Tuesday 20 Dec 2016
Although life only seems to speed up, and mass production has become the rule instead of the exception, some people start to realise that there is another way. With a great concern for nature, for ethnic groups and their traditions, and for true craftsmanship, young Belgian designer Sep Verboom tries to add another dimension to his designs, which he launches under the label ‘Livable’.
The Belgian furniture manufacturer Vincent Sheppard recognised many of their own values in the approach of Sep and his strive for transparent and durable design, and decided to support and guide him in the development of a new collection of honest furniture.
Vincent Sheppard is a manufacturing company from the Belgian region of West-Flanders, that has been designing and producing indoor and outdoor furniture since 1992. They are worldwide market leader in ‘Lloyd Loom’ furniture, a technique where Kraft paper is twisted around a thin metal wire. With the launch of Atelier N/7 in 2014, the company wanted to give young designers the chance to experiment with different materials as well. Rattan, wood, and metal have been playing a more prominent role in the designs of Vincent Sheppard ever since. Sep, who already had some experience with using rattan thanks to his earlier work in the Philippines, gladly took on the challenge to make this characteristic material the star of his new collection.
To be involved as closely as possible with the development of his new collection, Sep was present in Indonesia during the whole process. According to him, that is the only way of really creating an enriching interaction between the local producers and the designer, something the final result can only benefit from. By discussing new ideas and involving the local workers with the process, Sep also tries to challenge the local community to think further and to really grab the opportunity of getting useful experiences that they can keep on using afterwards.
The result of the cooperation between Sep Verboom and Vincent Sheppard was named AYA. It is a collection in which rattan is put centre stage, but is also combined with metal and in Belgium confected textiles in a surprisingly light manner. Rattan is not only a very flexible and rewarding material to work with, it is also very durable thanks to its rapid growth. It thus fits perfectly in Sep’s strive for transparent and durable design. For his Aya collection, Sep designed a lounge chair and a set of shelves.
The lounge chair is a light and airy combination of contemporary materials and has a back that immediately draws the attention. It consists of a creatively woven pattern in rattan that has been locally developed and is based on a manual technique that Sep got to know in a small Philippine community. De flowy manner in which the rattan arm rests are connected to the metal frame is beyond doubt innovative and attributes strongly to the visual and aesthetic aspect of the design.
The shelves are a playful interaction between the natural, warm rattan, and the industrial looking metal. Because of the graphical approach of the design, the shelves can be a natural but very modern touch in your interior. Their simplicity makes them very versatile products that could fulfill different roles in a home.
AYA is a collection that combines Indonesian craftsmanship with Belgian confection skills, and demonstrates a very creative and open mind. It resulted in an attractive and commercial set that clearly departed from the human and ecological aspects of design.
AYA lounge chair is currently exhibited during the 8Th Design triennial, HANDS ON, at the Design museum of Ghent. (19 Nov 2016 – 5 March 2017)
Shoot by Piet Albert Goethals