My three nominees: Jean-François d’Or

We continue our focus on Belgian design nominees with the second installment of our interview series with up-and-coming local talent nominated by veterans in the field – part of a feature you can find in our September edition’s design special. Here, Jean-François d’O reveals his chosen three, followed by interviews with each of them.

Judicael Cornu


How would you best describe what you do?

My approach is based on user experience. I do large amounts of research and test the material a lot. For example I discover new functions by doing empirical research. There’s a laboratory aspect to my work and I want to advance things.

To date, what creation are you the proudest of and why?

I’m quite proud of the salad spinner I designed for Tupperware. It’s good aesthetically and very clean and simple visually, which was hard considering the complicated technical part.


What inspires you?

I get inspired by the most simple of objects. Something that really made me think was a trip to Myanmar, a military dictatorship. Industrially produced objects are very rare there. But the forms and functions are very pure, and the design in general was quite good formally.

What key moment or person would you attribute to you becoming a designer?

I’ve always built things, already as a kid. I didn’t have a TV and not many toys, so I started building my own at an early age. But I want to talk about a moment that was very important for me when it comes to my perception of design. During an internship in Canada I met Koen De Winter, who is an amazing teacher and designer. He gave me the chance to create ceramic pieces for his collection and taught me to see design from a different perspective: to not just think from object to object but develop a more global view and put everything into context. He showed me that design can have social and political implications, such as creating employment for example. I have made designs for Tupperware, which might seem very consumerist at first glance, but actually it has a social component when it comes to the distribution concept and all products are durable, with a guarantee of 40 years.

Judicael (29) graduated from Brussels La Cambre in 2008.



Damien Gernay

Damien Gernay 2013

How would you best describe what you do?

I studied design in a school that was very art-oriented. It was there that I realized that design is about so much more than just functionality. I really liked this conceptual approach, which is a lot less limited. At one point I even wanted to stop design completely and only make art. This mindset becomes evident in my objects, with which I try to tell a story. Functionality is more of a constraint. Accordingly I design objects that are more meant for design and art galleries than industrial production. My work is very experimental.

beam_tables_01 copy

What key moment or person would you attribute to you becoming a designer?

Already as a kid I was constantly building things. It was a bit of a natural development. It was clear that I would do something creative, and designer seemed like a good choice because it was still serious enough to reassure my parents.

To date, what creation are you the proudest of and why?

That’s the textured objects series, white pieces with faux bois painting. It is one of my first creations that stirred interest by galleries. And it made me realize that it was indeed possible to marry design and art.

 Damien (39) studied at ESA Saint Luc in Tournai and at Le Fresony in Tourcoing Cedex.

Frederique Ficheroulle

FXT19800B copy

How would you best describe what you do?

I am a product designer who likes to put emotions and sensitivity into his projects, giving them a personal touch in a way. When I begin working on a project I always start with some kind of emotional reflection, putting human beings at the center of it all.

As a designer working in Belgium today, what do you think is your main purpose?

I would say to promote the function of a designer as such, as well as encouraging collaborations with Belgian craftsmen, companies or industries. I love the dialogue with craftsmen and manufacturers, asking questions, trying to understand their work, their materials and tools with all their possibilities and limitations. At the same time it’s important to show what the plus of working with a designer is and what design as an occupation really is. Nowadays the word design is used wrongly everywhere.


What key moment or person would you attribute to you becoming a designer?

I was born and raised in a family of architects, graphic designers, photographers and gallerists, which is why the creative world is just the world I’ve always felt completely comfortable in. Plus, I’ve always been quite “handy” and curious about everything that surrounds me. But it was during my time at CAD that I really discovered the profession and completely fell for it, for example by talking with people such as Jean-Francois d’Or. It was then that I realized I could actually make a job out of this: my dream job!

FF_to seduce

To date, what creation are you the proudest of and why?

I cannot really one as my favourite, but there is one that really helped me understand what kind of designer I am. The project is called “To Seduce”, a theme we were given during our 3rd year at school.

My approach was not functional enough, but it expressed an emotion, and it felt right for me to continue in this direction. With the increase of design schools and technologies championing 3D designs and the like I was a bit afraid of how and where my place would be, but I realized then that it was ok to be a more “emotional” designer.

Frederique Ficheroulle (27) graduated in Interior Architecture & Design from Brussels’ College of Advertising and Design (CAD) in 2012.

Featured image, courtesy of Frederique Ficheroulle. All other images were provided by the respective designer.