Dutch designer Piet Boon might not be a familiar name amongst those in the East, but in the west, his creations through the Studio Piet Boon brand is reflected in bespoke contemporary architecture, interiors and product designs. From tableware and lights, to kitchen and bathware, his studio has a long list of exquisite design credentials which include the Jawaher Villas Riyadh, The Fontenay Hamburg, and now in Malaysia, the AIRA Residence.
But for PB, his style isn’t only reserved for the living space. His automotive collaboration with Land Rover is one that started a decade ago. In the recent unveiling together with a unique black-on-black 5.0-litre Supercharged Range Rover Sport priced at an exclusive RM1.29 million. We speak with the illustrious designer on his collaboration with the British four-wheel-drive manufacturer and how he looks at design.
Please share with us how did the collaboration with Land Rover start in 2006?
PB: The longstanding collaboration between Studio Piet Boon and Land Rover dates back to 2006. Ten years ago in search for a suitable brand partner, the Dutch Director Benelux – Marc Bienemann – approached Studio Piet Boon as he believed the studio’s philosophy of balancing functionality, aesthetics and individuality matched Land Rover’s brand values; performance, luxury and excellence. Piet Boon has been a brand ambassador ever since and vice versa. Over the years Piet Boon has designed over ten limited editions, varying from a Range Rovers to Defenders and from Range Rover Sport’s to Evoque’s. The latest edition to the one-of family is the ‘Last Defender by Piet Boon’.
How would you describe one of the most common design traits of a Piet Boon design?
PB: High-end timeless design, quality and our philosophy of balancing functionality, aesthetics and individuality.
Of all the various designs you’ve collaborated with Land Rover, which is your favourite and why?
PB: I don’t particularly have a favourite, because to me, each edition is unique in its own way.
At the recent unveiling of the AIRA Residence, guests were also treated to an up-close look at a black-on-black Range Rover Sport. How would you say your designs on the AIRA has trickled into the Range Rover? Or perhaps vice versa?
PB: I am very much part of the selection process when it comes to determining the materials and other details. I also prefer to use locally sourced materials as much as we can. Luxury, to me, is in the details – materials used, graphic patterns, design. Everything is well-thought and carefully selected. Quality is key in luxurious designs.
I also associate luxury living with bespoke living. It is an extension of YOU – your personality and what drives you. For AIRA, we managed to blend our concept of spatial arrangements with the East-Asian way of living. For this we researched the Malay culture, way of living and interior customs. In doing so, we were able to embed our Western spatial arrangements according to the function of the spaces, use of (natural) light and clear sight lines in the Eastern way of living.
Growing up, where would you get your inspiration from? And which designers did you look up to?
PB: When working on a project, the process of looking for inspiration is mostly the same. Essentially we have to understand the concept and then we listen to and watch the world around us and are inspired by what we hear, see and feel. People we meet, nature, food, cultures, colours etc. are just a few examples.
As an international multidisciplinary design studio, we call the world our workplace.
How different is it designing for products vs for property and automotive? Are there a specific set of rules that you’d stick to as a designer?
PB: For me, the challenge arises in harmonizing between function and aesthetic. Once you have found the balance, everything else will fall into place.
Which automotive designer or special partnerships do you have a liking to? Share it with us in the comments!
Interested to know more about the Renault Koleos and its current signature design? Click here to read our interview with Christophe Dupont, Managing Director of Renault Design Asia.