grand salon on the first floor, the Zinnerzaal, is opposite to the gallery and thus adjoins to the monumental stair hall. Here too, the oak paneling was carried out in Regence style. They reach to the ceilings; whose borders are decorated with stucco.

From the grand Salon, a double door has a view of the underlying little White Salon.

This is practically completed in a neo-Louis XVI style, the style of the royal square and some mansions in the park. It is also typical of the 18th century to create a “enfilade” of rooms. That is a series of contiguous rooms in one axis.

From this Grand Salon, you can see through the open doors into five other rooms.

sculpted mantelpiece

Hotel Empain, a unique meeting place in the heart of Brussels.

De WARANDE in Brussels |
 Decorated paneling and paneling with ornaments.

A few remarkable personal discoveries.

Because I am professional, engaged in the design and execution of ornaments in wood and the appropriate styles, over the years I have been able to compile a comprehensive archive; documents, old prints and books containing images of interiors, as well as recent reference books about furniture, interiors and castles. On top of that, the gypsum prints and study objects are a great source of inspiration, they hang from the wall of my wood carving studio.

But, the main source of inspiration is my own photo archive that I have being compiling for the last 30 years. Detail surveys of the application of ornaments that I have collected in museums, antique shows, private collections, private houses and castles. All style periods and the different applications of the ornamentation are included; not only in wood, but also in marble, stone, or bronze… Through this extensive archive, I have developed a bit of “a good visual memory” if it is about ornamentation.

It came to my attention that the furniture makers/ornament-maker who created the paneling in De Warande should also have been in possession of an extensive archive. I recognized a number of outstanding details in the paneling and doors, which could only be drawn / designed by people in possession of books and / or gypsum models of an old composition.

Below are some examples that support this finding.

Salle de Guerre, Versailles Castle, France.

Left, Salle de Guerre Versailles (FR), right De Warande showing the same motif in stone.

Rambouillet Castle, France.

Left, Rambouillet Castle (FR) / Right, same composition on a door.

Gypsum print of gypsum foundry, 
Art Museum and History in Brussels.

Museum of Art and Decoration, in Paris.

Museum of Art and Decoration, In Paris, B/W photo.

Translation, Lis Alvarado

Website De Warande 

Allow me to close this section of the “De Warande” interior observations. As I mentioned before, the diversity of different paneling and ornaments, it’s simple to much to grab it all in just a single blog entry.
I hope that you have been able to form a picture of De Warande, its atmosphere, the style periods and stylish rooms.
Below, you will find some of the moods and details of the paneling with ornaments that may be useful.

 Ornamental wood carving carved on paneling

De WARANDE in Brussels | Hotel Empain.
Carved paneling

“De WARANDE” in Brussels

De WARANDE in Brussels / Hotel Empain.

De WARANDE in Brussels / Hotel Empain.


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