My three nominees: Xavier Lust

“The designers I picked each convinced me with their works and their personal abilities to translate a concept into an object” says Xavier Lust about the three designers he chose to nominate. These and other nominations given by established designers can be found in the design special of our September edition.

Margot Thyssen

$title

How would you best describe what you do?

My creations are characterized by purity and harmony and oscillate somewhere between attention to detail and simplicity. I try to push the transparency of the material to its ultimate limits by using a special layering technique: while two layers are white, the middle one is colored, and after the heating process the color shines through.

 

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

Originally a graphic designer, I came into contact with porcelain about ten years ago. I was mesmerized by the colors, the transparency, and the sensitivity of the material. I had worked with clay before, which I also really liked. In 2008 I started to go to an art school for adults to learn more about ceramics. Already when I was a little kid, I handcrafted a lot of things. At the age of eight, I had made some woolen sweaters that were sold in a local textile shop. I had a very creative grandma, my uncle was a painter,… I grew up in an inspiring environment.

$title

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

I want to create beautiful things that people enjoy.

 

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

The twin bowls, which show a great balance between art and design. They are also produced with the multiple layers technique. In 2012 I received the Harry Van de Velde quality label for it and in 2013 they got selected for an exhibition by Design Flanders.

Margot (50), originally an educated graphic designer, graduated from Academie-Noord in Brasschaat in Ceramics Art & History in 2013.

margotthyssen.be

 

Benoit Deneufbourg

$title

How would you best describe what you do?

I design objects and furniture and also do interior design together with my partner, Kelly Claessens, who runs Brussels design store La Fabrika. My objects and projects usually have a sense of modesty, paired with a clear and evident design. I do both serial production and unique pieces, often for Belgian and international brands such as Another Country, Cremme, Interni Edition, and others. It’s important for me to follow all aspects of the production process, from the idea to the final product. While keeping my creations sober and simple, I try to bring a little piece of soul into the mix. They all have a certain formal unity to them and clean lines.

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

It’s important to listen to the needs of my clients and consumers. At the same time I want to be innovative by finding solutions that are both simple and efficient.

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

As a kid I was always building things, like huts in the forest for example, and borrowed my dad’s tools a lot. Later I watched my older cousin study architecture, and was fascinated by his models and projects. It’s thanks to him that I started studying architecture, but after two years I realized that I preferred drawing the little details, not the actual buildings, and I changed to interior design.

$title

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

That’d probably be Sticks. It is a very simple object and I really enjoyed developing it. On top of it, it sells well! I produced it myself for two years, and then Normann Copenhagen included it in its collection.

What are your inspirations?

I’m very interested in the production process and different techniques and machines. They often are the starting point for my projects. I’m also inspired by daily life and sometimes I see an object whose form inspires me to create something myself.

Benoit Deneufbourg (38) studied interior architecture at Saint-Luc Brussels, where he graduated in 2001.

benoitdeneufbourg.com

 

Unfold

$title

How woud you best describe what you do?

We develop projects, which investigate new ways of creating, manufacturing, financing and distributing in a changing context, a context where aspects of the pre-industrial craft economy, high tech industrial production methods and digital communication networks merge together. It’s an environment with a potential to shift power from industrial producers and those regulating infrastructure to the individual designer and the consumer. Most of our work is self-initiated and research-based, an approach we are also more and more applying in our client-work. A lot of our work also involves writing (essays, books, reviews), curating of exhibitions and consulting.

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

What is the role of the designer and how is it changing in a time when design and manufacturing become increasingly more digitalised? This question is essential for understanding our work. The Belgian context isn’t that important for us. We were both trained in the Netherlands and while Dries is Belgian, Claire is Dutch. The Dutch design tradition is quite evident in our work, but we really like working in Belgium and a certain Belgitude is definitely part of our way of working.

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

Dries: I grew up in a very creative family. My father is a graphic designer and silkscreen printer and making things was always part of our family life and engrained in our DNA. As a kid I wanted to become an inventor, which over the years naturally changed into becoming a designer.

Claire: For me it was a longer process, in which I also often rejected the idea of becoming a designer. I remember how I once told my design teacher that I wanted to design a new profession, a new type of designer. I guess that’s kind of what we’ve been doing for the last few years now.

$title

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

We are especially proud of keeping the studio very experimental and research-based. We don’t work that much towards an end product, but like to work on projects in the long-term and make them part of a larger narrative. We are very happy that this larger, overarching narrative is being recognized and valued.

What are your inspirations?

We draw a lot of inspiration from history, particularly the history of our design field and how the relations between design, craft, art and industry have changed over the years. We are also interested in the history of computer science. A lot of our work involves both looking into the past and into the future. At the moment we are digging into the history of spaceflight for a new project about the scent of the moon.

Claire Warnier (37) and Dries Verbruggen (35) both graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2002. Claire also received a Master of Arts at the University of Ghent in 2008.

unfold.be

Featured image courtesy of Unfold, all others were provided by the respective designer.