Alex Proba | 10 QUESTIONS

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Alex Proba – maybe you’ve heard of her Poster a Day series – is a graphic designer, art director and illustrator, currently based in New York. Colourful, geometric and playful are words that come to mind when looking at her work, including carpets, branding and logo’s  and free work (with a nice combo with Studio Specht as well!). 

1. How would you describe what you do?
I am a designer, illustrator and art director. I’m originally from Lüdenscheid, Germany. I went to the Akademie Mode und Design in Hamburg, Germany, where I studied Spatial and Graphic Design. I attended my graduate school at the Design Academy in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, where I focused on Product and Furniture Design. In 2011 I moved to New York where I still work as an Art Director at Kickstarter, but I’m about to change jobs. At the end of the month I’m joining Mother as a Design Director. On night times and weekends, I run my own studio Studio Proba. Prior to my jump into the startup world, I gathered experience at architecture and product design studios in New York, Berlin and Eindhoven.

2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first?
I am not a morning person but I am of trying to change that. My boyfriend is usually my alarm clock, which is very selfish, and he also prepares breakfast for the two of us. So all I have to do is crawl out of bed and have coffee, fruit and a bowl of yoghurt is waiting for me. I am a lucky one, so thank you Simon! Oh, and on weekends I usually start the day with working out.

3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
I studied as an exchange student in Ohio—I learned to appreciate art and craft more than other time in my life. I started drawing, painting and experimenting with materials and objects. I felt something special when creating. After I came back home to Germany, I didn’t stop creating.
My parents thought of my newfound creativity as a hobby but I didn’t. When it was time to decide on a career, I initially chose the expected route to become a doctor. That decision was quickly dismissed and I started to explore the world of Spatial and Graphic design as well as product and furniture. Now I feel incredibly fortunate to have chosen the path that’s right for me and that fulfills me each an every day. All I want to do is create and make things. I feel very lucky to be able to do that.

4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
Daily life. It’s the small things in life.

5. Which is your all time favorite design?
Ettore Sottsass’ Carlton room divider, 1981.

6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other
creative calls?
My dream is to continue doing what I do and continue to love it as much as I do now. I also have another little dream. I would love to own, live and work in a five-story building in New York or Berlin, where each floor represents a different craft—from architecture, to furniture, to graphic design, to pottery.

7. Which piece of work would you consider your very own masterpiece?
I’m most proud of my collaboration with Aelfie which has just launched in April at Cooper Hewitt in New York City. I started exploring ways to bring product design and tactility to my almost 2 year long “A Poster A Day” project. Rugs were a logical step to transform 2D posters into a 3D scape, where they can be hung on the wall but also used as a daily object on the floor. I stumbled upon Aelfie and Aelfie stumbled upon me by seeing works of each other exhibited in Brooklyn. In the Summer of 2014 we started talking about collaboration. Together, we brought international flavour paired with technical savviness to their design process. The rugs are inspired by Kurdish mixed technique weavings and mid century surface design. Aelfie x Studio Proba rugs are flat woven with hand knotted details. There are 5 unique designs, limited edition of 3 each.

8. If you had a time machine in what year would you be living?
New York City, 1960s

9. Cookies and milk or chips and soda?
CHIPS (and fries).

10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
Never ever get comfortable.

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Wonderful Whites | IN-GRID

New_2372 Sleek, minimal, white shirts. That’s what in-grid is all about. Attention for detail, understated cool and a sculptural approach takes these basic pieces to another level.
Behind this new brand are two people – a graphic designer and a tailor – who have found each other on so many levels: in love, in aesthetics and in partnership. Their mutual love for design, art and principles made way for this idea; a business that is rooted in precision and a calm, minimalistic approach. What they wanted to design wasn’t clear from the start, but their obsession with detail, materials and modularity lead to their first sketches of white shirts.

The first drop of shirts will be up for sale very soon, and will be available at www.in-grid.co at the end of May. Plans for a second batch have already been made, so check out their instagram to stay up to date of new drops and releases.

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Visual Identity MOME | TAKACS & KOZMA

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Designer duo Dániel Kozma and Benedek Takács designed the visual identity of open day of the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (MOME) in Budapest, a special event that gives insight into the life and spirit of the university.
The identity for the open day is always created by current students, who can show a glimpse of the creative work happening at the school. The black and white typography and graphic devices create an effective look for the different buildings and locations of the university. Dániel Kozma and Benedek Takács created a unified look that communicates the information effectively and straightforward in print, website and video.

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Tea Ave Oolong I TATABI STUDIO

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Tea Ave Oolong is a Canadian company that sells Oolong teas and nice TeaWare. They wanted their brand to reflect values and passions such as transparency, authenticity, a top-notch experience and delicious taste.  Through the use of high-end products and the beautiful brand design created by Tatabi Studio this is exactly what they are achieving.

