We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Mattice Boets ("MB").
Mattice Boets, an award-winning Belgian designer, gracefully weaves art and design through the use of state-of-the-art technology. Once extending his expertise to international clients across London, New York, and Paris, Mattice is now steering his creativity in a new direction. Having sharpened his skills through collaborations with luminary figures like Ross Lovegrove and Daniel Widrig, Mattice has transformed his focus into a singular vision – the creation of his own signature brand, 'Mattice Boets'. Mattice Boets is not merely a brand; it's an embodiment of Mattice's unique design philosophy, 'natural intelligence’. This concept blends the essence of the natural world with advanced technology, creating a harmonious balance between nature and design. Each piece is crafted to perfection, in which even the smallest detail isn't spared meticulous attention and refinement. The creations are more than just products; they are functional works of art, born from cutting-edge technology paired with artistic expression. These exquisite pieces have found their homes in select upscale design boutiques across the globe. The philosophy of 'natural intelligence' transcends the physical aspects of the creations. It signifies a devotion to refining each design to its inherent essence, uncovering its inevitable form. Sculpted through state-of-the-art technologies, these creations push the boundaries of the known and venture towards the truly significant. This approach positions Mattice Boets at the vanguard of the next generation of designers, pioneering a new paradigm in design. Born in Belgium, Mattice holds a Master of Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and a bachelor’s degree in industrial product design, magna cum laude, from the University of Applied Sciences Howest, Belgium. His team’s research, as part of the Material Architecture Lab, led by Daniel Widrig and Dr. Guan Lee, revolved around the cultivation and design of living material on an architectural scale, a first for the lab since its inception in 2004.
Mattice Boets Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Mattice Boets.
Designer Interview of Mattice Boets:
DI: 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?
MB : I’ve been in industrial, architectural, digital and fine arts related pursuits for the last six years, completing my award-winning high school graduation project in Industrial Arts in 2017. I discovered my passion for industrial design during my two years of studying Industrial Arts at Pikoh high school, Belgium. I’m currently studying Industrial Product Design at Howest in Kortrijk, Belgium to continue my pursuits in design. Prior to my two years of studying Industrial Arts at Pikoh high school, I also studied visual and architectural arts for two years. During this time period, I also attended the Academy For Fine Arts at Hasselt, Belgium as an additional study during four years. In this course, I came into contact with software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects for the first time. Apart from my studies in art and design-related disciplines, I have been raised in a very creative environment that was stimulated by my parents since birth. Drawing, painting, building landscapes, houses and other creations with Lego was my daily activity. This habit continued over the years and has evolved to a more design and digital-oriented way of creating. I would like to think of myself as a designer, but of what I don’t yet know. I’ve mostly designed products over the last four years, this is mainly due to my choice of studying product design rather than other disciplines such as architecture. I believe my upbringing and continued interest in art and design have eventually let me become a designer and creator.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MB : I'm currently not part of a company or design studio. I'm studying a 3-year bachelor’s degree in Industrial Product Design at the Howest University in Kortrijk, Belgium.
DI: What is "design" for you?
