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The Key Elements in Hervé Van Der Straeten DesignMonday 21 December 2015
CovetED had the opportunity to visit Hervé Van Der Straeten‘s Gallery in Paris’s artistic neighborhood Le Marais. Van Der Straeten showed us his brand new collection Emergence. Furniture, mirrors, and lighting fixtures composed his exhibition. This new collection attracted our attention with its ability to reunite innovation and simplicity. The French designer gave us a personal tour and answered some interesting questions about his work.
Hervé Van Der Straeten was born in 1965. Trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he made a name for himself as early as 1985 with his jewelry collections which were an immediate success.
CM: We are curious to know which kind of objects you prefer to design. And what is your favorite furniture in your gallery?
For me there is no preference in a particular object, my creations could be either a lamp or an earring, for example. Their only difference is the size, something that is repetitive in my work. My favorite design in the gallery is difficult to say but the Console Pipe Show is one of my most precious pieces.
As an independent designer Van Der Straeten’s creations in the realm of furniture, lighting and mirrors, currently his core activity, have brought him international recognition. His work combines a radical freedom of tone with workmanship of the utmost quality. Hybridity, elegance, and minimalism are the key elements to his approach.
CM: Some people say that you are an artist and a designer at the same time, what do you think about it?
I think that my pieces are somehow related with art because of their aesthetics, but I consider them only good quality design pieces and not art. This November, Van Der Straeten presents his tenth exhibition with Emergence, a collection of unique pieces and limited-series creations. The exquisite furniture, mirrors, and lighting will be on display at his Marais gallery until April of 2016.
A prevalent theme of this exhibit is the emergence of matter: pride of place goes to nature, be it mineral, vegetal or animal. The essence of the animal kingdom is apparent in soft suede, while parchment brings out the pilosity of flesh by giving it a distinctive depth.
One of Van Der Straeten’s new designs is the Kimono Armoire consisting of a patchwork of parchment whose varying tones highlight the geometric motive on doors which fold in on each other. Reminiscent of the pleats of a folded kimono, this piece in pertained coppered steel heralds another theme in Van Der Straeten’s exhibition – the emergence of form: an origami-style fold transforms a flat surface to bring volume. Using the same principle as automatic drawing, folded shapes develop like symbols of immediacy, revealing the designer’s sense of expression.
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A chandelier is comprised of a bronze ribbon encircling and suspending a polygonal block of luminous alabaster. Similarly, irregularly folded mirrors evoke the complexity of empirically composed forms that lead to the emergence of asymmetric volumes.
Light is trapped by the intricate folds of a blue anodized aluminum chandelier, whilst a mirror and a console born from a profusion of folded surfaces highlight an exhilarating experiment. Out of these investigations into form appear interlinking volumes which appear to take the rationale of deconstructed geometry to its apogee.
CM: We can tell that your new collection is influenced by Japanese art and elegant organic forms, where does the inspiration come from?
It’s true that I get inspiration from Japanese art and the simplicity of its forms for this new collection, but also the balance of these forms and materials. In the chandelier, for example, we can see that the plates are suspended in the air creating an interesting visual game, wondering how the balance is created. The most important is to create pieces that are simple to look at, even if the conceptions are almost all the time complicated.
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Entrusted to our bronze workshops and cabinetmakers, the production of these pieces underlines the care and attention and the demandingly high standards applied to these timeless creations, which are both innovate in their conceptual freedom and respectful of traditional techniques. Between the emergence of matter, in particular using natural materials, and the emergence of form, both folding and interlocking, Hervé Van der Straeten’s newest work is presented with a dynamic and multifaceted force of expression.
CM: Finally we would like to know your advice to the new generation of creators.
I may say at this age, everybody can take a 3D modeling program and design an object, but the most important part is to create this objet with passion and to be inspired by something, because it’s the only way that you will build your own signature. Also, you have to be very curious and open-minded.