Sebastiaan used to live right around the corner from me when we were kids. Years later, in 2013, we met up again at a lifestyle show in Knokke-Heist, where I first came across Seba’s carbon-fibre chairs. And noticed how every visitor to the stand would pick up one of those featherweight gems with a look of sheer amazement and admiration on their face.
And that was when I realised that my years of searching were finally over: the boy next door I grew up with was the guy I’d been looking for all along. A designer who could create unique chandeliers for my lighting universe. Seba, if you can make chairs like that, then you can also design decorative lighting in carbon fibre...
We brainstormed about light, light values and lighting compositions for hours on end. I out- lined what I wanted from Seba and then gave him a completely free hand to think, create and work. He would spend hours in his studio and it was just fascinating to watch him grappling with massive spheres of carbon fibre.
But the end result was a magnificent collection of about thirty hand-made lamps and chan- deliers crafted in carbon fibre. That would become our prêt à porter collection.
Then things started moving very quickly. The pieces we selected for the World Expo in Milan in 2015 marked a turning point: we blew away the entire architectural community with our decorative lighting made of carbon fibre. But we knew we could do even better. That guy certainly makes you dream.
Seba’s next challenge was to design the world’s largest chandelier for a luxury shopping mall in a huge building in Antwerp. Guinness Book of Records: check! On the back of that, we won commissions to design chandeliers for ten carefully selected architectural projects scattered around the globe, ranging from an enormous staircase to an Oriental pavilion. The possibilities seemed endless for us.
And now we’re bringing our story to you:
the biggest, most exclusive, most unique chandelier sculptures in the world. Thanks to the combined efforts of two boyhood pals.
My first creation was a suspended bath in polyester, followed by a collection of designer furniture in a composite material. Then I discovered carbon fibre, and that called for a total rethink: high-tech had to go artisan.
I spent the next two years on a quest, researching and constantly experimenting with var- ious technological processes and different types of carbon fibre. It was pure trial and error.
I travelled all over the globe, from Italy to Japan, looking for the world’s top carbon-fibre manufacturers. Getting hold of the quantities I needed as an artist wasn’t a problem, but tracking down the specific product I wanted was tougher than I expected. It turned out the kind of carbon fibre I was after was used exclusively in the space industry – and kept firmly under wraps in Europe! But the manufacturer really bought into my dreams and ideas and I managed to import my precious carbon fibre to Belgium, despite the Japanese govern- ment’s draconian regulations.
The result was a range of furniture, chairs and tables that received international acclaim in the interior design world.
And then a face from the past turned up. Tom had been exhibiting his decorative lighting at the world’s most prestigious shows for years and already had many big-name clients. He too was constantly seeking unique beauty and set me a challenge: to create for him the ultimate chandelier in carbon fibre.
So the search was on again, and it would be another long and intensive quest. But my prêt à porter collection was eventually a resounding success. My wall and floor lighting, free- standing lamps and chandeliers took pride of place alongside Tom’s prestigious collections in crystal, glass, porcelain and wood.
A match made in heaven. He creates business; I connect ideas in decoration and design...
And I keep dreaming and exploring the boundaries. A chandelier that goes right through glass, 30 by 20 metres in size... The only limit is your own imagination. Try me.