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Xavier Lust: shape-shifting designer Design - 15 April 2021

A regular collaborator of major Italian editors since the early 2000s, this Brussels-based designer is active in many sectors, including art design. An insatiable creator with his eye on the future.

When we look at your work from twenty years ago, the timelessness stands out. Do you agree with this view?
There is something clear and universal about items that can stand the test of time without the user growing tired of them. If some of my pieces have become timelessness, their authenticity and innovative production are a significant part of that. These products are made by deforming aluminium sheets, a process that was developed in 1998. The results are surprising and have a strange resemblance to the essential, performative shapes found in nature. This is what makes them timeless.

You first collaborated with major Italian editors, before moving towards art design. Tell us about this shift.
In theory, the designer can design everything, redesign everything, without any limitations to the sector or scale. That is one of the most interesting and exciting parts of this profession. Furniture, street furnishings, architecture, cinema trophies, jewellery, transport vehicles, anti-terrorism devices, monuments and more: there are many fields that I am interested in and each of them caters to a different market, with, in some cases, a humanist leaning. Since 2007, a number of Italian brands have been purchased by financiers who dream of creating luxury groups, as is the case with the fashion industry. These new players often draw from their archives, rather than trying to innovate. Furthermore, this diffusion design is very demanding in terms of manufacturing and operating costs. At the same time, we have also seen the launch of galleries specialising in art design. This niche gives the designer more freedom, since they only create what they want to. The market for these exceptional pieces is flourishing.

How would you sum up your approach to design? 
I like to sum up the creative approach of a designer with four parameters: functionality, beauty, technology and culture. The material result of this design must have a reason to exist, satisfy a need, be original and innovative, and use natural or recyclable materials.

How do you operate? Are you a hybrid designer? 
As a designer, I choose to personally take care of the technical development and design of projects, alongside my team. My experience with the plasticity of materials informs the way I think. Then, we select the best third-party companies in Belgium, France, Italy or the Netherlands to manufacture the pieces. An editor sometimes helps to make the decision. 

Tell us about your most recent projects.
We are currently developing several projects for private customers and collectors, as well as a new collection for galleries in the USA, Italy and Paris. At the same time, we are creating new pieces of furniture for editors like MDF Italia. The next major event for the studio will be the Milan Furniture Fair in 2021. I am preparing a major exhibition there, in order to present this new collection, and I am also planning collaborations with Italian editors. Another exhibition is planned in Los Angeles, at the Ralph Pucci showroom.

By Marie Honnay

Eagle console Photo: Frederik Vercruysse

Le banc. Photo: Frederik Vercruysse

Bus stop

Console Continent

Archiduchaise

Gold Graph

Further information

xavierlust.com



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Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode is closely collaborating with TLmag for interviewing a selection of Belgian talents in fashion and design from Wallonia and Brussels, in order to promote them on the international scene. Read more articles on TL Magazine.