Maarten Baas

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Maarten Baas (born 19 February 1978 in Arnsberg, West Germany) is a Dutch designer.


From 1979, Baas grew up in Burgh-Haamstede and Hemmen in the southwest and the central region of the Netherlands. Once graduating from high school, he began studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 1996. Still in school, his first design, candleholder “Knuckle”, was taken in for production by Pol’s Potten. He also sold the very first piece of the now well known “Hey, chair, Be A Bookshelf”- furniture series to Stef Bakker (co-founder of Orange Babies). In 2000, he studied for several months at the Politecnico di Milano.


In June 2002, he graduated from the Design Academy with a series of burned furniture called "Smoke". His works were nominated for the internal "René Smeets-award" and also for the "Melkweg-award". They lead to an invitation to do a week's workshop in France and got Baas selected for the esteemed improvisation exposition of the Design Academy in Tokyo.

His design Smoke series was adopted in the collection of Dutch label Moooi,[1] founded by Marcel Wanders. Thanks to successful presentations in Milan, London and Paris Smoke became known worldwide. Smoke furniture was bought by museums and collectors such as Lidewij Edelkoort and Philippe Starck.

The Smoke chandelier was part of the exhibition "Brilliant" at the Victoria & Albert museum in London.

In May 2004, a muh talked about solo-exhibition was opened with New York gallerist Murray Moss.[2] "Where There’s Smoke" showed 25 pieces of furniture, all burned and finished off with transparent epoxy. Amongst others there were charcoaled classical designs of Gaudi, Eames, Rietveld, Sottsass and the Campana Brothers.

For the new collection of the Groninger Museum, Maarten worked on pieces of furniture from the old collection of the museum. These were shown during the exhibition "Nocturnal Emissions" and purchased by the museum.

Also the Dutch Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam exhibited two of his Smoke-pieces in 2005 in an exhibition about works purchased by the Stedelijk Museum.[3]

Maarten Baas' pieces are all unique and handmade, though produced in series, most are signed and numbered by Maarten Baas. Maarten is searching for the boundaries of design, without leaning on the regular "dos and don'ts". This way of working became even more clear at the Salone del Mobile in Milan 2005, where he showed his new pieces. "Treasure", "Hey, chair, be a bookshelf!" and "Flatpack Furniture" that became a great success.

In 2005, he also started his collaboration with Bas den Herder, who became responsible for the production of all pieces. The foundation of studio Baas & den Herder made it possible to produce Maartens unique pieces on a larger scale, but yet all handmade in the Netherlands. Assignments came from hotels, restaurants, galleries and museums all over the world.

At the Salone del Mobile in 2006, Maarten launched Clay Furniture, which was considered to be the absolute successor of Smoke and one of the most surprising projects of the fair.[citation needed]

Moss presented this collection during the ICFF in New York, and Cibone made a solo exhibition, "Clay & Smoke".[4]

In 2005, Maarten collaborated with the design team of Ian Schrager, for the new Gramercy Park Hotel. Maarten Baas supplied Smoke furniture for each room and some Clay pieces and a Smoke billiard for the lobby. All pieces were handmade in studio Baas&den Herder. In August 2006, the Gramercy Park Hotel opened.

In 2006 in Milan his collection Clay Furniture has a great success. This furniture is made of synthetic clay with a metal carcass inside.[5]

In Milan, in April 2009, Maarten showed Real Time, a series of videos depicting a real-time clock, with actors moving the hands of the clock as time passes by.[6]

In 2009, Maarten was named Designer of the Year by Design Miami.[7] During the design fair in Miami, he presented a new piece, commissioned by Design Miami, named The Shell.

Since 2012 most of the products designed by Maarten are made by Den Herder Production House (DHPH), which is derived from Baas&den Herder. DHPH also makes products designed by other renowned designers.

In 2013, Maarten Baas produced the Grandmother and the Grandfather clocks in collaboration with Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Both pieces were shown at Design Miami 2013."Expanding on the idea of a grandfather clock, he created his and hers versions with live characters inside the faces of these beautiful towers. Filming two actors in real time with digital equipment, Bass filmed them carefully writing the numbers by hand with a black marker denoting all 24 hours in the day and wiping away the drawings as the minutes pass by underneath a hazy etched glass face".[8]


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