Tatabi Studio was responsible for packaging and brand art direction of Tea Ave Oolong. They designed the logo thinking of the famous Wuyi Mountains, where this traditional chinese Tea is produced.

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Tempo Polveroso | FREDERIK VERCRUYSSE

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The magnificent surroundings urged him to get out of the studio walls. During his artist-in-residency project in Tuscany, Frederik Vercruysse had planned to work on a still life series, but the scenes outside proved very interesting as well. The result of his Italian stay is Tempo Polveroso, now on view at Graanmarkt 13.

The marble quarries in the vicinity of Villa Lena are portrayed in a painterly, abstract way. Links with reality are hard to find, which turns this natural-yet-human scenery and into a minimal, poetic image.
The images portraying the area and details of Villa Lena bathe in the same sense of mystery. Mist and light cover the scenes, making way for interesting, powdery layers. These images have a way of showing the beauty in decay, creating striking images with a hint of melancholy.

Tempo Polveroso will run from today, April 24, until May 30 at Graanmartk 13 in Antwerp.

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5 Questions for Max Lamb | MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2015

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One of the highlights of this year’s design week has to be Max Lamb‘s Excercises in Seating. For this expo, Max had a look at his archive, collecting a series of chairs he designed between 2006 and 2015 – the last one was only finished a few weeks ago. All chairs all presented in a circle, in chronological order. It’s up to the visitor to discover which one is the first and which one is the last. This is harder than it sounds: despite spanning a few years, the chairs fit together remarkably well.

Material is what’s most important for Max, more so than the eventual end product. As he says, his pieces are not really designed, but they’re made: “I don’t start from a previous sketch or plan, and I’m not dependent on a specific shape, medium or process. My focus lies on the method. Manipulating, transforming and adjusting material eventually leads to a piece of furniture, whether it’s functional or not.”

1. Who are you?
My name is Max Lamb, I’m 34 years old and I’m originally from Cornwall. I like making, nature, technologie, science and furniture. And all these things come together in my designs.

2. Why are you in Milan?
Milan is always in my schedule. It’s an important platform for me to present my works, since it’s such a democratic, global experience. Visitors from all over the world, from all classes and backgrounds come to Milaan during the design week, making it the perfect spot to meetothers. It’s the most universal spot to be present as a designer.
This year, I was asked bij 5vie to design an expo for this space, the Spazio Sanremo, and old garage. The objects that are displayed now, weren’t made for this expo in particular, that’s not how I work. These are all pieces I made the previous years, which are gathered now. I don’t make things for expo’s or shows, but for people. I want to reach out, speaking to them on an emotional level.

3. What is the most important thing you learned so far in your career?
Get your hands dirty. You have to feel the materials yourself, and you have to know how they work and how you can work with them. Don’t be afraid to try and experiment.

4. Why do you do what you do?
I never woke up with the sudden idea to become a designer, I believe it’s more a result of several elements.
I had a very creative childhood. My father was a survival instructor in the Air Force, so we had to move a lot. every two years I had to adapt to a new school, new friends, new city … This automatically makes you creative and inventive: I had to adapt and adjust, and had to make sure I could entertain myself on my own.
My dad was also a fairly strict man, he likes order. Become of this, I’m also very keen on order and structure, but I can also appreciate the beauty in chaos. 

5. Wat wil je zeker niet missen dit jaar?
I’ll probably be here, at my own exhibition, most of the time. And I absolutely don’t mind. I can find the work of others online, but meeting people and talking to them is only possible here. i could just stand here at the exact same spot for seven days, and still meet hundreds of interesting people.

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All pictures by Sam Gilbert. 

 

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5 questions for Margriet Vollenberg| MILAAN DESIGN WEEK 2015

Baroness O. Margriet Vollenberg Ventura Lambrate

A lot of interesting characters cross our paths during Milan Design Week 2015. We asked them 5 exactly the same questions.
In order to sport the next big thing among designer, Ventura Lambrate is where you should go.
We had the honor of talking to Margriet Vollenberg, founder and curator of Ventura Lambrate. 

1. Who are you?
I am the founder of Organisation in Design, the company behind Ventura. We organize various projects in different cities, by which we want to show the latest developments in contemporary design. Here in Milan we take over an entire neighborhood. Young designers, design schools and collectives are presenting their work throughout a wide array of buildings in the Lambrate area.

2. Why are you in Milan?
As curator of Ventura Lambrate, I have to make sure everything runs smoothly. Most preparations have been done in advance: out of all entries in the open calls, I picked the strongest projects. This year we had about 500 entries which lead to 176 diverse, good exhibitors.

