ICFF Designers: Niels de Greef

ICFF Designers: Niels de Greef
Arts & Culture

A self-taught designer, de Greef shares some of the sustainability measures that he takes when creating work and the three P's that he never strays from when producing.

Stephanie Pottinger
  • 14 may 2011

This week, PSFK will be interviewing a variety of designers — both established and up-and coming, to give a preview of what to look forward to at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), taking place this Friday through Monday in NewYork. This year, the majority of designers will be displaying their work at the Jacob K. Javits center, and we’ve asked them to give us some insights into what they will bedisplaying, their design process, where to find them in the center, and which booths they’ll be checking out in their free time.

We asked Fousse Interior Elements‘s Niels de Greef to share some thoughts and images about his work and the work of others with us.

What are you preparing to show at this year’s ICFF?

I’m taking the ZzZen to the ICFF, a rotomolded lounge chair made for indoor and outdoor use, in production under my own label, Fousse. It doesn’t have a single straight edge on it, so it can rock in all directions. With a low seating height and maximum movability, this cheerful-looking lounger is suitable for the young and the not-so-young, the tall and the tiny. It stacks, is unbreakable and comes in a variety of colors. Both the chair and its Sunbrella cushion can weather the seasons easily.

How would you briefly describe your design process?

Everything I design for Fousse has to fit my version of the three P’s: Playful, Pretty and Practical. Sometimes, I start out with a goal in mind, like with the ZzZen, where I aimed to produce an outdoor chair that would be perfect inside as well, and would make people smile and want to try it. Sometimes a design comes from the opportunities a material offers to do something slightly differently, like an upcoming design of a featherweight wooden lamp that fits through a mailbox and assembles in a heartbeat, making it easily available to anyone worldwide.

Have any recent design trends influenced your current work?

Being a self-taught designer, I must admit I keep little track of trendwatchers, fashionable color forecasting and all that. Rather, I listen to my (potential) clients and ask what would make them happy, what they are missing in the marketplace and design along those lines.

Something I definitely adhere to but am reluctant to call a trend is that of sustainability.

Fousse makes furniture that lasts, uses as little resources as possible and produces locally whenever possible. We’re also on a bit of a mission to make people realize that there are good ways to use plastics like PE. Also, we support a great initiative called Kiva, where we donate a percent of our profits to provide microloans to small entrepreneurs in third-world countries.

Who is the one designer whose work you will definitely be checking out at the show?

I won’t be able to resist checking out Dutch icon Karim Rashid’s new designs for Henry Hall Designs.

Do you feel the ICFF show is evolving in a way which keeps pace with the design industry?

Honestly, as a first-timer to the fair, I don’t feel I am in a position to judge this yet. I will say that there are some very interesting exhibitors there, and love initiatives like ICFF Studio which give young talent a chance to be seen.

Where will you be exhibiting during this year’s ICFF?

I will be at booth number 878, as one of the winners of ICFF Studio, hosted by Bernhardt Design.

Thanks, Niels!

Fousse Interior Element

As the culmination of all our ICFF coverage, PSFK will be hosting a Salon on the Future of Design featuring the editors of top design websites. The event will take place this Friday the 13th from 8:30 to 11am at Soho House.

Click here for details.


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