Netherlands, People –
Designer SUSANNE DE GRAEF is obsessed with capturing movement and shape with light
AT HER STUDIO IN EINDHOVEN, interior product designer Susanne de Graef is constantly experimenting with furniture, lighting and accessories inspired by architectural fashion and the natural phenomena of light.
Product designer and studio owner Susanne de Graef:
New possibilities and combinations lead to design questions that I ask myself: could I give light movement – how do I compose, mount or shape light? The result is innovative design with a feel of craft; shapes of surprising, playful and inviting lighting designs, which express astonishment.”
Glint literally means ‘to produce small, bright flashes of light reflected from a surface’. The Glint Light Collection does exactly that; it reflects light on the two aluminum interlocking elements, with arms overlapping each other, covering the light source. A poetic play of light emerges, shattered by the intricately designed aluminum arms, diffusing the light onto the walls, floor and ceiling. What makes the anodized aluminum body special is that each colour has its own effect on the reflection of the lighting and gives the light its own intensity and quality.
The Colla Sofa Collection for Pode
Even a sofa in fabric can work light in many ways. de Graef created Colla for Dutch brand Pode as a “living hug” for your interior space – an oasis of cosiness with her trademark shape corners and detailing. The upholstery comes in a choice of fabric and colours, and the legs are finished in a beautiful lacquer or epoxy colour, depending on your choice.
A chat with interior product designer and studio owner
What inspired you to create this shape for Colla Sofa?Does nature inspire your work?
For this design I wanted to create a sofa that had the appearance of an embrace and feel like an embrace when you sit in it. The inspiration was born out of the sitting experience rather than something else.
Tell us something about the colours. Are they supposed to reflect this cold season?
The sofa is available in a lot of different colours and fabrics. It is up to the consumer which colour and fabric they choose what would fit their homes best.
Your designs are beautifully clean and simple. Do you prefer working with minimalist designs?
My work is very graphical. One of the things I find important in my designs is that the design is easy to understand. A product should not be too complex. So yes, clean and simple. I would not call it minimalist as the designs always have fine detailing.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I mainly enjoy working with materials like textile and light.
How do you sketch your ideas?
To create the designs I mostly make scale models. I design more like a sculptor by creating in 3D. I also sketch by hand and with a 2D or 3D design programme.
How do you relax after a hard day at work and what local Dutch food do you enjoy?
In my spare time I walk my dog, go horseback riding or meet up with friends for tea or drinks.
During the cold winters I enjoy eating homemade erwtensoep with rookworst – traditional split pea soup with Dutch sausage.”
Please tell us what Dutch Design can offer the world.
I would say innovation. The Netherlands is a very good environment to study, work and create/produce as a designer. For this reason, many people from all over the world come and study at our design schools. As Design is part of the culture there is a lot of freedom to create and design. Dutch Design offers answers to these new problems in a very broad way. Dutch Design is not only creating products but it could also be the design of services and other solutions for the new challenges we have to face because of climate change. Because of the conceptual approach to design, new techniques, materials, use of materials, new innovations, and designing of production techniques are always being discovered.
Story by Carol Kraal. Respective photographs courtesy of Studio Susanne de Graef, and Zetteler UK. Portrait feature photograph by Benning & Gladkova