MB : For me, design is the creation of something with a deeper and relevant reason behind its existing. It’s about creating products that are different and of relevance through an instinctive and artistic approach to design.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MB : I enjoy designing products or objects that have a use and function besides their appealing aesthetics. This allows me to rethink its shape and use case, which may result in unusual yet practical designs.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MB : A very interesting design that continues to intrigue me is the Hu watch by Ross Lovegrove. The cylindrical base of the watch is slightly shifted towards the side, which makes for an unusual yet appealing aesthetic. Its overall design consists of a very minimalistic shape created through an organic design approach that results in what I believe to be a timeless creation that somehow connects to you on a deeper level.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MB : The first product I designed for a company was my own Ross Lovegrove inspired bottle opener design that was amongst the finalists in the Made Talent Lab competition. The bottle opener is currently in production by Made and will be available in July 2019.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MB : My favorite technology is 3d printing. It allows me to freely design just about anything and print it right away.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
MB : Creativity is most apparent when taking a ‘pause’ from reality. Focusing solely on the creation of a design in a quiet and peaceful space.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MB : It’s vital that the initial idea is great. This is for me the most essential part of my design process. Secondly, another part of the design process I believe is essential is the presentation of the final product. It’s the time you show your creation that you’ve worked long and hard on to other people. A great product or idea must be communicated properly so that others understand it with as few lines of text as possible.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MB : A calmness combined with an eagerness to create. My mind is at peace and solely focused on my current task, in turn, this results in a sometimes overwhelming amount of flowing ideas in which there is no time to put them all on a piece of paper. However, these emotions are most apparent during the initial ideation and creation of a concept.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MB : I have yet to realize a design in a professional context. My bottle opener design is currently in production by Made and will be available in July 2019. Inevitably, the realization of a design remains the end goal in the design process, only then a design is completely finished for me. I expect it to feel like the closing of an exciting first chapter.
DI: What makes a design successful?
MB : For me, a design is successful when it's proven to be at a high level in all elements of its design, has relevance in our world and is enjoyed by people all around the world.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MB : The feeling I get upon the first impression is important. I usually judge a design first based on whether the design is interesting or not and its overall look and feel.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MB : It is important to be aware of the environmental issues that are present. I believe making a design environmentally friendly is an essential part of the design process and shouldn’t be an afterthought. Furthermore, a design should have a positive impact on society.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MB : Everything seems to evolve into the digital world. With the use of AI, many designers and engineers are already experimenting with generative and procedural design methodologies. A breakthrough in the field of AI is inevitable. I expect to see this evolve towards a much higher level in which many elements of the design will be replaced by an AI system. I believe design will slowly shift towards art to form creations that truly have a place and use in our world, embody the personality of the creator and connect to people on an emotional level which AI may never be able to recreate.
DI: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MB : My last exhibition was at Kunsthumaniora Hasselt on May 31, 2018, in Hasselt, Belgium. During this exhibition, my award-winning high school graduation project called Sphere was displayed. In my next exhibition, I would like to show the designs that I’m currently working on once I’m satisfied with them.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MB : In my more recent work, I try to connect different elements of a design through a smooth transition that allows the design to become one coherent entity. This results in the design having a prominent personality that people seem to be frequently drawn to. I have been inspired by this idea of one coherent entity through nature. Everything nature has created consists of a coherent whole that makes sense and is visually not separated from several parts, but from a form that is connected to each other by smooth transitions. I believe to have the ability to see many designs and shapes in just about anything we are surrounded to. This can be the clouds, a rock, a painting, a plant, a leaf or just a piece of a leaf. However, I usually do not incorporate the shapes that I create through observation because it is important for me that the design and shape of a design have meaning, isn’t random and fit myself as a designer. Yet I believe they unconsciously affect the designs that I create and serve as a source of inspiration.
DI: 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?
MB : For me, it’s about creating products that are different and of relevance through an instinctive and artistic approach to design. I see myself as a designer whose work is characterized by minimalism, fluid and organic shapes and innovation. I like to believe that my designs carry a sense of personality and emotional connection. I get inspired through the observation of nature’s creations, primarily the fluid organic forms, its logic and its way of reducing to the fundamentals. I’m in the process of learning more about what my design style really is. I have yet to be able to put the underlying reason behind my creations in a detailed description as I’m not yet sure of it myself.
DI: 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?
MB : I was born in Hasselt, Belgium and currently still live there for two days in the week. The remainder of the week I live in Kortrijk, Belgium to be able to attend my studies at Howest University. The country I live in greatly affects the designs I create. If I were to live in a more southern country I expect to be focused more on the practicality of a design and use of materials. As a designer, you adapt to your environment and this influences the designs you make. Fortunately, most European countries and large parts of other countries have a similar approach to design and therefore my designs are usually appreciated by the people living there. However, because I’m surrounded by similar environments I do not often get in touch with different cultures and their approach to design.
