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About Co.Studio

Co.Studio, founded in Antwerp in 1998, specialises in interior design and architecture with the associated product design. The designers aim for strong, timeless pieces with a sophisticated and detailed image, always reduced to their pure essence. This intention is encapsulated in every design created by the founders Christian van Suetendael and Gert van den Steen. By maintaining a continuous open and personal dialogue with their clients, CoStudio manages to identify the practical challenges of tomorrow. In a way of resolving these challenges, Co.Studio embeds within each space a convertible spectrum of potential functions—work, residence or leisure—pushing any space beyond its limitations and to its full potential.

Interview with Co.Studio

Co.Studio ("Co.Studio") interviewed on Tuesday, 20 March.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

Co.Studio : With over 20 years of experience, Antwerp based Co.Studio serves its clients in the conception and creation of pioneering architecture, timeless interior design, and high-end product design. The studio is lead by the design duo Gert Van den Steen and Christian Van Suetendael, founded in 1998 after they graduated from Henry Van De Velde Institute, Antwerp. Since then, they worked for private clients as well as they conducted projects for prominent real-estate companies in Belgium and abroad.

How did you become a designer?

Co.Studio : Driven by a strong sense of visual aesthetics and spatial purity, design duo and co-founders Gert Van den Steen and Christian Van Suetendael translate the architectural and environmental needs of their clients into the optimal balance between functional efficiency, spatial experience and emotional evocation. « We create spellbinding environments – through lines and light – that awaken the senses and evoke an innate feeling of comfort. »

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

Co.Studio : Our approach: « Everything starts with a good plan. »From the initial client consultation and those first lines drawn onto paper, up to the first steps into the created environment, Co.Studio maintains a keen sense for client-driven, innovative interior architecture and design.Whether working within an existing space or designing for a future project, Co.Studio emphasizes the importance of creating the right spatial experience and emotional evocation, specifically catered to each client’s unique requirements and history.Disruption: « We break apart, reshape and reassemble – innovating spatial planning. »In a society that is in permanent evolution, Co.Studio’s pioneering design theories motivate clients’ perspectives to evolve as well. Co.Studio reshapes a given space by fragmenting it into organically interwoven units, maximizing the available space’s luxury and convenience for each individual unit.Art Direction:« We write in images. »Co.Studio co-founders Gert Van Den Steen and Christian Van Suetendael spearhead a creative vision of modesty and purity, facilitating an evocative and inspiring spatial experience. Co.Studio safeguards it visionary designs and architectural quality, from initial design up to realization, by maintaining vigilant creative control throughout the whole process—ensuring even the smallest conceivable detail remains in synchronicity with the overall design. We use hand-drawn sketches, 2D blueprints, 3D visualisations and 3D printed or handcrafted scale models.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

Co.Studio : Breaking away from classical structural patterns, necessities evolve, thus so should your environment. We strive to constantly innovate and to deliver the ideal realisation of clients’ expectations and requirements. Maintaining a continuous open and personal dialogue with clients, this is what fulfills us most and brings us the most pleasure as designers.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

Co.Studio : We try to keep an open vision towards the world and what is happening around us. We are as much inspired by the work of an artist as by a ray of sunlight touching the raw structures of a building site. We are constantly inspired by everyday encounters as well by meeting people during far-away travels.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

Co.Studio : In a permanently evolving urban landscape, we wish to be the ideal partner for any project developer looking to push their property beyond its limitations and to its full potential. With an innovative approach, Co.Studio pushes the spatial and environmental assets of a property to their full potential, by reorganizing the available space into organically interwoven units. We strive to break down the frontiers and to work more on an international base, bringing our knowledge abroad.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

Co.Studio : As an advice to young designers, we would say: stamina and perseverence.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

Co.Studio : Always stay authentic and keep an open dialogue, as well as with the people you work with as with your clients you work for.

What is your day to day look like?

Co.Studio : Our daily routine is ever-changing, either you can find us at an early morning site visit, a meeting over lunch or an afternoon designing and sketching session. In between, we keep a close collaboration with our team overlooking the progress of all ongoing projects.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

Co.Studio : We do not follow trends. As designers, we have a clear image of the lightness and purity we want. If the existing possibilities do not respond to our needs, we design our own lines of high-end quality products. By doing this, Co.Studio showcases a strong understanding of our clients’ practical necessities, as well as safeguards our requirements for aesthetic purity and conceptual quality.By actively seeking out leading production and manufacturing companies with which to engage in constructive and productive collaborations, Co.Studio ensures flawless and immaculate materializations of all designs.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

Co.Studio : Our design language translates into timeless pieces that are always stripped back to their essence, freed from all superfluous elements. We aim for a strong design with a sophisticated and detailed image.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

Co.Studio : We evaluate, amongst other things: design quality, overall concept, the degree of innovativeness, choice of materials and technical and ecological aspects.

What is your biggest design work?

Co.Studio : We consider all of our projects as our best design, since we believe that every brief should be followed with an excellent design and execution.

Who is your favourite designer?

Co.Studio : We admire artists such as Panamarenko, Jan Fabre, Rinus Van de Velde and many more.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

Co.Studio : We are inspired by our hometown Antwerp, but also metropolitan cities like New York and Tokyo. The difference of lifestyle and society provides a flow of new elements to our design thinking.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

Co.Studio : Over the years, we surrounded ourselves with fellow architects and interior architects, who under our leadership, are responsible for the project management. The studio reflects a vocabulary of purist forms. This is made possible through our passion of working with a talented team, expert craftsmen and trusting clients and friends who believe in us.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

Co.Studio : We have a gallery space at our office, wich is a showcase for art, design and architecture and where we invite young artists and our manufacturing partners to present their work. It is an inspirational place where we share our love for beautiful objects and where people can meet.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

Co.Studio : The A'Design Award gave us the opportunity to showcase our design to a broad audience. We think design competitions are important since it is important to get acknowledgment for your hard work.

Co.Studio Profile

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Andrew Faucet design by Co.Studio

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