3.What is the most important thing you learned so far in your career?
Follow your gut feeling. I have lived and worked in Milan, and I visited the fair very often. About seven years ago I felt that something had to change. So many people from all over the world come to the city especially for this exhibition, but it lacked innovation. It could be different, more exciting and more innovative, and I wanted to take care of that. This seems impossible for a small studio, especially if that studio is also based in the Netherlands. But my feelings were so strong, I just had to change something. Now I’m really glad I tried it. It turned out fine, and there’s a lot of positive feedback. Designers and visitors are happy that Ventura is here now.

4. Why do you do what you do?
I thought it was really necessary to create a platform where young talent has a place, but where more established brands could also present themselves in a more creative way. It was still very normal to present everything on white pedestals in front of white walls, but this could and had to change. I wanted an environment where the designer and his story could be addressed. The design and production process become part of the exhibition, and there is the possibility of interaction and encounter.

5. What is the one thing you don’t want to miss this year?
I’ve heard that the collaboration between Paola Navone and Linteloo is very nice. Ted Noten has a smaller project where I would loved to walk around. And I would also like to go to the Palazzo Clerici, there is always a lot to see over there.

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5 questions for Mae Engelgeer | MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2015

Mae Engelgeer Baroness O.

A lot of interesting characters cross our paths during Milan Design Week 2015. We asked them 5 exactly the same questions.
We met Dutch textile designer Mae Engelgeer at Ventura Lambrate.

1. Who are you?
I work as a textile designer and have my own studio in Amsterdam for 3 years already now. I studied fashion design, afterwards I worked for a fashion label and I completed a Master of Applied Arts, always with a specialization in textile design.

2. Why are you in Milan?
This is the third time I presented my designs in Milan, but it’s the first time I’m doing this on my own. Previous years my designs were part of a group exhibition. This year however – with tea towels, blankets, carpets and ceramics – I had enough products to fill an entire room.

3.What is the most important thing you learned so far in your career?
I’ve noticed that it’s very important to work according to your own intuition. Your gut feeling is often decisive, so I try to stay very close to that.
And don’t be afraid to actually start an do stuff. If something doesn’t work out, you can always try something else.
Being flexible can also help you trough less productive periods. An idea can have multiple outcomes, all of which can lead to something great. A plan B often turns out to be better than the original idea.

4. Why do you do what you do?
During my stduies at the fashion academy, I noticed that the fabrics were most important to me. Once I designed and developed the fabric, I still had to figure out a form, but that actually felt unnatural. I felt relieved when I was able to let go of that aspect and focus completely on textile.
Gradually, I grew back into product design, not only fabric prints or patterns. But the structure and composition of the material remains the most important to me.

5. What is the one thing you don’t want to miss this year?
I always pass by Rossana Orlandi, but I also like to pay the fellow Dutch designers a visit here in Ventura. A couple of friends of mine also have a booth here, like rENs. It is very interesting to see how they grow and develop as a studio.

Mae Engelgeer Baroness O. Mae Engelgeer Baroness O.

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5 questions for COS | MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2015

A lot of interesting characters cross our paths during Milan Design Week 2015. We asked them 5 exactly the same questions. Today we stopped by COS x Snarkitecture and had a talk with salesman Luca.

After collaborations with The Serpentine Gallery and nendo, COS picked the American studio Snarkitecture to create an installation. Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen were inspired by the spring/summer collection in which light, transparent materials are a focal point.
When walking through the doors of Spazio Erbe, you end up in a clean and crisp white space, completely covered with long strips of white fabric that are hanging down from the ceiling.

1. Who are you?
I am Luca, a Fashion Design student at the Politecnico of Milan. I also work as a salesman at COS, here in the store on Corso Venezia.

2. Why are you in Milan?
Well, I live in Milan but I’ll stay here for a reason during the Design Week. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover a lot of new designers and see many different disciplines.

3. What is the most important thing that you gave learned so far?
I’m still at the beginning of my career, so I’m still learning every day. At the moment, things are going well. Through my job at COS I see that I can still grow, both as a person and as a designer. It gives me an idea about how the whole fashion business works.

4. Why do you do what you do?
That’s a difficult question, because I don’t have clear-cut answer. I was always very inspired by the aesthetics and approach from certain brands, including COS: it’s about fashion, but also about more than that. It’s also art and design.

5. What do you certainly not want to miss this year?
The Design Week just started so I haven’t really found the time to research what else there is to see. There are so many events, so I think I’m just going to walk around the city and see what crosses my path. And of course I will also have to help out at the COS installation.

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5 questions for Philippe Malouin | MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2015

Philippe Malouin Baroness O. ©Sam Gilbert

A lot of interesting characters cross our paths during Milan Design Week 2015. We asked them 5 exactly the same questions.
Today we met Philippe Malouin, the designer behind this year’s installation for Caesarstone.

