Let’s talk design with Jeroen Thys Van den Audenaerde
For us, designer Jeroen Thys Van den Audenaerde is the creative genius behind the Loire and Montreal sofa. For the world, he is also the creative director of the Van Marcke Group, the founder of Open Studio, and a freelance design professional. With more than 20 years of experience, he emanates interior architecture. We asked him to tell us what inspires him as a furniture design expert.

What do you think makes furniture design good?

"A good design has a clear function, resolves an expectation, and is elegant in design. This usually also makes it timeless. I think a design that is solely based on aesthetics is gratuitous. It’s not the design, but the idea behind the design that’s most important to me. That kind of conceptual thinking is my strength. In my mind, furniture doesn’t need to be really fashionable, it should go beyond fashion. The proportions often affect this. The golden ratio is always a success. I also prefer to opt for high-quality materials and well-thought-out details that support the basic idea.”

"In my mind, furniture doesn’t need to be really fashionable, it should go beyond fashion."

Jeroen Thys Van den Audenaerde

Where do you get your inspiration?

"It usually starts with a design briefing… what piece of furniture, target group, price class, sector, features, and so on. The more defined the briefing, the easier it is for me to discover a starting point for my design. I look at the world with an open mind, so I find inspiration everywhere… shapes, situations, customer questions, travel, colours, art, architecture, car design, and so on. etc. I keep those images in my head and make use of them when designing."

"For example, the environment inspired me for the Loire cabinet. The Recor Home design studio is one of the old industrial buildings with iconic steel windows. I funnelled that idea into a beautiful display cabinet with a rural character."

Is this also the Recor design you’re most proud of?

"Well, I like all of my designs within their design briefing. I only have one daughter, but I suppose the question is like asking who’s your favourite child. But, if I have to choose one, it’s the Montreal armchair. That’s because the design harmonises best with my personal style, with who I am… I’m inspired by modern buildings with cylindrical designs alternating with rectangular designs. Round designs symbolise the soft, feminine side. Hence the pillow. The harder, masculine side has a sleeker design."

Have you seen evolutions in furniture design throughout your career? 

"Yes and no. When it comes down to it, everything starts with a white piece of paper and a nice concept. It’s the designer’s knowledge, talent, and experience that go into the design. New technologies, such as 3D printing and software only makes it easier."

"Of course, these tools also considerably speed up the design process. In the past, we might take two or three years to build a collection. Today, experimenting goes much more smoothly. And, it’s also nice for the customer to immediately see a 3D design of a drawing or artificial scale model."

"The downside is the impermanence. For example, each year at the Milan interior expo, we see the latest prototypes that we find out later don’t even make it to production. I don’t want to be part of that type of design work."

door Jeroen Thys Van Den Audenaerde
Jeroen was born in Mechelen, in 1973. He studied 'Interior Design' at the 'Sint-Lukas' College in Brussels and after his studies worked for Bulo. Later he taught Furniture Design at the Lessius College in Mechelen. Jeroen designs for, among others, Recor Group, Barth Design Furniture, Van Marcke and Open Studio.

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