Kristof De Bock

Professional in Furniture Design.

About Kristof De Bock

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Planck Coffee Table

Planck Coffee Table

Furniture Design

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Interview with Kristof De Bock

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?
I studied Interior Architecture in ‘De Bijloke’ in Gent. After these 4 years, I started my own stand construction company. There was too much energy in me to sit down most of the day while making plans, and the combination of designing stands and constructing them was perfect at that time. With time our company had the chance to work for museums. We have been building countless temporary exhibitions mostly in Belgium and France. The difference with stand construction is that the design is mend to display the piece of art whereas a stand should be visible from far. Spring 2018 is when I decided to start as an object designer. My first object -a floor lamp named Monday- won immediately gold in the International Design Awards. So we got encouraged to continue.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Dasein Products was founded in 2018. I had the urgent feeling that it was my time to start as a product designer. Hence the name Dasein Products which is a term from psychology that indicates a object/time relationship. Furthermore, each object we create is named with a time indication in it that reflects to the object.
What is "design" for you?
Design means to develop useful objects. That is the difference with art.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
Interior objects that are primo useful and secondo decorative like, chairs, lamps,… . Object that are above all mend to look good like vase are not my cup of tea.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Toshiyuki Kita’s Wink chair. I admire the way he added extra value to a lounge chair.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
Wood in all its forms. Whether it comes straight from a three or has been transformed in MDF, plywood or something else, it is always a warm, natural product.
When do you feel the most creative?
I have no idea. But I have to say that often ideas and solutions appear when I’m not thinking about the design. Cycling has helped a lot already.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Generally the first focus is on the form. How will the object stand or how will it serve the user better,… ; followed by the esthetics and looks. But I also think about sustainability during the whole process.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Highs and lows. I can by childishly happy when something works well but also very frustrated and down when things don’t go as wanted.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Happy -or I wouldn’t call it realized- but in the same time I always hope that others will like it also, so a bit nervous as well. No one likes to be laughed at, right?
What makes a design successful?
For me that is when an object has that little extra thing. I still remember the first time I saw a coffee table on wheels.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Well, in my case, I design for individuals, not for society. But of course during the process I keep sustainability and eco-friendliness in mind.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
3D printing will probably have a bigger impact in the future. A new method will evolve to a new way of thinking.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I usually have a couple of projects in my head that are not completely finished. And then, out of nowhere, I see the solution to finish the idea. In general this happens while doing something completely different.
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?
It is not a style, but I take one extra step back and question the traditional object. I try to look at the object with the eyes of an engineer (which I’m not) before I try to figure out the aesthetics. Furthermore I try to work as much as possible with warm, naturel products. The design magazine Yanko Design described our products as:’ ‘new-age’ aesthetic, but with familiar materials’.
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?
Born and raised in Belgium. Centre of Western Europe. But I don’t feel that makes a difference. What I do could well be done by someone in India or the United States. Gravity is universal, as well as natural materials.
How do you work with companies?
I have a past as woodworker. So there is some knowledge and I have most machinery. For other skills like metalworker or sewer, I contact others. As I have worked for exhibitions and Museums, I know quite some people with a keen eye for perfection. It is recommended to collaborate with individuals or small companies.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
Of course it starts with a basic idea that gets a visual form on paper. Then we start immediately with a prototype. During the first prototype, things become already clearer. Are the measures ok? Shouldn’t the button be elsewhere? Matt finish looks ok, but what about gloss? So we always make plural prototypes, exploring different options. The last prototype then comes to my house where me and my family see it every day for a couple of months. Till now, this always ended up in making at last a couple more modified copies.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
I only have 3. As mentioned before, I am a fan of Toshiyuki Kita’s Wink chair. Secondly, I’m really attached to my wood stove. I have one of Nestor Martin -the company doesn’t exist anymore- that has the perfect measures and that is orientable. And finally, our dining table. I made it myself and I’m not sure if it should be called design, but it is a big table where our household has had it’s best moments. A central place in house where we meet, eat and chare laughter.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
Positive is the fact that the designer can create new stuff and get paid for it! And it is more then just coming up with new objects. He has to check different possibilities, materials, colors, etc.. Usually there is also work for the publicity (like participating on awards). So all in all a varied work. Negative is that it is not that easy to always find new ideas. Just as it is not possible for musicians to write a hit again and again.
What skills are most important for a designer?
I guess that most designers have a variety of skills and that the combination of them does the job. Material knowledge is certainly one of them.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
The use of the computer is very limited. I hardly ever make a software drawing in advance, only technical drawings when the design is final. But I have a big workshop full with machinery and lots of different materials for the construction and the finishing touch.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
I always have some ideas in my head; sometimes for years. When all dots come together to finalize one of them and I start on the prototypes, it usually goes fast. In about 1 month we get it done. Then -as mentioned before- we keep the object at home and it get concluded after a couple of months.
What was your most important job experience?
Stand construction. It involves designing but in a way that it is fast to build with the best result. And it also involves serious out of the box thinking to solve problems, usually with limited time and materials.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
Product design. Spending a lot of time on 1 object just to get it perfect.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I would like to focus 100% on creating. So it would be ideal to find a business partner who would take care of further production, marketing and sales. That would be perfect. But it is imaginable that, as the sales start to raise, we will automatically land in a mechanism of production, sales and doing everything ourselves. So probably I will be managing people in the week and designing in the weekend.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Yes. I have developed a standing lamp named Surplace that is completely made of wood products. But I would also like to see an alternative in metal. We have made some 3D renders that can be found on our website, and I have to say that I like it a lot. So if some metalworker feels called, don’t hesitate!

