Interview with the renowned Belgian interior designer

Trade Fair BAU ONLINE: Maxime De Campenaere on inspiration in interior design and the fascination of the ceramic tile collection Craft

The renowned interior designer Maxime De Campenaere loves the authenticity of ceramic tiles. He likes to use the material in unconventional ways, such as in his first furniture series. In the interview, the Belgian also explains what films like Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick have to do with his work and why it was a good thing that he first wanted to become a cook, gardener or florist.

Mr. De Campenaere, why did you become an interior designer?
Already as a small child I was very inquisitive. I looked at houses in the neighbourhood and noted the progress of construction. When I was about six, I was already drawing my first "blueprints". At the same time, I helped my parents in the kitchen and in the garden. Especially when guests came. The ambience should be right and everyone should feel comfortable. At the age of 12, I thought about what profession I should take up later. The choices were cook, gardener and florist. But the more time passed, the clearer it became: I want to become an interior designer. Here I can combine all my interests.

What do you draw inspiration from?
I'm fascinated by films in which the set plays an important part. Like Clockwork Orange or Shining by Stanley Kubrick, Io sono l'Amore by Lucas Guadagnino or Playtime by Jacques Tatie. I am also an extensive collector of material samples. We practically drown in material samples in the studio (laughs), but they are an important source of inspiration for me. Just like the numerous photos I take on my travels, they awaken associations and encourage me to play with colours. I do this particularly well in Milan, by the way, where I study the beautiful palazzi entrances with their mix of materials and patterns.

What distinguishes your work?
Competence, a great dedication to each individual project and a touch of humour. We work in many different areas with the most diverse budgets, schedules and also technical frameworks. And that is exactly what has a positive effect on our work. I don't want to commit myself to one particular field of expertise. That would be too boring for me, and then, boring interior design would also be the result.

You design spaces in the areas of hospitality, living and working. Are the requirements changing there at the moment?
The three areas will certainly always differ in terms of technical regulations and specifications, but recently we have noticed that the boundaries are becoming blurred. For example, we no longer design offices as strictly and delimited as we used to. The domestic feel-good factor that many are now familiar with from the home office is now also being transferred to offices. Our latest office project is the best proof of how work structures are being broken up. More than 50 per cent of the space is reserved solely for staff communication. Ideas are exchanged casually on a sofa or at a kitchen island.

What has been your most challenging project so far?
Every project is a challenge in itself, but in terms of budget and schedule, BeCentral was certainly particularly demanding. Currently the largest digital campus in Europe, it is located in Brussels Central Station, and we were initially commissioned to design an area of 60 square metres. In the meantime, it has become nine design concepts for 6,500 square metres. We only had two years to do it and less than €400 per square metre - for all the work including furniture.

What task would be particularly appealing to you?
I would like to realize more projects in the hotel and gastronomy sector. I would also like to work abroad and in cooperation with the local craftsmen there. It's always exciting to see which materials are used in the respective country and what craftsmanship is required. So it's the famous looking beyond one's own nose that drives me.

Speaking of materials: What do you appreciate about ceramic tiles?
Ceramic tiles are extremely versatile and available in many different designs. With them, I can work out different aesthetic solutions and still meet all the demands of functionality at the same time. On the one hand, they stand for authenticity, on the other hand, they bring dynamism to my designs. For example, I create a vintage touch or deliberately create contrasts, as recently with the Craft series in a private residential project.

The Craft collection of Agrob Buchtal is a very primal, archaic tile series.
That's right. I discovered the series at our local tile dealer and was immediately fascinated by the high-gloss glazes, the impressive visual depth and the lively play of colours. I was sure that the series would inspire me to create a very special design concept. I just had to wait for the right project. The aforementioned private residential project then was the perfect opportunity.

In which way?
We had the task of designing two bathrooms and definitely wanted to create a warm and cosy atmosphere for the parents and a fresh, stimulating mood for the children. At the same time, we needed a bracket to connect the two rooms in terms of design. Craft was the perfect solution for this project. We used the series in the parents' bathroom in the colour golden yellow flamed, in combination with black fittings, accessories and a black and white floor covering. In this way, a perfect balance between contemporary design and vintage feeling was achieved. For the children's bathroom, we chose the colour blue-green flamed - because of its fresh, lively impression. We had the frame of the shower partition painted red, deliberately creating a contrast. The mirror in the shape of an eye is custom-made and brings a playful note to the design with a wink.

In the private sector, tiles are preferably used in the bathroom or kitchen. Which potential do you see for tiles?
Ceramic tiles are, as I mentioned, a very versatile, expressive and flexible material for me. I always like to try out new things. For example, I'm currently working on my first furniture series and will also use tiles there.

Contact data Maxime De Campenaere Interior Design Studio
Atelier:  30 Avenue Jean Volders 1060 Brüssel, Belgium
Phone: 0032 2 899 03 27
Mobile:  0032 494 857 339
Instagram: @maximedecampenaere
Website: www.maximedecampenaere.com

Contact
Werner Ziegelmeier (Head of Public Relations)
Phone: +49 (0)9435 391-3379
Mobile: +49 (0)160 90527159
Fax: +49 (0)9435 391-303379
Email: werner.ziegelmeier@deutsche-steinzeug.de

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Source: Maxime De Campenaere

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Maxime De Campenaere, interior designer
Source: Maxime De Campenaere

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Maxime de Campenaere effectively used the Craft collection in the parents' bathroom. The color golden yellow mottled creates a warm atmosphere and at the same time sets quiet charms.
Source: Maxime De Campenaere

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Subtle play with light, shadow and reflection thanks to the glossy glazes of the Craft series.
Source: Maxime De Campenaere

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In the children's bathroom, Craft conveys freshness. As a counterpoint to the mottled blue-green color, Maxime De Campenaere had the shower partition framed in red.
Source: Maxime De Campenaere

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Lively play of colors: blue-green flamed (ceramic wall tiles of the series Craft), red (frame of the shower partition) and orange (shelves in the built-in wardrobe).
Source: agrob-buchtal.de / Riikka Kantinkoski

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Cocktail bar "Bardem" in Helsinki: ceramic tiles from the Craft collection as an architectural statement and stylistically appropriate component of the deliberately discreet interior design.
Source: agrob-buchtal.de / Riikka Kantinkoski

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Perfect color harmony: curtain-like wall decoration (above), bench (below) and, as a link between them, ceramic tiles from the Craft series. They are produced by long-term firing in a traditional tunnel kiln and give the tiles a very special character.
Source: Hotel Ottilia

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"Ottilia" in Copenhagen: In this luxury boutique hotel in former buildings of the world-famous Carlsberg brewery Tile, ceramic tiles from the Craft series were used in all sanitary areas of the more than 150 guest rooms. The classic slat format charmingly rhythmizes the surfaces.
Source: Hotel Ottilia

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The authentic character of the Craft collection is also convincing in the exciting dialogue with other materials, such as concrete, glass and metal.
Source: Agrob Buchtal GmbH / Marcel van der Burg, Amsterdam

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Restaurant "Octave" in Antwerp: The eye-catcher in this exquisite gastronomic establishment is the elongated bar (right half of the picture), which is clad with ceramic tiles from the Craft series.
Source: Agrob Buchtal GmbH / Marcel van der Burg, Amsterdam

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The so-called "double-tip tile” of the Craft collection from close up: The sculptural shape creates an imposing 3D effect, which is skillfully emphasized by light sources from above.