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10 May 2021
The Dutch designer tells us about his views on sustainability, the role of design in the creation of new production strategies and on the power of playfulness in design.
What is (if ther’s one) the fil rouge that links all your creations?
Playfulness links all my designs. They are conceptual and fun. On a formal side I use a lot of circles and stripes.
Can you tell us something about the story of the S.E.C. Easy Chair in the De Rosso Limited Edition Collection and your experience in collaborating with this brand?
In the mid nineties of the 20th Century, when I was still young and wild, Ettore Sottsass asked me to design a chair with a laminate he had designed. Only one of these chairs were made, which ended up in the Abet Lamination’s museum. Last year De Rosso contacted me, asking if they could produce that chair again. I agreed to do so, but this time with my design for patterns. I took some photo art works I made in 2006, named Tokyo Decoded, as a starting point. The rest is history. S.E.C. was born: Sottsass Easy Chair.
Your lamp Dandelion for Moooi transmits an explosive feeling of energy. What was it insprired by?
My dear friend Marcel Wanders asked me in the beginning of this century if I could design something for the brand he just started. He asked me to do something with laser cutting, which was at that time a new technique. The result is the dandelion, which merges nature and technology, and gives an interesting play of light and shadow, thus enriching every space.
What is your idea of the immediate future of the furniture sector?
As we all have noticed during the current crisis the home became very important, and going to the office became less important. So in the furniture industry you will see a shift from more technical office furniture, to more cosy warm domestic furniture.
What is, in your opinion, the most important challenge that design has to face right now?
The current Corona crisis is part of a much longer ongoing crisis the environmental crisis. The have to change the way we produce and consume. We need less but better products, which are longer lasting. We need more local produced goods, which is more sustainable. Europe is a very small part of the planet. In Asia the population is ten times bigger than in Europe. We have to make sure we stay independent, and work together. Design plays an important role in the creation of a sustainable, circular economy.
Please talk about your personal mission: to not design a single thing using plastic.
Sustainability is the key word in design nowadays. The planet is damaged by all the fossils we use, not only for fuel, but also for all kinds of chemicals such as plastic. These materials are the number one polluter and the cause of global warming. Next to that they are the main cause for all kinds of diseases, and they kill millions every year. This has to change. We need a poison free planet, and we have to stop global warming. Stopping the use of plastic, specially the single use plastic is a first step. Most plastic ends up in the ocean, and only 9% of all plastics gets recycled. That ha stop change.
Tell us something aboutyour plan to boycott plastic in your work.
It is very difficult to do so if not impossible. But everything starts with ambition. For example, all the paint used on metal is plastic. Plastic is everywhere. But I will do my best to promote recycled plastic, bio-plastic and I will try as much as I can not to use virgin plastic.
How important is the sense of an object’s longevity to you?
Very, very important. We need less but better products. One aspect of better is longevity. A product should be constructed in such a way, that it is long lasting, but it should also be designed in such a way that it is visual surviving for a long period. This does not have to be timeless, but when the essence of a product is culture and not a trend, it can last a very very long time.
Is there a creative that inspires you particularly at this time?
Boyan Slat is an inspiration, but there are too many, from Gerrit Rietveld to Leonardo da Vinci to Albert Einstein to Eduard Muybridge to… sorry I can’t stop.
What is your relationship with social media and how does it handle this aspect of your job?
Social media is a necessary evil. It is not my hobby. I prefer contact in real life.
Can you give us a preview of what you’re working on now?
Currently we are working on about 20 projects. Most of them are in Italy and Holland, but we also have some projects going on in China, India, Sweden and the UK. We mainly do products for the interior, varying from rugs to lights, to furniture, but also the interior of a restaurant. And I Art Direct 4 companies including CS rugs and Gispen, all from The Netherlands.
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