1. Who are you?
My name is Philippe Malouin, I run a design studio in Hackney, East London together with Eva Feldkamp. We started about four years ago. The range of my designs is very broad: from furniture and installations to interior design or videography. So we come across many different disciplines.

2. What brings you to Milan?
Caesarstone asked me to design an installation with their materials, which is marble and other natural stones. I was inspired by the relationship between greenery and natural. They occur together in nature and are reunited again here. 20 Planters is a collection of containers in various types of stone.This collection also fits well with our design philosophy: we want to make things, not just design them. In the room next door are the Swings, a set of eight swings in which you can rock trough a baroque, antique mirror hall.

3. What is the most important thing you learned so far in your career?
Always make a one to one scale model! A computer can always make mistakes.
Ask the opinion of others, especially of people whose judgment you actually fear.
It is also very important to try your best and go one step further.
I
 teach at the Royal College of Art in London, and I always tell my students that they should be an all-round designer, especially in these times. It is much harder now than ten or twenty years ago. Designing something beautiful is not good enough, you must be able to take a good picture, think about branding, do your pr, design a functional website …

4. Why do you do what you do?
I grew up in Canada, in a fairly remote village near Quebec. Because it was so far away from everything, I often kept myself busy in the workshop in our basement. While playing I created my first designs. In high school I studied arts & science. In the period between the secondary and the university I decided to become a designer. It’s a real passion for me. I don’t do this because it happens to be fun or cool, but because I can’t do something else.

5. What is the one thing you don’t want to miss this year?
Sleep!

Philippe Malouin Baroness O. ©Sam Gilbert Philippe Malouin Baroness O. ©Sam Gilbert Philippe Malouin Baroness O. ©Sam Gilbert Philippe Malouin Baroness O. ©Sam Gilbert All pictures by Sam Gilbert.

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5 questions for POOL | MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2015

Baroness O. Pool ©Sam Gilbert

A lot of interesting characters cross our paths during Milan Design Week 2015. We asked them 5 exactly the same questions.
Today we met Lea and Sébastien, the designers behind  POOL.

1. Who are you?
We – Lea Padovani and Sébastien Kieffer – are POOL from Paris. We mainly focus on furniture and interior design and have designed pieces for Habitat, Cassina and Gallery S. Bensimon amongst others.

2. What brings you to Milan?
We are definitely here to enjoy the atmosphere and the environment, but we’re also here to present our newest piece, the Grid sofa for Petite Friture. It’s a modular sofa for which we will release new additional elements over time.
Milan is the place where it all started for us, so it’s always nice to come back here. In 2011, we were part of the Nouvelle Vague expo, which was our first step into the design world. Even since, we had something new to show during each edition.

3. What is the most important thing that you learned so far in your career?
Remember that you do not have to do everything for free. You have to find a balance between paid and unpaid jobs. It’s also very important not forget to enjoy yourself!

4. Why do you do what you do?
Léa: I had a very creative and inspiring aunt. She was an artist who made a lot of installations in the 80’s. She was a very special, flamboyant lady and has been a great example and inspiration to me.
Sebastien: My family and teachers all told me I had to become an engineer because I was good at maths and science, but that was too boring for me. I really wanted to draw, but I wasn’t really good enough. Design lies somewhere between what engineers do and drawing, so when I found that this was an existing possibility, I immediately knew I wanted to do that.

5. What is the one thing you don’t want to miss this year?
We are very much looking forward to the opening of the Nilufar Depot, a design gallery in an old warehouse.
As every year, Rosanna Orlandi is a very inspiring place. It’s always our first stop during Milan Design Week.
Grid Sofa POOL Baroness O. Baroness O. POOL

 1st picture by Sam Gilbert.

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Alain Berteau | 10 QUESTIONS

Alain Berteau Baroness O.

Belgium is Design – a joint venture between Design Flanders, Wallonia-Brussels Design Mode, MAD Brussels, Wallonia Invest & Export and Brussels Invest & Export – will once again highlight Belgian creativity during the Salone in Milan.  

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Designer of the Year Award, all previous and current designers of the year present their latest designs in a joint expo. The exhibition will highlight the specific characteristics of Belgian design, emphasising the original approach these 10 designers have in common. The prestigious Academia di Belle Arti di Brera is the perfect location to confront these designers with each other, and with the rich historic background of the building itself. 

One of the designers is Alain Berteau, designer of the year 2006. 