DI: How do you work with companies?
MB : I’m usually the designer that generates ideas and develops the design from start to finish. Sometimes it will be in the design style of the company and at other times in my own design style. But so far, I've had limited experience working with companies from the beginning of a project to the end.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MB : Good communication between the designer and the company is extremely important. A very clear set of goals and needs to the designer is invaluable. Selection should consider the designers own design style to match with the company's. It would be ideal if the company's vision and its values also match that of the designer.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MB : “Can the existing design be different?” This is the simple question I ask myself at the beginning of creating a new design. This usually results in a change in the way a product works or is executed which becomes the basis upon which I start my design. Sometimes the resulting basis is a result of existing ideas, thoughts, my surroundings, and environment or inspirations. After I have established the basis of what direction I would like the design to go towards I will start thinking about its shape. Sometimes I already have a clear idea of a possible concept and I will sketch it on paper to see if it’s a good solution I’m satisfied with. When I do not have a clear idea in my mind of a possible design, I start by quickly sketching multiple shapes and forms with a black ink pen on standard white paper. I specifically use an ink pen so that you have to sketch at a certain pace and you aren’t able to erase anything. That stimulates you to draw quickly and generate a lot of ideas. I do this in an instinctive design approach, not let by conscious thought, but by feeling. During this process, the designs I sketch get let by what others may see as ‘my design style’, minimalistic, organic and innovative. In my more recent work, I try to connect different elements of a design through a smooth transition that allows the design to become one coherent entity. This results in the design having a prominent personality that people seem to be frequently drawn to. I have been inspired by this idea of one coherent entity through nature. Everything nature has created consists of a coherent whole that makes sense and is visually not separated from several parts, but from a form that is connected to each other by smooth transitions. I believe to have the ability to see many designs and shapes in just about anything we are surrounded to. This can be the clouds, a rock, a painting, a plant, a leaf or just a piece of a leaf. However, I usually do not incorporate the shapes that I create through observation because it is important for me that the design and shape of a design have meaning, isn’t random and fit myself as a designer. Yet I believe they unconsciously affect the designs that I create and serve as a source of inspiration.
DI: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MB : I love the design of the harman/kardon soundsticks speaker that I own. I've even placed the subwoofer on top of my desk instead of under it which decreases the quality of the sound, simply because its design is so intriguing and interesting. Another item that I admire is the Lamy pencil that I usually use to sketch my own designs. It has a minimalistic and well thought out design that stimulates me to make my own sketches better. The Setu chair from Herman Miller is a beautiful design and is surprisingly comfortable to sit on despite its lack of additional controls. I wouldn’t want to own a different office chair. Lastly, the Bonze stool by XO and designed by Philippe Starck is a beautiful addition to my home. Its artistic, unique and sculptural design adds more life to my space.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
MB : During the week I attend my school, Howest University in Kortrijk, Belgium. During the remainder of the time, my time is mostly spent on projects I’m working on for school. The majority of projects include designing a specific product from start to finish. My day usually consists of going to school, working on design projects for my school, myself or a company I’m working with. There isn’t much time left after that. When I do have time for myself, I work out, meditate or tinker with my 3D printer.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MB : I’m still a young designer myself who has a limited amount of experience and wisdom in the world of design. I would suggest to always stay true to who you are. Do not get caught up in the world and lives of others but instead design your own. It can get you a very long way.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MB : I believe being a designer is a wonderful job if that’s what you love doing and would do even if you weren’t paid. It’s a hobby made into a job. However, that also has its negatives. Free time you used to spend creating and designing things is now blend together with your job as a designer and therefore such moments won’t feel the same as they used to. Perhaps that’s a negative many designers are used to, but it certainly doesn’t have to be this way. Another negative that many of my family members and friends can speak to is the amount of continued work you have. There are no working hours, thoughts and ideas will keep popping up in your head no matter the time or place.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MB : Make something relevant that has this ‘extra’ element over existing designs.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
