Five Questions For: Maarten de Ceulaer

Art.sy: What is your definition of design?

Maarten de Ceulaer: I see design as a medium with which to express a concept for a story; I want to communicate something to people. I want to think of their emotions or to get them excited or to make them daydream, or to make them wonder a little bit or to make that fantasy run loose. That’s actually how I look at my work. Sometimes it’s more functional, and sometimes it’s less functional.

Art.sy: What design object do you live with that you couldn’t live without?

MDC: I don’t have any design object that I live with. I can’t afford design [laughs]. Actually, I only have the first prototype of my suitcase piece because I didn’t want to sell it. That piece is standing next to my bed in my bedroom. That’s the only design piece I have in my house. All the rest is found objects from flea markets.

Art.sy: Can you share your favorite design book, periodical, or blog?

MDC: The best book is Sculpture Today from Phaidon. I took it out from the library and I kept postponing returning it. It’s really cool because you have a text about each of the artists, and I had the book on my breakfast table; I would read it and start Googling [the artist’s] work. It takes months before you’re done with that! So then I bought the book to have it for myself.

Art.sy: What is your favorite piece being exhibited at Design Miami/?

MDC: I saw some jewelry that I like a lot from Delfina Delettrez. There were some really fascinating things in there.

Art.sy: In your personal space(s), how do design objects and fine art relate?

MDC: You want to know where I put the boundary between what’s fine art and what’s design? I don’t like that boundary but it probably has to be that a fine art piece has no function at all, except to create an emotion for the viewer. Fine art is to be looked at and to be experienced, but not to be touched. And a piece of design is something that can be touched and can be at least used in some sort of way.

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Photo: Maarten de Ceulaer in his “Transformations” installation, presented by FENDI; courtesy of Daniele Venturelli.

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