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Muller Van Severen

Belgium is Design – a joint venture between Design Flanders, Wallonia-Brussels Design Mode, MAD Brussels, Wallonia Invest & Export and Brussels Invest & Export – will once again highlight Belgian creativity during the Salone in Milan.  

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Designer of the Year Award, all previous and current designers of the year present their latest designs in a joint expo. The exhibition will highlight the specific characteristics of Belgian design, emphasising the original approach these 10 designers have in common. The prestigious Academia di Belle Arti di Brera is the perfect location to confront these designers with each other, and with the rich historic background of the building itself. 

One of the designers is Muller Van Severen, designer of the year 2015. 

1. How would you describe what you do?
We make functional objects, but we still look at those objects as if they were artworks. We both started as visual artists and haven’t changed the way we work: we look at a piece of furniture in the same way we look at our individual pieces of art. But off course we have to think about functionality and usability as well now.

2. At what time do you start your day and what’s the thing you do first?
We get up at 7am and start to work at 9am. But each day is different, almost none are the same. I quite like this variety: one day we’re designing in the atelier, the next we have a meeting, we draw, we travel abroad …

3. What is the reason you started doing what you do? What makes you so passionate about it?
We started this because we wanted to work together on a project. The point of departure for this particular undertaking was when gallery Valerie Traan asked us to ‘do something’ with art and design.
The whole process grew gradually; it was a spontaneous, organic following of events. We don’t have a particular strategy to follow, but we do have a big urge to create and make things, and to develop our own world. It’s just a coincidence that happens to have to do with furniture design. A collaboration between the two of us could have ended up totally different as well.

4. What or who is your source of inspiration?
We both have a background in visual arts, so that is off course a field that stays an enormous inspiration. But daily life can be a source of inspiration as well: a luscious garden, a well-built house, the colour of an aubergine, … Inspiration can be found behind every corner.

5. Which is your all time favorite design?
I’m a very big fan of the LL04 by Maarten Van Severen, Hannes’ father. To me, it’s a sculptural work of art, beautifully designed, very strong yet very sensitive. And it’s already very comfortable. It has everything a good piece of furniture needs.

6. Do you think you’ll keep walking down this path in the future or do you have other creative calls?
At the moment we but feel absolutely great doing what we do, so it would be great if we could continue like this a little bit longer.
At the moment we both feel as if nothing ever changed except for the medium we’re working with. We still work in the same way we used to when creating art, so it could be possible that we head back to our ateliers for other types of work.

7.Which piece do you consider your own masterpiece?
From our mutual projects, Installation S is very important to me. Still, my idea of my favourite or mot important piece change almost every month, I always have a different preference.

8. If you had a time machine, in what year would you be living?
I’m actually quite happy with the time we’re living in now, since we’re free to do what we want to and that’s something that makes me very happy.
On the other side, I would also like to go back some 20 years, so I could slow everything down a bit. Time passes by so quickly, even too quickly, and this often creates superficiality or a lack of interest.

9. Cookies and milk, or chips and soda?
Chips and soda.

10. If you could give yourself one single piece of advice before you started this adventure, what would it be?
Take all the time you need to grow, and try to keep enjoying the process of making and designing, because that’s where you can find happiness and joy in your work.