- Art & Design
You can only achieve something by just doing it, says Arno Declercq. The young Belgian already knew that he wanted to design objects and furniture from a very young age. Additionally, he wants to make these things with his own hands, which only enhances the satisfaction he gets from his work and the conviction of the result.
Arno Declercq works mainly in wood, but also regularly makes objects in bronze. His interest in primitive art is reflected in his creations, yet the designer has completely developed his own formal language that will undoubtedly fit in just about any modern interior. Even though the designs usually consist of just one type of material and one color, they show an interesting dynamic. The tables, chairs, sofas and other furniture and design pieces are, according to us, already contemporary classics with a timeless look. Even though Declercq confided in us that he doesn't like to be in the spotlight himself too much, we would still like to bring him and his designs to your attention here. We were able ask him some questions about his career and what he still wants to achieve. Have you always wanted to become a designer?
‘I've always had the desire to design objects and furniture, but also to make them myself. My family consists mainly of self-employed people and I've seen here that you can pretty much only achieve something by 'just doing it'. To be handing everything down to someone, you first and foremost need a lot of money, but it will never end up being like how I develop a prototype now and finish it along the way.’
What role did design play in your early life?
‘I grew up in a family with parents who like to work with beautiful brands and objects. My father graduated from the Antwerp Fashion Academy, worked for Bikkembergs and set up his own fashion brands in the early 90s. He also collected primitive art for more than twenty years. My mother, who worked with my father from the beginning, bought a shoe store in 2010 where they sold brands like Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Maison Martin Margiela, ...’
'You can only achieve something by just doing it'
How did you turn this interest into a career?
‘With the interest in beauty that I learned from my parents, I went on to study interior design. After having learned a lot about materials and with a great knowledge of art history, despite having only been in college for a year, I started designing interiors and opened my own gallery for ethnographic art and design. After one year, I closed the gallery and started my own brand of finely finished objects and furniture which I launched in May 2017.’
What made you decide to develop your own collection?
‘When I started my own gallery, I found it very difficult to find brands and designs that fit my vision. For me, something was always missing in an interior. I also like to work with my hands, so this is the perfect match.’
What is the idea behind your furniture collection, what atmosphere do you want to radiate?
‘The idea is more of what I want to be able to put in my own home, make what I like to see. To be able to sell this or fill entire interiors with my thoughts would be the best thing there is. I love design classics and hope to bring the same with my pieces. To create something that can belong in many interiors and that turns out to be timeless.’ Describe your design and production process.
‘We don't work with a lot of technical drawings, I've learned that by processing your materials directly you get a better result much faster than with a 3D drawing. In our workshops you will only find sketches and small papers with dimensions written on them. The prototypes will always stay with us and will function as plans for the production.’
You are still young and already very successful, what feeling does that give you?
'I don't like being in the spotlight. I enjoy it mostly when I see my pieces on display at fairs like BRAFA and TEFAF or in my own gallery during Milan Design Week and when I stand among the fans and can hear how genuinely beautiful they think it is without knowing who I am. This satisfaction and the respect you get is priceless.'
Where do you want to go with your designs? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?
‘Because everything went very fast, I think more about how I can manage everything in the right direction than where I will be in so many years. Especially since these are uncertain times referring to the negative impact of the corona pandemic on the economy, Ed. for many companies. If everything can continue to grow as it is, I am already satisfied. I am a realistic person, make my calculations and see what the growth possibilities can be, both business-like and on a creative level. Step by step to the next phase. The more experience I gain, the more I can create. I have had no training in wood- and ironwork, I am completely self-educated and still learn every day. You can also see this evolution in my designs.’ This interview originally appeared in Imagicasa Autumn 2020. You can still order this issue from our webshop and read the full article on Arno Declercq.
Images courtesy of Arno Declercq