Gaston Eysselinck (1907 – 1953) Belgian architect and furniture designer

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Gaston Eysselinck
Gaston Eysselinck

Gaston Eysselinck (1907 – 1953) was a Belgian architect and furniture designer. He created a limited but influential body of work in a short period. According to Huib Hoste , Eysselinck was one of the most radical figures within the avant-garde.

Education and early career

Both his parents came from Ninove; his father Eysselinck had ended up in Tienen as an employee at the railway company. Gaston Eysselinck was educated at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, where he was taught by Geo Henderick, among others. Eysselinck was able to interpret foreign influences in a personal way in a short period. During a study trip through the Netherlands in 1929, he got to know buildings from the Amsterdam School and work by Dudok, Oud and Gerrit Rietveld. The facade structure of the Serbruyns house (1930) on Koning Fabiolalaan no. 71 clarifies how he used the design language of De Stijl. 

Around that time, he came into contact with the then prevailing European currents through Le Corbusier’s work Vers une architecture. In 1930 Eysselinck visited the Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart on his honeymoon. There he viewed Le Corbusier’s Citrohan home. In the early 1930s, he synthesised all these elements with his own house on Vaderlandstraat in Ghent. 

Special Double Desk Attributed to Gaston Eysselinck
Special Double Desk Attributed to Gaston Eysselinck

Eysselinck designed a series of tubular steel furniture for this house in 1932, which later went into production under the name FRATSTA, which stands for Factory of RATionale STaalmeubelen . Some of this furniture is part of the collection of the GentseDesign Museum. This museum also keeps the designer’s archive. The designer was also a teacher at the Royal Academy in Ghent and Antwerp and, for a time, a member of the editorial board of the magazine La Citรฉ. In 1937 he won the Van de Ven Prize for the Verplancken/Haerens house in Ghent (Patijntjesstraat no. 44, 1934-35).

Teacher 

From 1933 Gaston Eysselinck was a teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, and from 1945 he also taught at the Academy in Antwerp.

Ostend

The owner-occupied home in Ghent (1930-1931) and the Post Office in Ostend (1946-1953) are defining beacons within the Belgian architectural landscape of the 20th century. He uses this house as a test station for his first significant public building, the Post Office of Ostend. After all, in his own home, he knows how to inventively adapt the ideas of the new building to the requirements of the location of the building and to apply the Five Points of a New Architecture formulated by Le Corbusier in a non-dogmatic way. The final design results from a laborious process of creation, with a difference in vision with the Ostend building administration, more specifically with architect-urbanist Jean-Jules Eggericx. In 1953, during the construction of the postal building, disagreements arose between the architect and the client (the Telephony and Telegraphy Directorate) about the placement of a sculpture by Jozef Cantrรฉ.in front of the building. Eysselinck felt that the round shapes of the sculpture were necessary to break and complement the clean lines of his building. He was finally denied access to the wharf. The statue of Cantrรฉ was placed ten years after his death. Eysselinck was also very committed to the staff and the workers. For example, he provided the refectory for the staff in the post office in Ostend at the top with a beautiful view of Ostend.

Death

Eysselinck committed suicide on December 6, 1953, after financial difficulties and marital problems. Two months after his new girlfriend, Georgette Troy, died of cancer.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Gaston Eysselinck. (2021, June 28). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . Retrieved 09:30, June 28, 2021 from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gaston_Eysselinck&oldid=59412138 .

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