1. How would you describe what you do?
I design. I mostly work on furniture, equipment and some buildings, but I also do a lot of branding and product strategies. And on the side I also teach a little bit.
2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first? 
I get up at 6am, to have breakfast with my “early bird” younger daughter.
3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
I’m passionate about what I do because I couldn’t imagine myself doing something else. Rilke was right: don’t do it if you could consider doing anything else.
I just can’t think of any other occupation that would please me as much. It all came very natural, even when I was a child I was always drawing, sketching, crafting …
The famous Henri James formula is also a relevant answer: We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. You don’t work well in this field until you understand its complete vacuity – we design chairs, we don’t save lives, it’s not important – and then you try to put some intensity in it, to make it meaningful again.
4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
Design is about observation, looking for improvement and relevance. It’s not about style. That’w what daily life is a big source of inspiration for me. I am very inspired by how people behave, and by thinking about human needs. If there is something missing that might change people’s behaviour, that is what I want to come up with. Uncomfortable situations are a problem that I want to solve through my designs.
Poorly made products are another source of inspiration. I want to find a way to make them better.
5. Which is your all time favorite design?
The Taccia lamp from Castiglioni. Followed by the Eames Aluminium group, Charlotte Perriand shelves, and the Marcel Breuer plywood chaise longue for Isokon.
6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other creative calls?
I will continue in a quieter but intensive way. I still have so many ideas that are waiting to be developed.
7. Which piece of work would you consider your very own masterpiece?
It is a brand new folding chair collection, which is still in development at the moment. The collection is so simple and yet so extremely innovative at the same time. It’s all about convenience, about making things easier for people.
8. If you had a time machine, in what year would you be living?
I would like to be transported to 1964 because of jazz and rock music. And also because of the arts and design of that time, and the clothes, movies and literature. To quote Bill Evans, I would like to live in the sixties for “total freedom with responsibility”.
9. Cookies and milk, or chips and soda?
Oysters, bread and good wine. Can’t beat that, and life is short.
10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
Always trust your instinct. Alain Berteau Baroness O.
Alain Berteau Baroness O. Alain Berteau Baroness O.
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Specht Studio | 10 QUESTIONS

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Graphic designer Stephanie Specht has lived in cities all over the world – Cape Town and New York to name but two – but has found her way back to her hometown Antwerp. She has just opened her brand new studio in Borgerhout, a creative hotspot where she has her desk, but that also functions as an exposition space. Print and illustration aficionados will be delighted by all the graphic goodness on the walls.

1. How would you describe what you do?
I am a graphic designer and an illustrator. I love vectors. 

2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first?
I think I start working between 9 and 11, but every day is different. I don’t really have a routine besides drinking coffee before I start working. Sometimes I go to Caffénation to grab a coffee, sometimes I just go straight to my studio to have my cup there.

3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
As a kid I was always drawing, so in a way it all came very natural to me.
At first, I wanted to become an architect but during high school I was really bad at mathematics, so my teachers kindly advised me not to take up architecture. At that time, the mum of one of my friends, Lus Pittoors, was teaching typography and she introduced me to the world of graphic design.

4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
Music, art and architecture! But there’s too much to sum up really. I can’t work without listening to music. When I discover new music that I like, I get a lot of new ideas for work.
Bauhaus is also one of my inspirations. I love the architecture and the graphic design from that era. I recently visited the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin again – I never get tired of it – and each time again I am truly amazed by how strong those designs are.

5. Which is your all time favourite design?
This changes all the time, I can’t put a name on it. 

6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other creative calls?
This is my path! I never want to do anything else. I never want to stop creating.

7. Which piece of work would you consider your very own masterpiece?
A New York Minute I think. The typography in this piece is strong, young and simple. It’s a very flat design yet there’s a little depth in it. I usually work with a lot of white space but here I didn’t.
A New York minute is a saying that appears to to have originated around 1967. It’s a reference to the frenzied and hectic pace of New Yorkers’ lives; it’s only an instant.

8. If you had a time machine, in what year would you be living?
I don’t need a time machine. I am happy to live in this moment. I feel satisfied with all the things that are happening right now. 

9. Cookies and milk, or chips and soda?
None of them. I rarely eat cookies or drink milk. Chips and soda aren’t appealing to me either. I am not a real health freak, but I tend to think a lot about what I am eating. I always read ingredients on packaging. I can tell you it’s a bit exhausting sometimes.

10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
Stand up for yourself.

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A-New-York-Minute 150326_StephanieSpecht_hrjpg-16 150326_StephanieSpecht_hrjpg-7 Images by Frederik Vercruysse.

 

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Muller Van Severen | 10 QUESTIONS

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Belgium is Design – a joint venture between Design Flanders, Wallonia-Brussels Design Mode, MAD Brussels, Wallonia Invest & Export and Brussels Invest & Export – will once again highlight Belgian creativity during the Salone in Milan.  

