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5 minutes in Milan with…Scholten & Baijings

We speed-chat with design duo Stefan Scholten & Carole Baijings who are launching three new pieces this year with Established & Sons.

By Jeanne Tan /asdf 15-04-2010

Scholten & Baijings for Established & Sons: Amsterdam Armoire; Yellow, Pink, White light; Tuna, Tree, Turtle Butte

So tell me what you've got on show here.
Stefan Scholten (SS): The Amsterdam Armoire, the Butte (travel cases) and new lights.

What's the concept of Amsterdam armoire?
Carole Baijings (CB): It started with a collaboration with the Zuiderzeemuseum where we could do whatever we liked. It's based on a Marken cabinet. (Marken is a traditional fishing village situated by the former Zuiderzee) Cabinets always related to the place in which they were made. At that time people made decorations on cabinets like with images of the bible or sometimes more erotic. What was shown a lot was what people earned money with, often flowers. Our wealth is our working method especially our atelier. The measurements of the new cabinet are based on a traditional cabinet. For the inside, we asked Maurice Scheltens & Liesbeth Abbenes to make new still life photography with our product models. The feet were always round, it was in wood before. We like them now in glass as well. We like the lightness they give.

What about the light?
SS: The idea was to create a coloured light. The light is very special: it's white, sprayed with craftsmen by hand to make this nice gradient. It's like the light is on while it's off. That's the concept.

And the storage boxes?
SS: Inspired by historical pieces from the 1700s. Originally they were used by fishermen as traveling cases. They kept their fishing gear and personal stuff in them. They were also bigger and the fishermen could sit on them while they were working. On the original cases there were drawings of whales and things they saw on their travels. We saw these pieces in the Zuiderzee museum and we wanted to redraw these images. We came up with stories about the extinction of tuna, turtles and trees (so red list stories) and the images have some relation to the animal or the tree. For example the eggs of turtles are collected by man as medicine for fertility. Trees are cut for wood, there's a chain saw pictured here. Woods are also cut to plant corn. It's about creating an awareness. We used bright colours inside to take away a little of the beige feeling of the wood.

What do you put in your boxes?
SS: Carole puts jewellery in hers.
CB: Stefan puts cookies in them!
SS: Carole gets really mad when I call them cookie boxes.

Why are they called Butte?
SS: It's the original Dutch word for these travel boxes.

What's it like to work with Established & Sons?
CB: It's a dream come true, very special. With our ideas and the way we work, we really fit well with the brand. They like our work and don't ask us to scale it down.
SS: They want the work exactly the way it is. We have the same way of expression.

What did you have for breakfast?
SS: Why do you want to know?!
CB: Um, I had a really nice pan-toasted sandwich made by Stefan.
SS: Carole has to eat Gluten free. I ate a panini with ham.

What do you like about this week in Milan?
CB: We really like that we have time to see everyone: all the Dutch meet each other in Milan!
SS It's quite a strange week: normally when we are working, we have to present ourselves. And here, we are presented by someone else.
CB: That's a really good feeling.

Portrait photography: Marie Pierre Morel

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