Interview: Passion For Modern Concrete Furniture With James De Wulf
James De Wulf has been making and selling handmade concrete furniture for several years.He’s making concrete look sleek and modern and become known for his ability to fuse the most advanced concrete technology with beautiful, modern, and natural forms to create functional art.
Homedit: How about your background? How did you come to be a furniture designer?
James De Wulf: I stumbled into it. My father had me groomed to get into finance but I couldn’t stay awake in the office. I messed around with concrete a bit as a side project and fell in love with the material. That led me into furniture. I just follow my heart and for some reason I really really love proportion and design of dining tables.
Homedit: Why you chose concrete and not wood?
James De Wulf: The weight of it. It may be less practical from one point of view but I love the feel of it and am learning to use it’s characteristics to it’s benefit in furniture design.
Homedit: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
James De Wulf: I try to design from a place without fear or influences like money. Sometime I wake up in the middle of the night; sometimes I’m just in the mood and sketch for a few days straight; the night I got engaged to Annie I couldn’t sleep and designed the Engagement table. I just try to grab the inspirational moments when they come. I wouldn’t say I find it anywhere in particular. I also try not to look at too much other design so as not to over influence my own creativity. Recently however, I have been very affected by the work of Angelo Mangiarotti.
Homedit: Looking at your website and looking at the furniture that you design I noticed the Pin Pong table.How whould you describe it?
James De Wulf: The Ping Pong table is an achievement for me and my shop. We have pushed the limits of our mix and production procedures to produce an ultra thin, extremely strong, and flat surface. The design is an exercise in proportion using numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. The top is 1″ thick, the legs are 3″ thick and 8″ wide. The table is fun to play on. You can bang into it, play beer pong on it, leave it out in the snow and even stand on it. It also works nicely as a dining table.
Homedit: Some of your products are not made full from concrete.Can you talk a bit about the rest of materials used and why?
James De Wulf:I like metals a lot. Many of the bases I design are out of steel or stainless steel. I’m also now making lights out of steel and solid cast brass.
Homedit: If you weren’t making furniture, what would you be doing?
James De Wulf: Wishing I was making furniture.
Homedit: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?
James De Wulf: Frustrating is the occasional mean client, money woes, etc…. Rewards are plenty! Seeing a prototype come out of a form for the first time, working for nice clients that give me artistic freedom; and just generally being lucky enough to bring my designs to reality.
Homedit: What are your plans for the future?
James De Wulf: I am designing a series of pieces based on gravity joints and trying my best to push the envelope of what’s possible with my medium. I also intend to design more lighting and try to just in general up my design game.
Homedit: Tell us something unusual that happened in your career.
James De Wulf: Andre and Stephanie Agassi were the first to buy the Ping Pong dining table.
Homedit: What is your favorite book/magazine on design? How about your favorite site?
James De Wulf: Don’t have any
Homedit: What do you think of our site?
James De Wulf: Looks legit; I like your taste and am honored you like my work.