Creating work that draws on fantasy and fiction, Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel of Studio Job also look to modern classics. Comparisons have been made to Duchamp when referring to the designs of Studio Job. A set of saucepans stacked on a plinth or a bronze teapot used as a vase certainly evoke memories of the artist’s work, but designer Job Smeets cites Tiffany or artist Jeff Koons as closer to the mark. “You could say we’re between the two,” says Smeets, who opened his Belgium studio in 1998, joined by his business and life partner Nynke Tynagel two years later.
“Nynke and I share both our lives and work. She might be more functionally oriented, I’m probably more conceptual, but we’re the one package,” says Smeets. Both graduates of the Design Academy Eindoven, Netherlands, they create limited edition pieces, as well as commercial designs for Swarovski and Moooi, which they launched their Paper Collection with in 2006.
One of Studio Job’s latest commissions for Bisazza was a highlight at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair. They created a two-metre high teapot, a mirrored tea tray, a candle holder and an enormous teaspoon, all covered in white gold mosaic tiles. “Opulence is an important part of our designs, but how each design is executed is crucial; quality is paramount,” says Smeets.
Slightly less opulent is Smeets’ and Tynagel’s iconic Elda chair, designed by Joe Colombo in 1965. “It’s like an old grandfather chair but with a contemporary twist,” says Smeets, who was attracted to the chair’s unusual 1970s fabric. Normally featuring a padded leather seat, the Elda chair is covered in brown velour with printed trees. “I was told the fabric was by an American artist,” says Smeets, who bought the chair at auction a few years ago.
Like many of Colombo’s designs, the work of Studio Job can be found in some of the world’s great museums and galleries including London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and MoMA New York. Colombo’s designs are recognised for their sense of humour, similarly, Studio Job’s designs bring a smile to a new generation of design lovers.