Dries Otten studio specialises in interior architecture, scenography & furniture design. The studio is based in Antwerp, Belgium. Dries is known for his commitment to colour and an ability to design playful joinery. Much of which you can see in the projects featured below.
If you are in Antwerp, Dries is currently working on some new prototypes which will be available to view at vensterantwerp.be from the 19th of July - 25th
I have admired Dries' work from a far for a while now so am very pleased he was able to take part in the makers series.
Explore more of his work here,
How important do you think your working and home environment are to you? ... for example is the work you make reflected in your personal space?
The work I make is continually evolving. When I look around me I can recognise fragments, details that have inspired me to create new interiors and objects. So far, I never had the chance to create my personal, ultimate living or working space. If this were to happen I doubt it would appear as a static design and I hope it would be an easily adaptable and flexible space.
What do you think has informed your personal aesthetic?
Cultural and artistic history are very important references in my work.
I like early geometric artists a lot. I tend to look especially at Belgian (and Dutch) artists like Georges Vantongeloo, Victor Servranckx, Theo Van Doesburg, Rietveld and Mondriaan of course. Architects like Huib Hoste, Victor Bourgeois, Louis Herman de Koninck, Mallet Stevens, Gaston Eysselinck… And later on designers like Emiel Veranneman and Pieter de Bruyne. And of course Sottsass and Gio Ponti.
There is always a simplicity in a way in their work.
Do you collect anything/ have a favourite object?
I love chairs and I buy quite a lot of them. Never new ones. Only rarely do I buy furniture of famous designers. Most often I buy loners and weirdos.
I love road maps, records and record players, books …
Are you coveting anything particular at the moment?
I wouldn’t mind finding my affordable dream house with a nice workshop.
What is your opinion on taste and style?
I don’t think designing is about taste. For me designing is working hard and finding solutions while doing so. I still believe that for every design question there is one ultimate design solution.
Are you interested in trends, both in and out of your field?
Interior design and furniture design has changed a lot and trends are passing by faster than ever. As a professional designer, it is my duty to have my radar open for social and cultural tendencies and trends however trends are an easy trap, I will always try to search for the archetype (with a twist).
Do you have a dream project or client?
I wouldn’t mind designing a seaside holiday home. In Puglia or in the Cote Azur for example. But having an aperitivo with Jonathan Richman in front of a fisherman’s shed and sardines on the BBQ would even be better!
Do you have a project that was a turning point in finding your creative path?
I try to take a next step in every new project.
I created a lot of freedom for myself as a designer by doing my first exhibition designs. Afterwards I became a professional designer in the few years I worked at B-architecten. When I started my own design company projects like Permeke, Auwergemvaart, Horst and Buchbar were very important to me.
How important is collaboration to you?
I tend to think in dialogues. In most cases my clients are my first sparring partners in this dialogue. But also the communication and feedback of my girlfriend, Emma Thyssen, and collaborators is very important.
I’m not sure if I’m the best person to function in a design team. Maybe I’m too polite in a design conversation which results in compromises.
Where is your favourite place to be?
There are some places where you could come and search for me when I’ve disappeared. Places where I have been dreaming of a different life. In Greece in the Peloponnesus and Amorgos. Salento in Italy… France always puts me in a romantic and melancholic mood.
But any where I’m having a nice meal, good wine and time to spend with my girlfriend and friends, I tend to get the feeling that everything is going to be OK!
Form, function or fantasy?
The closest I get to fantasy is bad humor, especially in my work.
Function is always the basis for my commissioned work. But when I can play in my workshop to create personal work, form is mostly the starting point ... or bad jokes!
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Pictured above are some interior images of Huib Hoste's work. The building belongs to artist Hervé Martijn and it houses his studio. www.hervemartijn.com
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Pieter de Bruyne