My three nominees: Marina Bautier

As part of our September edition’s design special, we asked five established Belgian designers – Marina Bautier, Sylvain Willenz, Xavier Lust, Jean-Francois d’Or and Muller Van Severen – to nominate emerging Belgian designers whose work, they believed, deserved a mention and a little nod. Here, and each day of the coming week, we publish a series of interviews with the nominated talents.

Kicking of the series are Marina Bautier’s three nominees:

Laura Greindl

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How would you describe what you do?

When making furniture I focus both on problem-solving and the product’s appearance. Plus, I want it to be comfortable and elegant.

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

My goal is to make elegant and functional furniture while supporting Belgian artisanal production.

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

I wouldn’t be here today without my mother. She was a carpenter and cabinetmaker and a big inspiration. While studying furniture design I got frustrated with having to hand over my drawings to other people, who would then build my ideas. I wanted to construct them myself, and thanks to my mother’s equipment I started doing that.

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

I really like my last project, the Fullmetal chair. It was quite a challenge to make a chair that is strong and comfortable out of thin metal. Plus, I’m obsessed with chairs. When I discover a new designer the first thing I do is to check out his chairs.

What are your inspirations?

I’m largely inspired by people I meet during my research processes such as other furniture makers, cabinetmakers, or ironworkers. At the moment I’m also quite into Brazilian modernist furniture, but that changes all the time.

Laura (28) studied Design Fundamentals at Central Tafe Perth, Australia as well as product design and interior architecture at the College of Advertising and Design in Brussels.

atelier365.be

 

Atelier Dialect 

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How would you best describe what you do?

We make a lot of custom-made furniture, such as big in-house libraries for example, but we also create objects and small furniture pieces where we can completely let ourselves go and don’t have to do any compromises. We work a lot with wood but are not afraid of other materials such as glass, metal or mirrors.

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

We try to make furniture that is both good and relevant and not really pay attention to trends. Our pieces are honest, well-made, and timeless. You shouldn’t just make a piece because you are able to make it. The furniture we specifically make for clients is usually quite subtle. It doesn’t have to stand out but instead lift up the room.

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

When we met we were both working as architects actually, in the same studio. We did one job together, building the furniture and counter for a kids shop, and it went so well that we decided we wanted to do more and start our own thing. We didn’t have a big plan and just take things as they come. 

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

We really like this side-table we did, for its simplicity and pure aesthetic. It got good reactions and also works commercially. We even found a label, which produces it now, and everyone is very enthusiastic about it. It was a very big step for us. We are also quite proud of our oak trestle, which is very basic, but is put together in a rather unique way. A good combo of functionality and simplicity.

What are you inspirations?

We are not really well-informed about what’s currently happening around us, but we read lots of books and look at other designers from 50 years ago, who are still relevant today and very inspiring.

Pieric (31) and Jonas (29) studied architecture and interior architecture in Antwerp.

atelierdialect.be

 

 

LeviSarha

©ClairePayen
©ClairePayen

How would you best describe what you do?

Originally we are trained in product and industrial design, but at one point we made our first furniture collection and felt very comfortable with it. We enjoy tackling new problems each time, which is why we like discovering new objects. For the moment we’re working on lamps. Our style is characterized by simplicity, honesty, and visible structures. What you see is what you get. And we like materials that are raw.

Why did you decide to work as a duo?

We studied at the same school in Switzerland, and after we graduated we got the idea to do something together. We did a test-run making furniture together for the Salone del Mobile in Milan. It all went really well and we decided to continue our collaboration.

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

Brussels is a great place to work as a designer. In Paris for example, design is too linked to fashion and there’s a very competitive atmosphere. Brussels is more casual and open, and everyone can find his or her place. As designers we want to make products that are intelligent and that people want to have in their homes. They should be timeless, easy to produce, affordable, and not produce much waste.

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

Sarha: I grew up in a family where design was omnipresent. My father is a graphic designer and there were interesting objects everywhere. The day I realised I could study design and be a designer for a living, I knew without a doubt that this was what I wanted to do.

Levi: Both my parents are architects and I wanted to do something creative. I got confronted with different artistic practices, and design was the one that spoke the most to me.

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

The shelves from our first collection. It is a very smart product: the construction is very sturdy but at the same time it is visually light. Plus, it consists of different modules and you can arrange it the way you want. It really represents everything we want to be.

Sarha Duquesne (26) and Levi Dethier (26) graduated from ECAL in product design in 2012 and 2013.

levisarha.com