MB : Thinking differently and be optimistic. It allows you to think outside the box and to a level further than most designs are executed on. Additionally, being able to communicate your ideas is essential.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MB : I most often use software such as Photoshop, Siemens NX, and Keyshot. I’m also experimenting with software mainly used in the gaming industry such as terrain generating software and texture creation tools. Furthermore, I'm also experimenting with fractal and generative design software. I prefer brown tinted paper to sketch my concepts on since you can easily add reflections with a white pencil to quickly get a rendered sketch of your idea. I also think it creates a more tactile feeling because of the brown tinted and slightly textured paper. Additionally, it separates your sketches from your standard white paper. For prototyping, I use modeling in foam, 3d printing and hand layup techniques. I often get inspired by the creations and philosophies of designers and studios such as Ross Lovegrove, Shiro studio and Zaha Hadid.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MB : This is not one of my best skills. There are a lot of things that can change at any moment that will completely change your agenda. I’m working on a more balanced lifestyle.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MB : This varies greatly from project to project. The project I’ve worked the longest on was my high school graduation project called Sphere in Industrial Arts. The project was designed over a one-year period. This was mainly because of its complexity and the depth the design was executed on. On the other hand, the shortest project I’ve worked on from beginning to end was my Liquid table design that won a Bronze A’ Design Award in the 2018 – 2019 edition. The project took about a week. I quickly came to an idea of a table design, that I believed needed no further iterations and looked just right. It was the first and until now the only time that my first idea became the finished product without any changes to its design. It’s one of those rare moments.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MB : “What do you design?” is the question I get most asked. Well, I mostly design products. Works I’m most known for are my clock design called Reverse and my table design called Liquid
DI: What was your most important job experience?
MB : The most important job experience is my recent role as a designer for Made. After my bottle opener design was amongst the finalists in the Talent Lab competition by Made, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Made to further develop and manufacture it. The bottle opener will be available in July 2019.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
MB : I've had very few designs that were created in a professional context. Some concepts that I have designed were for companies such as Made, Polet, ID Punt, 30seven and Labonorm.
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MB : I prefer variation so my job as an industrial designer is ideal because, in my case, I must do everything from start to finish. From thinking about what you are going to make, to choosing what production methods will be used to realize the design. But, my favorite part of the design process is the creation of the design itself. This can be through methods such as visualizing the design in my mind, sketching it or physical and digital sculpting. Apart from the design process itself, I enjoy designing products or objects that have a use and function besides their appealing aesthetics. This allows me to rethink its shape based on its use case, which may result in unusual yet practical designs.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MB : The next thing on my list is to find a designer, studio or company that fits well with my own approach to design and perform my internship with them next year.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MB : I develop everything myself. I prefer variation, so it’s an ideal position for me. However, in the future, a team that is able to assist me would allow me to focus on the most important tasks in the creation of my designs.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MB : I’m currently working on a few exciting projects. One of which is a vase design, a simple yet very complex object to design well. I believe the current design I’m working on matches very well with my own design style and personality. I believe it will be a design that many people can appreciate. It’s a modern design, created through an artistic approach that looks pure and elegant and isn’t overwhelming or looks like ‘another vase design’.Another project is an analog watch design. It’s based on the concept of my previous clock design, Reverse. However, it’s not Reverse put into a watch but in a more refined and refreshing way. Only the concept of the reversed hands remains. Lastly, a project that is still in the early stages but looks promising is a portable Bluetooth speaker design. It’s somewhat in the same style as the vase design I’m working on. Simply put, it’s not another Bluetooth speaker design but one that looks very different and is surprisingly practical to use.
DI: How can people contact you?
MB : On my website, you can find all my contact information with links to my Instagram page where I share my latest creations, my LinkedIn page, email address, and other information. My preferred contact method is by email. My website is:https://www.matticeboets.com/
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MB : Thank you for your interest in me and my work.