The world of Hervé Van der Straeten is one of hybridised inspiration. There are always contrasts of materials: bronze, wood, marble, crystal, stainless steel, glass, carbon fibre, or aluminium.
Distinct form is essential: a cross between architecture and sculpture, his inspiration may be geometric or asymmetric, animal, vegetable, or mineral, organic or unearthly. Surprising marriages of texture are second nature: combinations of lacquered wood and textured bronze for a satiny sheen, oak and gold leaf for a dazzling contrast of matte and gleaming surfaces.
After studying painting at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Hervé Van der Straeten first gained recognition for himself with his jewellery collections, both under his own name as well as working with fashion. In 1999, he opened his gallery in Paris and launched his collections of exclusive furniture and lighting, which have now become his main activity.
Whatever his creations – consoles, mirrors, cabinets, chandeliers, ceiling lights, scent bottles, or jewellery – Van der Straeten constantly explores a graphic purity and makes radical choices in terms of movement, elegance, and unconventional, unexpected expression.
Whether for unique pieces or limited editions, new shapes must be sought out, new materials tried, and volumes as well as finish must be utterly precise. Van der Steaten always strives for an independence of tone, free from any reference as well as for a perfect balance of shape and volume.
This achievement is born of the designer’s infallible and critical eye, one that examines every minute component of every creation.
No detail is too small: after fully exploring the design via his myriad sketches and drawings, Van der Straeten personally selects the materials, and then oversees the making of each object – which may take months to complete – in his own fully dedicated workshops in Paris. By working this way, he controls every step of the process, from first creative flash to final finishing.
The exclusive art of Hervé Van der Straeten cannot be captured in a glance. There are thresholds and a spectrum of interpretations. The viewer needs to approach, explore, examine and touch in order to fully realise the strength and singularity of each piece.
As much an artist as a craftsman, Hervé Van der Straeten’s key clients include great collectors, world renown decorators, as well as Le Mobilier National, official supplier of furnishings and decorative objects for the French state since the era of Louis XIV. In 2007, he was awarded the Entreprise de Patrimoine Vivant, a national certification as a Living Heritage Company, awarded by the French Ministry of Culture and this year, received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, an official state honour for outstanding achievement in the arts.
As well as developing his furniture and lighting, Van der Straeten also enjoys creating jewellery pieces as well as developing an eclectic array of collaborations. He has designed major elements of the Roger Vivier boutiques in Paris, London, New York and Hong Kong.