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Designer of the Year Award, all previous and current designers of the year present their latest designs in a joint expo. The exhibition will highlight the specific characteristics of Belgian design, emphasising the original approach these 10 designers have in common. The prestigious Academia di Belle Arti di Brera is the perfect location to confront these designers with each other, and with the rich historic background of the building itself. 

One of the designers is Muller Van Severen, designer of the year 2015. 

1. How would you describe what you do?
We make functional objects, but we still look at those objects as if they were artworks. We both started as visual artists and haven’t changed the way we work: we look at a piece of furniture in the same way we look at our individual pieces of art. But off course we have to think about functionality and usability as well now.

2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first?
We get up at 7am and start to work at 9am. But each day is different, almost none are the same. I quite like this variety: one day we’re designing in the atelier, the next we have a meeting, we draw, we travel abroad …

3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
We started this because we wanted to work together on a project. The point of departure for this particular undertaking was when gallery Valerie Traan asked us to ‘do something’ with art and design.
The whole process grew gradually; it was a spontaneous, organic following of events. We don’t have a particular strategy to follow, but we do have a big urge to create and make things, and to develop our own world. It’s just a coincidence that happens to have to do with furniture design. A collaboration between the two of us could have ended up totally different as well.

4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
We both have a background in visual arts, so that is off course a field that stays an enormous inspiration. But daily life can be a source of inspiration as well: a luscious garden, a well-built house, the colour of an aubergine, … Inspiration can be found behind every corner.

5. Which is your all time favorite design?
I’m a very big fan of the LL04 by Maarten Van Severen, Hannes’ father. To me, it’s a sculptural work of art, beautifully designed, very strong yet very sensitive. And it’s already very comfortable. It has everything a good piece of furniture needs.

6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other creative calls?
At the moment we but feel absolutely great doing what we do, so it would be great if we could continue like this a little bit longer.
At the moment we both feel as if nothing ever changed except for the medium we’re working with. We still work in the same way we used to when creating art, so it could be possible that we head back to our ateliers for other types of work.

7.Which piece do you consider your own masterpiece?
From our mutual projects, Installation S is very important to me. Still, my idea of my favourite or mot important piece change almost every month, I always have a different preference.

8. If you had a time machine, in what year would you be living?
I’m actually quite happy with the time we’re living in now, since we’re free to do what we want to and that’s something that makes me very happy.
On the other side, I would also like to go back some 20 years, so I could slow everything down a bit. Time passes by so quickly, even too quickly, and this often creates superficiality or a lack of interest.

9. Cookies and milk, or chips and soda?
Chips and soda.

10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
Take all the time you need to grow, and try to keep enjoying the process of making and designing, because that’s where you can find happiness and joy in your work.
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Fasted | STUDIO DESSUANT BONE

Studio Dessuant Bone

Fasted is a set of non functional tableware designed by Paris-based Studio Dessuant Bone.
DWA studio invited them to be  part of the exhibition ‘A Stomach Vuoto’ – on an empty stomach – at the Salone del Mobile 2015.
Studio Dessuant Bone questions the links between objects surrounding us and their representation.
Fasted focuses on the representation of tableware by producing a drawing in volume made of blue metal wire.

A.

Studio Dessuant Bone
Studio Dessuant Bone
Studio Dessuant Bone

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Jean-Francois D’Or | 10 QUESTIONS

Baroness O. Jean Francois d'Or

Belgium is Design – a joint venture between Design Flanders, Wallonia-Brussels Design Mode, MAD Brussels, Wallonia Invest & Export and Brussels Invest & Export – will once again highlight Belgian creativity during the Salone in Milan.  
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Designer of the Year Award, all previous and current designers of the year present their latest designs in a joint expo. The exhibition will highlight the specific characteristics of Belgian design, emphasising the original approach these 10 designers have in common. The prestigious Academia di Belle Arti di Brera is the perfect location to confront these designers with each other, and with the rich historic background of the building itself. 

One of the designers is Jean-Francois D’Or, designer of the year 2013. 

1. How would you describe what you do?
Every single day is an experience, it’s always interesting. In my designs, I try to focus on the relationship and dialogue between humans and objects: how does the object make people behave?
I don’t stick to one type of object, I want to have a look at all typologies and give my humble vision on it.
Every new function that I have to think about is a new adventure, just like a new book to open.

2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first?
I get up around 7am. The first thing I try to do is to keep my night’s dream last a little bit longer and start the day with a smile.

3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
I like to think that objects have to power to communicate and evoke emotion. So if my designs could evoke a positive emotion, that’s what keeps me going. I want people to smile when they use my designs, and I want them to be able to enjoy using them.

4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
I can find inspiration in plenty of things, and at any given moment. Daily life in general is an inspiration.  Human beings and how they act, can be an inspiration too. And off course history, literature, theatre music, movies … are all of great importance.

