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One year after he got his Masters in Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London in 2001, Sylvain Willenz opened his own design office in his hometown of Brussels. In the past eight years he’s worked with brands like Cappellini, Established & Sons, Hay and Tamawa, and has won a handful of awards, including two Red Dot Best of the Best Product Design Awards for his work with Freecom Mobile Drive.
What I particularly like about Willenz’s work is that even when it’s at its most technical it remains approachable, never intimidating. The simple, minimal forms and bright elementary colors are a friendly callback to the Bauhaus aesthetic. In fact, one of Willenz’s more recent pieces, the Folk rug, is right at home with Bauhaus textile designer Anni Albers’ bold geometrical patterns.
Designed for Chevalier Edition, the Folk rug “was born out of the desire to organize geometric forms while exploring colors and structure. The motifs clearly evoke and play with the idea of folk or traditional rugs in a deliberately simplified manner.” Willenz, who works mostly in lighting and furniture and has never before collaborated with a manufacturer on a textile or pattern said “the opportunity to work solely on a graphic level does not occur very often in my design office and when Chevalier Edition approached me for this collaboration the assignment was certainly appealing. The exploration of two-dimensional forms became, without a doubt, most liberating and I truly enjoyed this exercise.”