When Modern Meets Play-Doh: The Maarten Baas Story


The great site Three Layer Cake has just put up a very interesting interview with Maarten Baas, a designer from the Netherlands who is close to the legal limit of vowels allowed in one’s last name. Baas’ design work is fantastic, with most of his pieces (he does a lot of furniture) looking very modern, but also like they were made of clay or melted rubber. It’s really interesting stuff, to say the least. And what does he have to say for himself? Well, he’s both very casual and a little vague about everything: “There is not a real design process…I just start making it” and “Design doesn’t play a role in my life.” So there’s a lot of that in there. But the interesting thing here is how he, the hot-shot designer, works with Bas den Herder, the guy who puts all of his work out into the world. To get you started, here’s some:

There is not a real design process, like I never draw. I just start making it. Maarten Baas is still a very young company. Bas and I have only known each other for two years. So there’s not a really regular thing to say about how we work. But generally you can say like for the Clay Furniture, I felt like I wanted to make some pieces of furniture with the clay we had, and so I asked Bas “I have a technical problem here, how would you manage it?” And he has a team of people and they worked on the technical side.
So, generally, I do design and we help each other. Everybody comes up with ideas and we direct it. I come up with the idea and the prototype and we develop it together, at least that’s how it went with the clay furniture. But with the Smoke Furniture and Treasure furniture, these were developed before I knew Bas. But in general, you could say Bas does the practical things and I do the ideas, the layout of exhibitions. And there, it’s more that I come up with the idea and Bas fills in the idea.