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Meeting with Tomas Erel, designerbox Co-founder

Interview

Meeting with Tomas Erel, designerbox Co-founder - illustration 1

Artsper met Tomas Erel, co-founder of Designer Box, a monthly box with objects created by talented designers. Tomas talked to us about art, design and his favourite for finding new designers. 

Artsper: What draws you to design?

Tomas Erel: I've been surrounded by design since my birth but I think for me I'm very drawn to design because it is domestic art! Design is not just about creating a useful object. There are a thousand answers to the question what is the best knife?, the best armchair? Design as art acts on our emotions as well as our reasoning. Design about bringing a bit of poetry or even subversion into everyday objects and sometimes even creating new uses...

The democratic aspect of design is also essential, reaching a large mass of people. I'm mostly drawn to the area between high-end gallery design and often disembodied industrial design. This is where everything is happening creatively, where you find innovation, talent and ideas.

Meeting with Tomas Erel, designerbox Co-founder - illustration 1
Meeting with Tomas Erel, designerbox Co-founder - illustration 1

Artsper: Who is your favourite designer? Why?

Tomas Erel: It's impossible to answer this question! There are plenty of them today. I would like to mention those who encouraged me into design: Enzo Mari, Castiglionni, Perriand, Kuramata, Sottsass, but I could also say Sotto, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, .... artists who helped to forge my tastes and open my eyes.

Artsper: What is the relationship between art and design?

Tomas Erel: It's a long story and there is a clear link. A bit like Duchamp with his bidet, or when Maarten Baas, put a completely charred iconic Rietvelt chair for sale! This chair sculpture, is it art or is it design? It is clearly an art object but does that make it art?

Art, like nature, is a source of inspiration for each creator, a little like a research laboratory where one can freely question the real, the philosophy, the politics, the representation, ... a laboratory, conceptual or narrative, in which the designer can draw his inspiration.

If today, design has entered museums, galleries and auction houses and sometimes we see works by designers who question, like Baas, the border with art, design and art are not the same, they don't meet the same objectives and do not produce the same effects. Art has a close relationship with all creative activities, design and graphics are no exception.

Meeting with Tomas Erel, designerbox Co-founder - illustration 1
Meeting with Tomas Erel, designerbox Co-founder - illustration 1

Artsper: If you had to imagine a collaboration between an artist and a designer, who would you choose?

Tomas Erel: Complicated, and it has rarely been a success (it often ends up being painted furniture) so not very interesting! I might ask an artist, but not a painter or sculptor, to imagine an installation from an object or a series of objects chosen by a designer. The idea being to initiate a dialogue where the object is not a support but the raw material.

Artsper: Can design be accessible?

Tomas Erel: It's not a question of whether it can or not, the designer's design as well as industrial design MUST be accessible, it participates in the change, the improvement of daily life. It doesn't cost anything more to make an object that has meaning behind it than an object that stands for nothing, so why should we reserve for an elite, this great source of well-being and innovation.

Even if we need to find or invent new models. Offering designer objects at the price of unsigned products (less than €20) is one of Designerbox's main aims. In order to achieve this, we eliminated the middle-men, created short circuits and put the creators at the centre of the customer's experience.

Artsper: Your favourite place for discovering design and new designers?

Tomas Erel: The smaller fairs that happen alongside the major fairs or the European design week (Milan, Paris, Stockholm, ...).

Artsper: Your favourite place for seeing art?

Tomas Erel: Other than Artsper? Personally, I would say the Palais de Tokyo in Paris where I go regularly with my family. The big open spaces are great for children who can run in the middle of the works, interact with them ... It has a raw edge but it's a great place to go for brunch, dinner, it's always full of life and there's always something to do which is what I've come to expect from cultural institutions today.


Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Li Wei, 29 Levels of Freedom, Photography

Li Wei

29 Levels of Freedom, 2003
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$9,242

Our recommendations François Morellet, 2 trames de chevrons-négatif, Print

François Morellet

2 trames de chevrons-négatif, 1960
24.4 x 24.4 inch
Print

$1,733

Karl-Martin Holzhäuser, Licht Punkt 11, Photography

Karl-Martin Holzhäuser

Licht Punkt 11, 1995
47.2 x 47.2 x 0.4 inch
Photography

$27,496

Evrard & Koch, Hors Cadre #1.3, Sculpture

Evrard & Koch

Hors Cadre #1.3, 2015
51.2 x 31.5 x 15.7 inch
Sculpture

$10,975

Tom Dixon, Harley Davison en osier, Sculpture

Tom Dixon

Harley Davison en osier, 2000
46.1 x 70.9 x 31.5 inch
Sculpture

$5,661

Go Segawa, Blue & Green ed. 25, Sculpture

Go Segawa

Blue & Green ed. 25, 2017
3.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inch
Sculpture

$162

Claire Fontaine, Untitled (What is freedom?), Print

Claire Fontaine

Untitled (What is freedom?), 2012
47.2 x 35.4 inch
Print

$2,888

Antoine Rose, Tea Time (French Riviera), Photography

Antoine Rose

Tea Time (French Riviera), 2016
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.8 inch
Photography

$8,954

Sophie Calle, Des journées entières sous le signe du B, du C, du W.  Fr, Print

Sophie Calle

Des journées entières sous le signe du B, du C, du W. Fr, 2013
27.6 x 19.7 inch
Print

$416

Paola Pivi, One love, Print

Paola Pivi

One love, 2013
19.7 x 27.6 inch
Print

$416

Our recommendations JR, 28 Millimètres, Women Are Heroes - Swimming Pool, Intercontinental Hotel, Verticale, Monrovia, Liberia, Print

JR

28 Millimètres, Women Are Heroes - Swimming Pool, Intercontinental Hotel, Verticale, Monrovia, Liberia, 2008
38.6 x 28.3 inch
Print

Sold out

Our recommendations Philippe Ramette, Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins: promenade irrationnelle, Photography

Philippe Ramette

Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins: promenade irrationnelle, 2006
59.1 x 47.2 inch
Photography

$21,951

Gaspard Mitz, Her, Sculpture

Gaspard Mitz

Her, 2016
7.9 x 11.8 x 2.4 inch
Sculpture

$751

Our recommendations Philippe Decrauzat, Delay (square on the angles to black / 24), Painting

Philippe Decrauzat

Delay (square on the angles to black / 24), 2017
94.5 x 94.5 inch
Painting

Sold out

Victor Vasarely, Anole, Print

Victor Vasarely

Anole, 1984
17.7 x 14.2 inch
Print

$751