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Inspirational product design eMagazine

Impressions from Maarten Baas Lecture

Dutch designer Maarten Baas, surprisingly young and talented designer gave yesterday a lecture as part of the CASA09 design exhibition. In his lecture, Baas describes his work, influence and thoughts when working on new stuff. Here are my notes, enjoy!

 “We as human always look for symmetric forms, look at the table next to you – it has exactly 4 symmetric legs, same as the chair next to it, closet and any other men-creation object – everything is symmetric.  Only objects that are not symmetric are the ones that functionality drive it not to be symmetric, scissors for example …In nature forms are not symmetric and we appreciate it as it is and that influence lots of my works to create as it is a nice form and not symmetric as the audience expected”

Sculpt (2007)– “I just draw those objects freely without the cost involved taken in mind – otherwise it wasn’t possible to create such asymmetric object with 16 legs”

Hey Chair Be a Bookshelf (2005) – Another example how Baas see chairs as objects that can unit to become a bookshelf


“I strongly believe that we should recycle objects that already exist – that’s how I started my most famous work – Smoke Chair which was created as my graduation project at the Eindhoven Design Academy by buying a used chair for 50EU and made it famouse and expensive by design work only”.

Smoke Chair (2005) – produced in Baas garden, using the blowtorch to singe the surface of the timber and then quickly extinguishing it with water to prevent the flames taking hold. Afterwood the chair was covered with black leather.

One can understand this project by the fact that Smoke is sold at Unicahome, Moss and Dutch store VIVID and also a year after the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York ordered 200 Smoke Chairs.


Treasure (2005) – Built using waste from a furniture factory. Since they reproduce their furniture, they also reproduce the same kinds of waste. This makes it possible to copy the Treasure chair, as long as they keep on reproducing the same waste.


“Put all your effort in your believe, try to think and act freely without commercial concerns….when I created the Clay serious I put all my savings into it and didn’t know what to expect in Milan exhibition where it first displayed….lucky me it succeed and many people thought it’s brilliant”

 Clay (2006)


Standard Unique (2009) – derives from the concept of creating variations within
a mass produced context. using an archetypal dutch kitchen chair, Bass has created 5 patterns
for the hand sculpted chairs, with each chair being made up of 16 components. all the patterns
share common joining points so these component parts replicating cnc technology, can be
interchangeable. therefore, from the original patterns you can make hundreds of thousands
of variations. the result is a hand produced design using mass production.

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