Art Maker, the light maker05/04/2018

Discover the portrait, between light and shadow, of Yves Dujardin, designer of lights made in Belgium.

Your first job was graphic designer. Before launching Art Maker, you worked in this activity as well in several others. Was it a personal quest?

When we think about it, my background is relatively coherent. I am graduated from the Beaux-Arts Academy of Liège. I first worked as a web designer in a media agency. I was also a salesman for the giant Sony, in charge of promoting video games. And then I turned 40. A kind of decisive turning point that pushed me to start thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. My parents both had artistic backgrounds. My father is a lover of crafts. So I guess we can talk about some kind of return to the roots.

The first light you created under the Art Maker label is made of forty wooden blades.

Indeed, it is quite symbolic. The spokes reflect my desire to change my life. Right after, I created the Double Maxime which design is obviously derived from the original model. I like working on math, numbers. Florentin, the last suspension I imagined, is a game around the size of the blades that make it up.

The result is nonetheless organic and harmonious. Wood is omnipresent in your work.

I use afzelia, teak, wengé and bamboo, four exotic wood species resistant to temperature changes. More recently, I introduced Périgord walnut which offers more nuances and goes very well with contemporary furniture. Everything, except the electrical elements, is made of wood and pegged instead of nailed. Our lights - about 80 pieces per month - are hand made in my workshop established in the heights of Liege.

And that name, Art Maker, what does it refer to?

When I started this project five years ago, I had made some prototypes from parts produced with a 3D printer. It was this machine that inspired the brand name, a nod to the makers. Currently, 3D no longer plays any role in my work. The thirteen models in our current range are all pure handmade products.

And this magic that comes from each of your pieces, how do you explain it?

I think that the play of light and shadow that emerges from a light like Ingrid, an ovoid piece that can be declined in one, two or three wood species, or from the Christel wall lamp, a tribute to nature, naturally creates an extra soul in an interior. These pieces speak for themselves.

And what do their names mean?

The name of each light is simply an allusion to the saint of the day it was created.

Local production is on the rise. For you, this artisanal approach is a leitmotiv or could you consider industrializing your process?

At some point in my development, I was about to do it. When success comes, it is tempting to let yourself be seduced by it, to multiply points of sale, even to associate with bigger players. Especially since I had proposals that went in that direction. I finally decided not to industrialize my production. I prefer to grow at my own pace by capitalizing on the Belgian and French market. At first, anyway. For export, I work in collaboration with independent sales representatives.

Besides the creation of new pieces, what else makes you vibrate every day?

I had the opportunity to create some impressive size pieces for exceptional places like the castle of Modave, in the Liège region, or some candle holders for the new decoration of the restaurant bon.bon. in Brussels. Just recently, I imagined Double Maxime in white for the new restaurant Barisart in Spa. This kind of project allows me to boost my creativity and not get bored. In the long run, I would like to devote most of my time to creation.

Written by Marie Honnay

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