Extended Interview with Kristof De Bock

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I studied Interior Architecture in ‘De Bijloke’ in Gent. After these 4 years, I started working as a stand builder. For over 20 years I have been designing and constructing exhibition stands.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I like to create. Designing as well as building. While doing this one always has to think some steps ahead. And in the end you have something tangible.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
It is in my blood to create. I would love to make music as well, but I lack the skills.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I like to design constructions. I means that the way an object is composed interests me more than the color or the graphics on it.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
It must be hard to call me a design legend with a straight face. I think one should know his classics, keep his eyes open for new stuff and connect the dots.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I don’t know how to describe the difference between the two, but I know that when I see a real good design, it steals more of my time. I guess the definition would be different for most people. Maybe the best designs are more innovative and details are better studied.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
If people want your object and it makes them happy, your design has added value. People should invest because it makes life better.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would love to create a mountain bike. But obviously I would need help since I don’t know enough about aerodynamics or the best materials.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I want to design most interior furniture. But I only started designing two years ago, so I still have time for a sofa, chair, closet, etc..
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I like the Wink chair from Toshiyuki Kita. One of the first exercises we had when I was studying for interior architect was to make an ode to a designer that was appointed to us. Each one was assigned a different one. I had Kita; the only one nobody knew. So in the pre www-era, I had to direct to libraries and bookshops. One of the bookshop owners I met in Brussels know Toshiyuki Kita in person and informed me that he was coming to Brussels the next week. So I got to see him, but -as young, shy kids do, I kept my distance. Anyway, the Wink chair is a piece of furniture that is fully thought through of which I wish I designed it.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
Still proud of my first object. I wanted to make a career switch from stand constructor to product designer and Monday was my first design. To know how it would be valued, I participated the IDA awards. Hopes for recognition where not high, but I won gold in category floor lamps.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
It is almost impossible to come up with a completely new mind blowing idea. Most designs are re-designs from an existing object. That is why it is important to keep your eyes open and learn from existing stuff everywhere; also from nature.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I have been studying for interior architect, but my second choice was history. So I might have been a teacher.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I think it is important to take 3 steps back, question every aspect and redefine the starting point.
How do you think designers should present their work?
The importance of good presentation is generally underestimated. For young designers it might be expensive. Contact a good photographer and take your time for it. Keep promoting and try to start your own community with soul like-minded people.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
Currently I’m working on a chair and a standing lamp. Hope to finish shortly and I would like to do a sofa in the near future.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I would like to see more respect for the products nature has to offer and that have worked fine in the past and I would like to see handcraft skills more appreciated.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
Technology will give design a new drift; then there will be a small throwback to the past.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
I always have some ideas in my head; sometimes for years. When all dots come together to finalize one of them and I start on the prototypes, it usually goes fast. In about 1 month we get it done. Then -as mentioned before- we keep the object at home and it get concluded after a couple of months.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology is limited to CNC cutters, or other computer controlled machinery.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
The sad truth is that I was the last batch in school without learning about cad drawing. My knowledge is limited but I don’t feel the need to learn about it. Most ideas get there first form by a ballpoint on paper.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
I work with natural materials and I like to show their beauty. Treatment is limited varnish or things to preserve it better; very limited painting. Natural products gives a warm ambient. But we do pay much attention to the color of the natural products and the combination.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I like to work alone. In the beginning I wanted help in figuring out the small details. Now I show my prototype to a limited group of people and let them comment and suggest.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
My father and my wife. I have to thank them for their honest, -yet supportive- comments.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
No doubt that should be a picture book as design is a visual aspect. But I can’t give a clear answer to this question.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
The natural color of the object. I like a place under the sun. Barcelona was super before mass tourism. Western cuisine. My MTB. My Dasein Products.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
Can be when an idea pups up. Can be when the object is finished. Can be when I win an award.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Not at all. I could have gone different ways. Teacher, handcraft worker, small business manager,… .
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
The same as always. Mankind will keep exploring. New inventions will lead to new trends, new wars, etc.. Children will be born, people will die.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I started as an object designer after a near burnout in 2018. I had been working to hard as a stand constructor and needed to break that circle. I had been walking with the idea of our Monday (my first design) for years but never found the time to make it. Spring that year I got overwhelmed by the urge that it would be now or never. If I wouldn’t make time, it wouldn’t get done -or worse- someone else would come up with the same idea. So I have put the time/object relationship in the name of my brand. Dasein Products is not simply a bad diversion of the word design. It is a term used in psychology and related disciplines. Furthermore each object we create has a time notification in its name referring to a it’s looks, the design process or the feeling it gave us.

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