Papilio Design with insects

From interior design to entomology

Sofie Nijs is an interior designer with a master in furniture design. Due to focussing on bigger projects in her job she sometimes feels the lack of really creating and being able to focus on details.

Around 6 years ago she bought her first insect treasure on a market!
This sparked her interest and while strolling around antique and vintage markets she found herself always hunting for curiosities.
She became so passionated that her own private collection got out of control. There is so much more to discover but too little space in her appartement! She had to sell some of her own pieces and Papilio was born.

Entomology is described as ” the study of insects and their relationship to humans, the environment, and other organisms.” Sofie is mostly triggered by the aspect of beauty in the species and the creations that she can make with them.

Cabinet of oddities

When you enter Sofie’s home and “atelier” which is now basically still at the kitchen tabel you feel like a kid in a toy store! So many beautiful things and little bits and pieces of curiosities and species. You want to see them all at once! Sofie finds “Wunderkammer” the most suitable description for it. “A collection of curiosities with insects and skeletons on top of the list.”

In Sofie I recognize a multipotenialite, a creative Jack of all trades!
From early age on, she loved natural materials and collected seashells and corals. Her passion for esthetic objects grew even more throughout her studies. She loves to combine her ‘interior design’ with her own creations.

Are the designs ethically sourced?

Sofie finds this aspect very important! She always tries to track down the source. This is not always an easy job! In the end you just have to trust the honesty of your suppliers.

Most breeding gardens are located in Azia and South America.
About 50 % (depending on the market) is released back into nature after breeding and the other half is used for decorators, collectors, for scientific studies on the species, etc…

These breeding gardens are meant to keep biodiversity on track. They also create work for local farmers. Rare and protected species are only sold with the accurate CITES papers and conform with European law.

Is it therefor ethical? I like to think that these kinds of treasures died of purpose and not for the sole use of decoration. Unfortunately this is not always the case and you can never be sure..

Taxidermy vs. Entomology? Repelling or Wonderfull?

Taxidermy started appearing in the 16th Century already by collectors. It was used in trofee rooms to show off all the adventures they had been on. It was a symbol of status. Later on they cataloged and preserved discovered species in terms of Nature history.

For a lot of people it is confronting to have a death animal in your interior! For others it is wonderful and beautiful. It is the opposition that makes it so attractive. It’s a rare object, esthetically beautiful and yet it makes you wonder about mortality.

About the life of the animal before it ended up in your living room. There is something horrific about it. Therefor I find it important to know their source. That they did not die solely to become a piece of interior.

It is intriguing to look at a beautiful insect. If you really look closely at al the details you will be amazed by it’s beauty the ingenious constructions of their body’s.

‚ÄčTailor made pieces

Sofie chooses quality over quantity and does not want to become a big entomology webshop! She loves tailor made pieces and the personal interaction with clients. She wants to keep designing small scaled.
At Papilio you find little art pieces and installations to brighten up your interiors. No mass production!!

As Jeroen Lemaitre describes it so beautifully ” Wonders are collectible”
and Sofie is one of those who make it happen!
So if you are in search of a very special gift or want to pimp up your interior…
Or if you just want to indulge into the beauty of exotic species. Search no more! Papilio is your place to be!




Ps: if you like to read portraits on other wonderwoman, be sure to check out the following:



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