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A CONVERSATION WITH MULLER VAN SEVEREN

THE FINE PRINT: How did Muller Van Severen originate as a project?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: It was Veerle Wenes [owner of the Valerie Traan gallery in Antwerp] who asked me [Fien Muller] to create something for the gallery. Hannes was not in the picture at that point. The idea of creating furniture hadn’t yet crossed our minds and only began to take shape when Hannes and I started discussing the possibilities. That’s when we started working together on this project.

THE FINE PRINT: How does furniture become art, and art become furniture?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: It’s the fine line between art and furniture that makes it so interesting for us. We are artists who create functional objects, so for us the link is easily made. What it comes down to is that people can see the art of an object when it’s not in use.

THE FINE PRINT: Can you describe your design process, from creative conception to the completion of a piece?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: It’s a different process every time. Sometimes an idea originates while driving the car, on our way to somewhere. Sometimes it becomes a true quest, we start drawing and make a 3D model in our studio. Proportions are adapted and colors are refined, then we take it to the welder etc.

THE FINE PRINT: You both have incredible bodies of work as solo artists. How is the meeting of your individual skills and interests manifested in Muller Van Severen?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: Our way of working has remained unchanged. We love creating expos, where we invent a world of our own. That’s also something we did already as individual artists. But now we always think about the functionality of objects as well. Not that this restricts our way of thinking. It liberates us, and we feel it opens up our view on the world.

THE FINE PRINT: You’ve mentioned Sol LeWitt as an influence. What draws you to minimalist forms?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: I believe it’s part of my DNA!

THE FINE PRINT: How does color play a role?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: Color plays a very important role. The choice of color, however, comes very naturally. We draw inspiration from our day-to-day life.

THE FINE PRINT: I’m curious, what is your opinion on Ikea, the hallmark of European furniture for the masses?

MULLER VAN SEVEREN: It’s an entirely different world with different principles. But we do think it’s interesting to conceptualize things that suit the needs of such a big audience. And we do believe IKEA succeeds in that from time to time.

Text by GRETA RAINBOW