When I was in Amsterdam two years ago, I had the chance to visit Tatjana Quax and Ben Lambers at their home and studio. Not only is their collective creative genius pretty much mind-blowing (please reference styling for the uninhibited Moooi product magazines and their art/design museum installations), but they are also very nice folks. They live in IJburg with their two boys, turning out collaborative and individual brand, styling and design projects that constantly challenge conventional notions of commercial culture and creative ideas. They also do quite a bit of travel–documenting and rhapsodizing about it in the same way they work: with great thought and stunning beauty.
Most meaningful travel experience? Jamaica. Maxim was four months old when we decided to take the epic journey from Amsterdam to Samsara beach resort. Even the most stressed out businessman can’t help to relax on the Island where Bob Marley is considered to be the son of God. We watched the stars on the seashore in the early morning, Maxim and me. Stars bright as stadium lights above a horizon with jumping dolphins…
How does travel influence your creativity or work? It humbles you to see poor people working with their hands, creating the most beautiful pieces of woodwork or fabric, day-in-day-out, without considering themselves a designer, art director, stylist or let alone ‘artist.’ But it also inspires you at the same time, and shows you that working hard is the mantra.
What do you look for in a trip? Quiet and peace. Comfort. Beauty. Nature.
Most interesting place you’ve ever stayed? Shanghai. We stayed over at a friend’s place in the French quarters. He’s a Dutchman who had high-ranked communists for a neighbor. It was in the middle of winter and the showertap was frozen. We ate snake at the Yong Foo Elite club, voted second-best club in the world by Wallpaper. We celebrated Chinese Newyear. China is 360 degrees different.
Work that has been inspired by a travel experience? Tatjana Quax (my love) and I consider Antwerp to be our second hometown. March 2011 Tatjana will be teaching Master students at the Royal Academy, and the plan is to stay and work from there for that semester. I love painters like Luc Tuymans and Michaël Borremans and admire the work of Benjamin Verdonck and studio Job.
Favorite travel purchase? Anything obscure in music, books, clothes, art, graphic design etc. Perfume, whisky, olive oil and body lotion.