When the crown price of Holland was getting married, the country marked the occasion in different ways, most notably with design interpretations.
Commissioning Edward van Vliet was Bijenkorf, Amsterdam’s largest department store, which marked the occasion by displaying the designer’s interpretation of a throne in the form of two modern armchairs.
The armchairs are light in color with touches of gold metal as befits any monarch; yet amusing and appropriate for royalty that is relaxed in its pomp and circumstance.
What one comes away with is van Vliet’s ability to add a heightened regal sense without it being overwhelming to all his designs. He is inspired by oriental motifs, and that what is rich in color and material.
He started his career as a textile designer and his work has evolved to include product and interior design. His fabrics have a perceptible allure and, like psychedelic optical illusions, draw viewers in visually to the patterns gone wild on his work.
Yet there is something controlled about his design prints. His prints on fabrics feature a carefully-controlled coordination of color, earning him the title of “King of Color back home.
Van Vliet produces designs and fabrics for a variety of companies whom he creates lines for such as Coco-Mat, Omarowen and Moroso. He is also commissioned to add his designs and interpretations to both public and luxury spaces in hotel restaurants, hostels and hotel interiors.
His real love is for hotel interior design”because it includes lighting, carpets and furniture, he said, which allows him to play with all the necessary elements of creating a room, executing his vision in full.
But his designs for a 500-bed youth hostel clearly show that van Vliet can add panache to any project or setting. It need not be high end to look high end.
His work has him traveling around the world, with projects from Malawi to Japan. His extensive travels are evident in his designs of chandeliers with gold baubles, and modern-day oriental lanterns. Inspired by the Koi Carp, a fish considered sacred in Japan, van Vliet developed the Sushi furniture collection for the Italian brand Moroso.
Inspired by the notion of selecting layers and liberally playing with color choices and shapes, the Sushi Collection is composed of fabrics with geometric prints, circles, flowers and the Koi Carp.
Reusing the basic design patterns in different color choices, the concept of furnishing becomes one in which the customer interacts more with the pieces.
“I think it’s nice to make a selection of different pieces maybe in the same fabrics, to have it come together in a nice way or choose very different materials so it can also be extreme in a way, said van Vliet. The Koi Carp repeatedly swims amongst these patterns.
Van Vliet adds to the playful concept by creating variously sized circular units which he has named “doughnut pouffes and cushions shaped as balls.
“Because I didn’t want a [regular shaped] pillow which I felt would be too much, the balls are fun and highly functional, repeated in larger sizes to serve as a seating unit on the floor.
His patterns for the Sushi Collection were also applied to carpets, and a print similar in spirit to one in the collection was replicated on a lighting unit that cuts the pattern into metal sheeting forming the lampshade.
Called the Rontonton, its black, gold and red colors point to van Vliet’s love for the color red, thought he was slightly surprised to consider the recurrence of the color in his work when prompted.
Van Vliet’s designs of lampshades – such as the crystal chandelier made of 25,000 Swarovski crystals made for the Macau Towers, and his gold Royal Bombombola chandelier for the brand of Quasar – are all about luxurious materials and opulence.
Van Vliet’s work encompasses so much creativity, offering Egyptians something in common with the local taste and furniture culture. Yet van Vliet offers it in a more relevant sense appropriate for our daily lives, with a fresh interpretation of old as being very modern.
Art of Form opened its showroom on June 6 at Designopolis, the new furniture strip mall on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road. The sprawling store brings together high-end furniture brands from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands all under one roof.