The Icon 20/20 Designers: Maarten Baas 01.05.09

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The Chankley Bore for Established & Sons, 2008

You might wonder what Maarten Baas is doing on this list. He's been one of the stand-out names in the gallery design market for several years already, so you have to remind yourself that he's just 31. Baas has had a high profile virtually from the moment he graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven and fulfilled the media's lust for the idea of the design prodigy. There's no doubt that his early success has contributed to a growing aspiration among design students to a career path in limited editions. It's entirely possible that his best work is yet to come, because Baas, who has the qualities of an idiot savant, is plugged in to the zeitgeist in a way that is very difficult to fake. He started by burning furniture, moved on to naively sculpting it in clay and used Chinese craftsmen to replicate cheap garden chairs in exotic wood. His work manages to be gently subversive and desirable. Last year, he was brave enough to unleash the Chankley Bore furniture, which looked like Flintstone robots, on Established & Sons, and somehow made the ludicrous seem plausible. Anyone that free from conventions is an unpredictable force to reckon with.

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Image

Adam Laycock

 

Words

Justin McGuirk, Johanna Agerman, William Wiles, Anna Bates, Beatrice Galilee, Oliver Wainwright, Alex Pasternack, Matthew Barac, Sean Dodson

 

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