Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Age: 42 (Job). 55 (Gijs).
Studio location: Amsterdam.
Describe what you make: We refurbish 18th- and 19th-century cabinets and transform them through the expressive, gestural application of ultramatte paint that we make ourselves from pigments and casein glue. At first glance, the bare, antique cabinets don’t appear to be very distinctive, complicated, or high-end—more so generic archetypes—but if one wanted to recreate these cabinets today, they’d need to be a highly accomplished craftsman. After stripping each antique reliquary, we use the cabinet’s architecture to apply ornamental decorations that fit like a tailored suit.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: Our latest collection—but of course, every new collection is always more important to us than the last! With Collection III, which is currently on view at The Future Perfect’s townhouse gallery in the West Village, we have found that these cabinets are the things in which our individual qualities and styles have merged together in the best ways possible. We see so many possibilities for this work, and always say to each other “everything you can paint on a canvas can also be painted on a cabinet, and a cabinet has a purpose, whereas a painting is only there to be stared at.”
Describe the problem your work solves: Three-dimensional distribution of color. We do not see our work as problem-solving, as many problems cannot be solved by art. As Goethe said, “A poem is a kiss you give to the world, but children are not born from a kiss. The power of art is limited.” On the other hand, we also like Joseph Beuys, who stated that “beauty is an accompanying appearance of every human activity,” which means that ugly activities can never be fully human. Three-dimensional distribution of color is something Donald Judd dedicated a large part of his life to, as well. For example, he often referred to the distribution of color within the frescoes of Romanesque churches, which is something we strongly relate to in our own work.
Describe the project you are working on now: After completing Collection III for The Future Perfect, we’re working on two commissioned cabinets. One will incorporate a blueish-black marble imitation—a new motif in our work that we recently developed, and can be seen within our exhibition at The Future Perfect. The other one will likely house a trompe-l’œil painting in its interior, depicting a collection of phantasmagoric, decorative plates.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We’re thinking about a collection of cabinets with different kinds of (painted) animal skins like furs, feathers, and snakeskins.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Emerald green dark. Cadmium red light. Ultramarine blue. Yellow ochre. English red. Titanium white. Oxide black and Casein glue.
What you do when you’re not working: Watching the Revenant again.
Sources of creative envy: Josef Hoffmann.
The distraction you want to eliminate: We’re very focused.
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Atelier.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Light.