"When you try to separate art and design
you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets

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Studio Job founder Job Smeets looks back over his career to date and explains why sculpture is so important to his studio's work in this movie Dezeen filmed at Moooi's Unexpected Welcome exhibition in Milan. 

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Job Smeets, founder of Studio Job

"When we started [Studio Job], it was very simple: we wanted creative freedom," Smeets says.

"The only way to reach creative freedom was to design sculptures, because when you do a sculpture, each sculpture can be a unique piece. That's perfect. Not for economical reasons, but it's perfect for creation because every time you can start to design a new piece."

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Excavator by Studio Job

Smeets continues: "We started to sculpt pieces and cast them in bronze. As with plastic, with bronze you can make any shape you like. Plastic is for the industry and bronze is for the art world, but I thought: 'let's turn that issue into something beautiful and introduce sculpture into design'."

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Robber Baron cupboard by Studio Job

Studio Job's work straddles both the art and design worlds, but Smeets says he does not distinguish between the two.

"I really don't care," he says. "When you are trying to separate art from design, you are creating a ghetto, which is always a bad thing. Let's not have borders in creation."

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Paper furniture by Studio Job for Moooi

Studio Job has designed collections for Moooi since its range of paper furniture launched in 2007.

"The first thing you learn in Kindergarten is to work with paper," Smeets says of the collection. "So it's a very authentic approach."

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Gothic Chair by Studio Job for Moooi

Subsequent collections include a gothic chair made from plastic and a series of hand-painted furniture inspired by antique German designs, while Studio Job's latest pieces for Moooi's Unexpected Welcome collection include lamps shaped like upturned buckets.

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Altdeutsche Cabinet by Studio Job for Moooi

"Now we're sitting here in a total design environment, we have 35 or 40 products we did for Moooi on show here," Smeets says. "I'm a happy artist and a happy designer."

However, Smeets believes that the influence of sculpture is still apparent in these industrial pieces.

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Bucket lamp by Studio Job for Moooi

"In a way, the Moooi pieces are becoming a little bit more sculptural," he says. "If you look at the bucket lamp series, for instance, it's a mixture of wood, of paper, of brass. It's quite interesting."

He continues. "[Today], we are allowed to do s*** like that. Five years ago, if I came up with a bucket upside down on a wooden pedestal they would say, 'do it on your own, don't do it here'."

"I think that has to do with trust. We are getting old and people tend to trust you when you're over forty, no?"

"When you try to separate art and design you create a ghetto" - Job Smeets
Robber Baron coffee table by Studio Job

All the designs featured in the movie are by Studio Job. Photography by J.B. Mondino, R. Kot, K. Vrancken, A. Meewis, Groninger Museum, Moooi, Z33.

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