MAARTEN BAAS: "MY SMOKE FURNITURE WAS
AN INSTANT SUCCESS"

| 5 comments

Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in the second part of our interview with Maarten Baas, the Dutch designer reflects on how his career has progressed since the burnt furniture he developed for his 2002 graduation project immediately brought him to the attention of the design world.

Smoke chair by Maarten Baas for Moooi
Smoke chair by Maarten Baas for Moooi

Baas' career was launched by the success of his Smoke chair, which he developed for his graduation show at Design Academy Eindhoven in 2002.

"That was quite an instant success," he says of the chair, which he created by singeing a second-hand piece of furniture with a blow torch and is now produced by Dutch design brand Moooi.

Smoke exhibition by Maarten Baas at Moss, New York
Smoke exhibition by Maarten Baas at Moss, New York

Baas continues: "In 2004, with Murray Moss [founder of design art company Moss] in New York, I made a solo show in which I did some design icons of the 20th century according to the Smoke principle - burning the furniture."

Clay furniture by Maarten Baas
Clay furniture by Maarten Baas

Baas describes his range of Clay furniture, which is created by hand-moulding a synthetic clay around a metal frame, as a "next step", before moving on to discuss his Real Time series of of video clocks.

Baas' video clocks include Analog Digital (above), in which a performer replicates a digital clock by painting over and wiping clean panels on a glass screen. His Sweeper Clock (below) features two men with brooms pushing lines of debris to form moving clock hands.

He also created a grandfather clock, in which an old man seems to draw the hands of the clock from inside.

"Actually, all the concepts are still developing and still running," he says. "Currently we're working with Carpenters Workshop Gallery to make a series of two clocks: a grandfather clock and a grandmother clock."

Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks by Maarten Baas, presented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery at Design Miami 2013
Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks by Maarten Baas, presented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery at Design Miami 2013

"As we speak, we are filming the grandmother clock. We are making a twelve-hour movie in which she is drawing the hands of the clock. In twelve hours time we should be finished."

Shooting for Maarten Baas' Grandmother Clock
Maarten Baas' Grandmother Clock being filmed at his studio

Although Baas has based his studio in the countryside outside of Eindhoven since 2009, he says that the city where he studied is still close to his heart.

"Eindhoven is a very industrial city, which makes it a very practical city," he explains. "There are a lot of production companies that support people that want to make something and I like the rock and roll style of Eindhoven. It's kind of rough and people have a lot of energy."

Maarten Baas
Maarten Baas. Copyright: Dezeen

"I didn't want to be part of the city that much anymore, so I went out of the city to the countryside. But still, if I come to Eindhoven I feel that energy of everything that is going on there and I really like that."

Dezeen and MINI World Tour: Eindhoven
Our MINI Paceman in Eindhoven

We drove around Eindhoven in our MINI Cooper S Paceman. The music in the movie is a track called Family Music by Eindhoven-based hip hop producer Y'Skid.

You can listen to more music by Y'Skid on Dezeen Music Project and watch more of our Dezeen and MINI World Tour movies here.

  • Jamie

    So since 2010 he has done three projects… Wow.

  • Tony

    I actually think it’s a bit refreshing to see him “only” having worked on three projects since 2010. There is a perceived need to constantly pump out work that seems to coincide with the acceleration of technology and all to often this produces mass quantities of shallow work.

    • rick

      You would have a point, if the work was (any) good. The burnt furniture was a brilliant idea and not easy to top. Everything after that was not even a fraction as good, that’s the problem.

      The main issue I have with his own designs (the burnt series is a concept on existing design), is that it simply lacks beauty. To me, children’s book drawing is not design and certainly in this case, not beautiful.

  • Beatrice

    Not just three projects! Why didn’t he mention the Chankley Bore series for Established and Sons?

    You remember the ones… Yeah?

  • H-J

    Topping that one brilliant idea might be the problem for the majority of the designers that finish the Design Academy in Eindhoven. They are able to push the boundaries of the profession while in school, surrounded by amazing facilities, world-class teachers and ambitious peers. But the moment they fly out in the real world it’s a different story for a lot of them, and it shows in their work only too often.