5. Which is your all time favourite design?
I have two: a silex stone that can cut deeper than a knife, and a soft flat stone which I found on a beach.

6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other creative calls?
Design is a very large field and of course it needs an evolution.
Everything is possible nevertheless we’ll need several lives…

7. Which piece of work would you consider your very own masterpiece?
I do not see my designs as masterpieces, but I think of them as common objects in an expressive form. I want my designs to be well made and to be functional, with an added emotional value. The objects have to be useful, but should also evoke an emotion in the viewer or user.

8. If you had a time machine, in what year would you be living?
It is frustrating to me that you are never able to catch the present, to truly experience the here an now. Once you think you get it, it has already past… So maybe if I could choose a time, it will be the present.

9. Cookies and milk, or chips and soda?
Sale e pepe!

10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
Keep it simple, keep going.

Baroness O. Jean Francois d'Or Baroness O. Jean Francois d'Or Baroness O. Jean Francois d'Or Baroness O. Jean Francois d'Or

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Nathalie Dewez | 10 QUESTIONS

Nathalie Dewez Baroness O.

Belgium is Design – a joint venture between Design Flanders, Wallonia-Brussels Design Mode, MAD Brussels, Wallonia Invest & Export and Brussels Invest & Export – will once again highlight Belgian creativity during the Salone in Milan.  
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Designer of the Year Award, all previous and current designers of the year present their latest designs in a joint expo. Confronting the Masters will highlight the specific characteristics of Belgian design, emphasising the original approach these 10 designers have in common. The prestigious Academia di Belle Arti di Brera is the perfect location to confront these designers with each other, and with the rich historic background of the building itself. 

One of the designers is Nathalie Dewez, designer of the year 2011. 

1. How would you describe what you do?
I design products and spaces, and products in spaces, with a special focus on light.
I love to work on different scales, combining both products and entire projects. In this equation I include the light itself as well as the solid structure that emits the light. For me both the solid and non-solid form are elements of the dimensions I play with.
Light can be emitted from a small object and create a monumental installation and vice versa. At the end, though, function is critical in all my work.  The end product has to satisfy the functional goals by using the solid form in magnifying the light, and this can be done at any scale.

2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first?
My days are always different and this is one thing I like about my job.
I work in my studio in Brussels, but I can also work from anywhere else: the design process follows you around all the time. Sometimes the moment when you’ll find the solution you are looking for for days, is not at all when you’re seated at your desk! Connections and ideas can appear in more relaxed moments: while cooking, driving  or even in your bed during this precious moment between sleep and awakening.
For the production of the projects, you work in the factories or studio where the pieces are made, but also on the telephone, in your car, while traveling… Today with our ‘super connexion’ to the world, work is not confined to a fixed office but follows you everywhere and I quite like that.

3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
I studied Interior Architecture in Brussels, at school we were working on space as well as on products. In 2000 – my fifth and last year – I could choose my subject and I decided to design a lamp. It was my first lamp, but definitely not my last.

Light is something that really influences our lives, our mood, our behaviour. When you enter a space you will behave very differently if you have a light source in front of you, focused on you than if it is indirectly focused on the ceiling. This relationship between light and space is very interesting for me.
Often, when I enter a public place like a restaurant or a bar, I will know if I will be comfortable there or not the minute I cross the door. Bad light can ruin my evening but it can also change it in a very good way.

Light and lamps have something magical as they have two lives: during the day the object is not used, while in the evening, when lit up, the lamp transforms itself and transforms the space around it.

I think it is really important to consider the formal aspect of the product as much as its functional aspect. Some desk lamps can be really efficient but so ugly that when it is not used you nearly want to hide it. I would rather try to design the product as a 3D volume that is confronted with the space and with us, more as a sculpture.

4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
My grand-father was a painter, and he also made sculptures, jewellery, furniture (for his home only), drawings, … My grandmother and him were probably the ones who made me see the things that surrounded me in a different way.
Once when I was in the cellar with my grandmother, she gave me a big ceramic isolator that was coming from a public electricity pole – I don’t know what the term is for this piece – that she probably found in the street, and I remember her telling me « isn’t it beautiful? ». They learned me to see beauty in unexpected places and this naturally influenced my work later on.

Actually I don’t really have design-related sources of inspiration: Calder, Elsworth Kelly, Panamarenko, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Takis, Buren, James Turrell, Yves Klein, Sol Le Witt, … Sculptors in general are very inspiring, and so is nature, and plenty of other things. I have lots of influences, but only few from design actually.

5. Which is your all time favorite design?
Hard to say… so many things I love!

6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other creative calls?
I will definitely, as my work can go from small products to big installations, including different materials, different contexts … I can find enough variety to not ever get tired of it!

