Designer Maarten Baptist has an affinity with food and coffee. He creates both delicate tabletop products and an extensive range of furniture.
Maarten develops icons for day-to-day activities, each with an elegant sense of presence. Often a tiny detail will be off-key, making his pieces charmingly different.
‘I try to keep a sense of wonder alive about the things around me and I translate that wonder into my products.’
Fresh yet organic shapes pervade his work, bringing each piece a feel of timelessness. In order to keep an open mind, Maarten established a studio where ‘anything can happen’, and decided against having his own private workshop. Instead, he collaborates with the craftsmen or industries that he considers fit a particular project’s needs.
Capitalising on the advantages this objectivity brings, he stretches the limits of the production process and encourages craftsmen to push their capabilities. Maarten stays closely involved throughout; he remarks jokingly "I am a designer, not a stylist".
A true perfectionist, he insists on a refined finish for all products, whether produced en masse or in a small edition.
"I make use of the fact that the smallest change can have a tremendous effect on the entire process."
Trusting his instincts, Maarten also launches products under his own label “Maarten Baptist”, because ‘some products should just exist’. Not that he would dismiss an opportunity to have his designs taken into production by another label: ‘I am open to any challenge or collaborative effort’ – which explains his vision of products what should exist.
With his steadily growing range of food related products, Maarten wants to challenge home cooks as well as baristas to experiment with food preparation and presentation, aiming to push the dinner table experience beyond taste. With his furniture he seeks to soothe small irritations around the house: not being able to comfortably watch tv while laying on the couch or a round table that feels awkward when pushed in a corner.
" A designer should create useful products for people. He serves people".
In addition to his practice, Maarten designed the interior of TIME out bar in Moscow and initiated and curated the exhibition No Windmills, Cows or Tulips (commissioned by the cities of Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Rotterdam about Dutch Design, 2008) which showed in Tokyo and Eindhoven. In 2010 he launched his gallery and online shop SSHHOOPP, where he sells his own products as well as the work of artists and designers he admires.
Graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven (department Man & Living – senior lecturer Gijs Bakker, director Li Edelkoort) with the widely recognised ‘Open air’ cutlery. Over the years his work has been featured in magazines and newspapers including Wallpaper, Forbes and the New York Times. Baptist also participates in international design events such as the Salone del Mobile, Dutch Design Week, ICFF New York, the Moscow Design Week, 100% Design Tokyo and his work has been exhibited around the world. His products are in the permanent collection of MOMA San Fransisco and Cooper Hewitt New York. In 2010 he was awarded a Red Dot Award for his Single Sofa.
Since 2012, Maarten has been teaching at MAFAD Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design. He is currently head of the department OBJECT which focuses on product and jewellery design.
Read the exclusive MAARTEN BAPTIST UNBOXED portrait & interview