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Interview with Jati & Kebon Furniture

Home > Designer Interviews > Jati & Kebon Furniture

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Jati & Kebon Furniture (JKF) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Jati & Kebon Furniture by clicking here.

Interview with Jati & Kebon Furniture at Tuesday 17th of May 2022

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JKF: As a kid, I loved to build camps and toys. I was also constantly redesigning my bedroom, so probably it has always been a main interest. Currently I’m specialized in designing chairs for industrial production.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JKF: Mathias De Ferm is a small studio of two persons. Inhouse we do all the design on computer. Prototypes are made by specialists in the right technique. Their input during the prototyping phase is essential.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JKF: It means drawn. A word that is often used in the wrong context.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JKF: Chairs

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JKF: Thonet No. 14, achair made with a new (at the time) technique, unique, and industrially produced. Durable and made in large quantities from locally sourced wood. Even by today's standards, this is a very environmentally friendly design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JKF: A concrete barbecue

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JKF: Mathias is passionate about old-school production techniques like milling and cutting. New techniques like 3D printing are also very intriguing.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JKF: When I just finished a great new concept.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JKF: Technical feasibility

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JKF: All kinds of feelings; ecstasy, excitement, but also frustration and exhaustion...

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JKF: Pride, insecurity, and an overabundance of information about all the compromises that had to be made.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JKF: Original, functional, beautiful, long-lasting, and good sales figures.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JKF: The looks

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JKF: Making long-lasting, functional products.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JKF: Globalisation, more international, more custom made

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JKF: Prior to the corona pandemic, I didn't do exhibitions; my clients mostly do the exhibitions.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JKF: Nature, art, antique, technique

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
JKF: Form follows function. Contemporary and designed to last.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JKF: Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. We do have a big scene of great interior architects and a Flemish interior style. We have also a lot of outdoor furniture companies. The biggest disadvantage is that it is a small country. So the local client base is quite limited.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JKF: As close as possible. I like to give my opinion about all the details.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JKF: A portfolio is essential. I believe it is a good criterion to see if a designer works for the same clients on a regular basis. This means that other businesses like and respect this designer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JKF: There are two types of projects: client assignments and free work. Free work always begins with a brilliant idea that, after a day, appears to be quite stupid. The next step is to see if it is as unique as I believe. Then I start developing it as a concept.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JKF: - Kitchen knife, Japanese – custom made - Homemade cutting board - Custom 4 meter long table - Ribag lighting - Prototypes and first series of tables and chairs

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JKF: - Bringing kids to school by bike - Work - Running tour - Eat - Work - Cook - Kid time - Clean up kitchen and preparing the next day

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JKF: Don’t overinvest in prototyping tools. I see a lot of young people end-up as a carpenter, while their dream was becoming a designer. Build up a good relation with your clients. And, instead of focusing on the current big names, try to identify high-potential brands and grow with them.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JKF: - I can design what I would like to have in my house. - I’m over focused on what is not good in products.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JKF: If it’s easy, it already exists, you have to suffer and enjoy it.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JKF: Being an all-rounder, a designer does not only designs.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JKF: Solidworks, Corona rendering, 3D printing

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JKF: Put things into perspective, you don’t need to design 10 new chairs per year. Accept that it will be a slow process.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JKF: 1 year up to many

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JKF: I'd like something similar to what my competitor has. (Something I never make.)

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JKF: Having a booth at the interior fair in Kortrijk, Belgium at the beginning of my career.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JKF: Jati & Kebon Furniture, Joli, Röshults, Royal Botania, MiaCara

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JKF: Techniques and mechanics in design.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JKF: Becoming more international, reaching a more global audience.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JKF: Since recent, as a team.

FS: How can people contact you?
JKF: Email, phone or social media.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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