7. Which piece of work would you consider your very own masterpiece?
I don’t really have a favorite project, I have to say. Each time I finish one, that one becomes my favorite. Until the next new project is finished off course. 

A project I really enjoyed doing however, was the design I made for the MUDAM Museum in 2011. It was an honor to design a lamp for such a prestigious and beautiful place, and it was a pleasure to work on it.
The Mudam contacted me in 2009 as they wanted new lamps for the big hall of the museum. The big hall has a huge glass roof and they wanted a lamp that was quite flexible in its position and in its lighting proposal.
The hall is the highest exhibition room of the museum and sometimes they have very big sculptures here, so the lamp needs to be pulled up. At other times, for events for example, the lamp can be more present in the hall, so it can hang lower. They also wanted different intensity of light.
To solve these issues, I proposed this big Balance lamp, made of inflatable lightings. With the glass roof we were not able to hang a very heavy fixture and thanks to the inflates I could also keep visual lightness by making a sphere of 3 meters of diameter without any building structure, quite translucent.
I worked with 3 different spheres, each of them had a specific fabric around them to work with the transparency during the day with daylight and during the night with the artificial light that the central sphere produced. There is also a possibility to dismantle the big sphere from the axe and counterweight to only keep the sphere and then lodging it in the toppoint of the glass roof. One of the main challenges of this project was to make an object that sometimes had to be at the center of the space and sometimes had to nearly disappear.

The collaborations were also great on this project: I used fabric that’s usually used for underwear (very resistant, great colors, interesting transparency) from a Belgian firm, and I also worked with a French firm based in Grenoble who made the inflates and sewed the fabric on the spheres, and eventually with an independent who makes theatre sets and who developed the engine to pull up the whole mobile.

8. If you had a time machine, in what year would you be living?
Now is not so bad, let’s see how it will evolve!

9. Cookies and milk, or chips and soda?
Cookies & milk definitely !

10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
One very important and unique point : the more personal you are in your work, the more universal you will be .

Nathalie Dewez Baroness O. Nathalie Dewez Baroness O. Nathalie Dewez Baroness O. Nathalie Dewez Baroness O. Nathalie Dewez Baroness O.

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Printed pieces | PISTA

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Pista is a limited unisex collection of 3 complementary pieces: a scarf, a backpack and socks. All pieces are designed in Barcelona and made in Spain. Emma Pardos and the photographers behind Las Coleccionistas collaborated on this colourful, playful collection.

All prints are based on original photographs, that are used in a different way on all products. The neatly organised objects seem unrelated at first, but acquire a new meaning once they’re put together and catalogued. Objects that seemed useless or discarded, or put to use again creating these patterns.

Different fabrics and finishes are combined: prints on silk scarves, a polyester backpack and knitted patterns for the socks. This mix of materials refers to the diversity and energy of city life, and shows how objects can adapt themselves to their use and their function.

H.

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Simple Stripes | PETIT BATEAU X KENTA MATSUSHIGE

PB2 Kenta Matsushige – a 26-year-old fashion designer from Japan – is next in line to launch his collaboration with Petit Bateau. As the winner of the 2014 Grand Prix du Jury Première Vision at the Hyères Festival, he was able to revisit the identity of the iconic French brand.
Petit Bateau lets young, promising designers have a look at their basics, making way for offbeat, creative, unconventional reinterpretations.

According to the jury, Matsushige’s knack for timeless designs, his attention to details and the sense of modernity that all his garments convey was what they were looking for in the winner of the competition. He brought new life to heritage colours and fabrics, while still creating a simple and sophisticated collection. True to his precise, minimal style, he reworked the classic stripes by superimposing other prints and he looked to the kimono to redefine classic shapes and cuts.

The collection by Kenta Matsushige will be available in a selection of Petit Bateau stores worldwide as from tomorrow, April 1st, and will also be for sale at the Villa Noailles during the 30th Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères.

H.

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Metallic Mermaids | SIX & FIVE STUDIO

SOMA+-+Six+&+Five3 Six & Five Studio is based in Buenos Aires,  Argentinia and founded by Andy Reisinger and Ezequiel Pini. For the release of fashion magazine website Catalogue they created some amazing pieces of 3D art.

The artwork has different distinguishing elements such as metallic tape, slabs of marble, pale psychedelic tiles and cork which are all combined to create a beautiful and surreal dimension. Everything is arranged in such an amazing way that it makes every element an evenly important part of the artwork.

You can see how the 3D artwork is used in the online magazine Catalogue under the lookbook called Mermaids. The entire lookbook is built around the concept of mermaids, combining video, 3D artwork, GIF, photography and patterns to create a crazy underwater fashion world.
Every image brings sometimes new to the look book with hues of blue, sheer metallic fabrics, models with fishhook scars, pearls, water bubbles and a very strange singing fish …

S.

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