We asked Mae Engelgeer 5 burning questions. And she answered very honestly. Read here what she has to say about her recent work, our collaboration resulting in the rug En Suite and her future plans.
Mae, it’s so good to have a little chat with you in-between busy schedules. We saw some of your most recent work in Eindhoven, where it was a part of the ever developing Dutch Design Week. What development in textiles has stood out the most for you?
To be honest, I try not to pay too much attention to it. Of course I see and know what is going on but I try not to go and search for what others are doing. Spending only little time on what others are doing is a way of staying close to myself. One thing that did stand out to me is the three-dimensional factor of design that a lot of designers are exploring now. The combination of technology and craft. Involving machinery in your creativity without losing the craft in the process. You can see a lot of designers showing the manufacturing process in the product itself. A lot of open structures, and a shifting focus from 2D to 3D.
This is completely in line with the work you have shown in Eindhoven. The very first pieces of Engelgeer furniture! Who or what has inspired you to take this step?
The challenge of creating a three dimensional object with sheet materials triggered me instantly. When working with textiles, the transformation from 2D to 3D is something that I always incorporate. I work from flat to shape, while combining the right materials and colors in an exciting composition. In this case, the material I worked with wasn’t textile, but the process remains the same. That’s why I decided to keep the shapes as simple as possible, and focus on how I, as a designer, can show my signature in a new material: by approaching the material with an aesthetic eye and by making the right combinations.
If money and time would not be an issue at all, what would you want to work on next?
Actually, I would be doing exactly what I am doing now. I would continue to develop, to discover. I have an uninterrupted drive to enlarge my world with my own signature. To explore different areas, different markets with my own approach and to take my own work to yet another level. I would scale up and invest in creating my dream projects. That’s what I love doing the most. So that is what I would continue doing.
How would you describe your cooperation with Frankly Amsterdam? Where are we a match, where do we complement each other?
For me it was very good to hear what the future plans for Frankly Amsterdam are. The longing for internationalization is something we share. Holland is such a small place in that respect and, just like the work of Frankly, my work too has a growing international value. That is one thing. Where we réally found each other was our love of textile. It was evident from the start. The challenge for us both was to be open to something different. My process of experimentally working with textiles and the extremely applied way of working that Frankly has were essentially two worlds that we needed to bring a bit closer together. That is a fun and exciting process. And it is always nice to see the endresult of such a process being received so well. To me that means that we have succeeded in something together.
For my final question I wanted to ask you something I am cheekily curious about. Which one of your projects are you particularly proud of at the moment?
Ooh, that is a tough one. My most recent designs are very often my latest loves. That’s the way it goes, you finish one project and you are already half-way through the next. Your portfolio is merely a reflection of what you were doing, who you were at that point in your career. That is an ever-changing thing, so I am mostly proud of my most recent work. And every project for different reasons. For BLISS, I had permission to go wild. To find a new direction, and I surprised myself by doing so. For EN SUITE, the challenge was much more in making the product fully applicable, usable in the retail market. And we succeeded! With EN SUITE we also did beautiful things with colors, and managed to maintain our shared standard of high-quality really well. My project doing Art Direction in Japan was something that I’ve always wanted to do. New insights and new lessons learned and that is also something to be proud of. Every project has its charms. Then there are new projects in the making that I can not talk about, but fell in love with already. Also together with Frankly Amsterdam we have some great new things in store, that I am so very excited about.