presented at carpenters workshop gallery in paris, ‘close parity’ is maarten baas’ latest collection and it exhibits five furniture pieces derived from ‘naive sketches’ extruded to the three-dimensional world. each cabinet is a direct extrusion of the childlike sketch, where gravity and logistics are irrelevant. the resultant brass pieces maintain every oddity and intricacy of the sketches which seem to become almost impossible, off-balanced and top heavy sculptures. inside, very heavy counterweights hidden from eye’s view provides the structural stability they need to function. the imperfections of the linework are interpreted with immaculate craftsmanship in pure brass, combining a child-like form and logic with rather complex and detailed understanding of material and physics.


designboom attended the opening of the exhibition in paris, and sat down with baas to discuss the collection in full detail.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
exhibition view at carpenters workshop gallery in paris



designboom (DB): in ‘close parity’ you have translated drawings into furniture. what is the story behind these pieces?


maarte baas (MB): in many of my works I try to tear apart the fixed ideas and logics that we grew up with. in many cases the things we learnt are standing in our way, the naivety is not there anymore. and even though this has a lot of advantages, it also takes away some fun and some intuitive ideas. I’m always struggling with that rationality while I try to add spontaneity to the pieces. I wanted to challenge that idea even more by working with gravity. in a naive drawing you can draw anything but it will always remain in the drawing because in reality it’s impossible to make it. but by really making it and keeping that naivety of the drawing in the physical object, then you really have something.


if a rational person looks at the drawing, he would immediately say that’s not possible, because the legs should be placed in a different different way or the object is out of balance but I still wanted to do the pieces just like the drawings. if that little naive initiative can be made out of a luxurious material like bronze, it can be monumental. in many of my works I always try to give a voice to this little intuitive idea, to not have it be disturbed by rationality even if I’m still disturbed by my own rationality.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
the show features the five ‘close parity’ furniture pieces plus other works of the designer



DB: with every project you make it seems as if you are unlearning something.  did you learn or unlearn  something with close parity?


MB: of course. I learnt technical things like how to make it but that for me is not so relevant although it is nice to learn about it…  this is a very personal piece, it’s a drawings that came out of my hand without my awareness, it’s almost as if it didn’t go through my brain. it went straight from my body to my hand, so it’s very disarmed. what I probably learnt is that it works like that, that I can create pieces that have the right of existence, that the brain is not necessary at the beginning of the process.


it’s not my goal to make the impossible possible, I just see my little drawing and I think I want this piece to be part of my reality and it happens to be kind of a mission impossible and that is the result of my way of thinking. it’s not my goal to make possible the impossible, but for me, to turn this little drawing into a big piece has more value, and that takes a lot of different techniques to make it possible, but it’s more the consequence than the goal.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
close parity cabinet with light
H136 L177 W36
limited edition of 8 + 2AP



DB: can we talk a bit about gravity…


MB: I don’t know anything about gravity. what I like about it that is one of the first things you learn about the real world as a child. you drop something and you learn from experience that things fall, you understand the phenomenon without going to a physics class. so, if I can beat that kind of logic then I’m almost going back to the logics of a baby. I kind of like the fact of challenging it because most of the time you don’t even think about it, gravity is just given. with my pieces I’d like to change that fixed idea. and many of my works are about changing those fixed ideas.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
close parity big wide cabinet
H77 L281 W42
limited edition of 8 + 2AP



DB: which one is your favourite piece of the new collection?


MB: I would say — of course very diplomatically — that I love them all, but I think either the very asymmetrical one with two legs and its weird shape or the one with the light because it turned out exactly how I wanted it, and that’s always a nice sensation. also, I like how it’s very two-dimensional, the light, the little legs. if I would put something in my own house, which I can’t afford because I can’t afford my own pieces (laughs), I would go for that one.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
close parity asymmetric cabinet
H177 L180 W37 cm
limited edition of 8 + 2AP



DB: how long have you been working on this collection and what challenges did you face?


MB: the first sketches were made in 2015 and the first pieces were finished in end of 2016, so more than a year.


as for challenges, obviously the whole gravity thing, but also the hinges were kind of difficult. gravity was the first thing I thought about because that is the center idea of the pieces but I totally forgot the fact that it might be difficult to have hinges on such small surfaces and with such big and heavy doors. it’s a lot of pressure on a little hinge so that was very much one of the technical difficulties.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
close parity bedside cabinet
L77 H49 W30 CM
limited edition of 8 + 2AP



DB: what is it like working with carpenters workshop gallery?


MB: working with carpenters is something that I always appreciate very much because it’s without compromises and it’s all or nothing. basically, it’s the best in everything: the best pieces, the best finishings, the best presentation, the best locations. it’s all top top top quality and of course as a creator you can’t wish for more than such platform where you are presented like this. it’s a hundred and ten percent.

maarten baas interview close parity carpenters workshop gallery designboom
close parity open cabinet
L260 H91 W34 CM
limited edition of 8 + 2AP



‘close parity’ will run through march 23, 2018, at carpenters workshop gallery, 54 rue de la verrerie, 75004 paris, france.

maarten baas at carpenters workshop gallery
image © designboom

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