The golden heart of Belgian design icon The Visitor

The golden heart of Belgian design icon The Visitor

In 2019, The Visitor, the friendly design object that became an internationally beloved guest in many interiors, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a limited edition of gold-plated mini-Visitors. Today, The Visitor shows its golden heart and shares part of the proceeds from that special limited-edition series with two social projects. This completes the circle, as each Visitor is created handmade in a Brazilian ceramics studio that provides work for local residents. Also in the future, social commitment will continue to be part of the charter of Belgian design firm Gardeco Objects.

In 2009, 'The Visitor' — the brainchild of Belgian artist Guido Deleu — was born and included in the collection of design firm Gardeco Objects. The figure stares wonderingly into the sky and, thanks to its friendly appearance and universal recognition, has internationally become an iconic design object and a beloved guest in many contemporary interiors.

Each Visitor is handmade and begins its journey in the Brazilian ceramics studio Cores Da Terra, located in one of the country's poorest regions. The name, meaning 'colours of the earth', reflects one of the studio's core values: sustainability. Organic raw materials such as clay and natural pigments form the basis of handmade art objects. Another core value of the studio is social responsibility: by training local residents to become ceramists, jobs will be created and the quality of life of families will improve.

Ten years of The Visitor
The 10th anniversary of The Visitor was celebrated in 2019 with the launch of a temporarily available mini-Visitor in 24-carat gold leaf. In this respect, an additional place to finish the product was added to this unique travel story: Venice. There, the mini-Visitors were plated with gold at the studio of Mario Berta Battiloro, the last European atelier to craft gold into wafer-thin sheets of gold leaf using a technique dating back to the 11th century.

Together with Ceifar, an organisation dedicated to helping families in the favelas of the Brazilian city of Salvador da Bahia, Gardeco Objects decided to dedicate part of the proceeds from the gold Visitors to two social projects that make life in the favelas more bearable.

Golden heart
The first project is financing glasses for primary school students. Without visual support, many children would eventually be unable to attend classes, resulting in a hopeless future. The second social project The Visitor is supporting is the creation of an outdoor playground in cooperation with Carta Mundi and the Belgian ‘Koning Boudewijnstichting’ (King Baudouin Foundation). Since everything revolves around learning through play, a vegetable garden was created, among other things, and as the icing on the cake, the Visitor was given a central place in the whole.

Gardeco Objects wants to invest in further social projects in the future. When choosing, they want to be guided mainly by gut feeling. For heartwarming projects where as little budget as possible is consumed by overhead costs and where people themselves are the driving force, Gardeco Objects gladly provides the fuel.

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