Kris Van Assche

For much of the European designer crowd, the trip to Miami for Art Basel has been in-and-out (see Alessandro Michele, Daniel Lee) and it was no different for Berluti’s Kris Van Assche.

“Twenty-hour flight for 24 hours in Miami,” Van Assche said Thursday evening from the rooftop above the Berluti boutique in the Design District.

Van Assche was in Miami this week for his third Art Basel, to debut his collaboration with François Laffanour of Galerie Downtown: 17 original Pierre Jeanneret pieces, upholstered in Berluti’s Venezia leather.

“I’ve loved Pierre Jeanneret furniture for a very long time,” Van Assche explained. The collection includes items ranging from cinema chairs and a daybed to a desk, a bench and an armchair, done in colorful hand-applied patina, a break from the tradition of shoes and accessories for the Berluti brand, he said.

“I wanted to break that open and have it be about clothes, but use patina now in this very contemporary context,” the designer said. “Tradition with shoes is fine but it’s also possible to use that tradition in a very contemporary and modern way. So it’s about proving that all that know-how can also be used for something totally different. This is a big step from shoes to design, so it opens up a whole world of possibilities.”

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