The Designers : Maarten De Ceulaer

27.11.2017 - Editorial board

Continuously exploring new materials and unconventional production techniques, Maarten De Ceulaer uses his work to tell stories and stir people’s emotions. To him, the functional aspects of the objects he creates are important but no more than the emotion they convey.

©Teri Romkey - Maarten De Ceulaer - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

From which product do we know you? What's your best seller?

The project most people know me from would be my Suitcase Series. Over the years, the Suitcase Series has grown to be quite an extensive family of pieces that have regularly been shown in my gallery Nilufar in Milan, and all the fairs and exhibitions they’ve participated in, as well as plenty of museum shows. And recently Nilufar started collaborating with the Brussels-based Victor Hunt Gallery on the collection. So they definitely had the most exposure of all my work so far.

What is your favourite material to work with?

I do not have one favorite material to work with. Every idea asks for something different, and I love to explore the possibilities every time again. It's one of the most interesting parts of the process, choosing the right materials and colors to bring something to life! Also, with most projects, I don't produce the final items myself. I work with the company's' craftsmen for that. But the Mutation Series, for example, is a series I produce by hand from scratch, which is very satisfying. Creating this complex puzzle with the Mutation pieces is almost meditative for me. I also started working with ceramics since this year, and fell completely in love with it. It’s such a versatile medium, the possibilities are literally endless!

What product would you like to design?

I'm very much into lighting lately; there’s quite a few different projects in the pipeline. And I’ve been trying to come up with a simple, elegant wooden chair that nevertheless stands out for quite a while now. 

© Maarten De Ceulaer - Suitcases Series - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

Who is your design hero?

I don’t have one single design hero, I have many, for very diverse reasons. To name a few; Gio Ponti, Gaetano Pesce, Hans Wegner, Achille Castiglioni, Isamu Noguchi, Gino Sarfatti, Paavo Tynell, Ettore Sottsass, …

Best design shop in Belgium, both on- and offline?

I rarely visit design shops and don’t know many of them… From what I know I would say; offline Diito in Ixelles and online The Game.

Which Belgian restaurant or bar offers the best design experience?

In general I am not so into bars or restaurants with a ‘contemporary design’ vibe. I prefer bars with an authentic interior, ‘brown bars’ like Dairingman, or the beautiful art-deco feel in L’Archiduc. In the same way, I usually don’t care so much about the look of a restaurant, but more about the quality of the food. A good exception is Toukoul, an Ethiopian restaurant with an interesting interior.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration can come from so many different places; something you see on the street, in nature, while travelling. I like to see as much art as possible and often get inspired from it. But mostly, inspiration comes when I’m working with a material, playing around, testing its potential.

How do you picture yourself? Please send us a sketched self-portrait.

As I'm travelling this is a little difficult at the moment, and I'm a terrible sketcher anyway, sorry!

© Maarten De Ceulaer - Mutation Series - BELGIANBOUTIQUE

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