Designed in Melbourne, Handmade in Italy & Portugal

Sabine Marcelis | In Her Shoes


Introducing Sabine Marcelis. One of the most innovative and exciting young global designers of her time, Sabine is a designer of products, interiors and installations. 

Born in The Netherlands and raised in New Zealand, Sabine now calls Rotterdam home where she runs her studio experimenting in material, installation and object design. Famed for her unique ways of creating unexpected magic with materiality, Sabine already has long list of collaborators including top brands like Aesop, Isabel Marant and Repossi.

During the summer, we travelled to Rotterdam where we had the pleasure of meeting Sabine at her studio to find out more about her life, her creative process and what inspires her.

Photography of Sabine by Yuvali Theis

Above The Perfect Pump in Limited Edition White, image from Chapter Five

How did you get into design? 

I absolutely followed in my sister’s footsteps. She's a year older and started studying industrial design after finishing high school. When I saw the kinds of projects she was doing I was like ‘I want to do that too!’. When I was younger I was super into fashion and sewing. I used to make bags and belts etc which I tried to sell at the same markets my parents would sell the flowers they grew. I thought they were really awesome, but I don't think I ever managed to actually sell many of them… 

Can you share some recent under the radar design or travel discoveries you think everyone should know about?

1. Kroller Muller museum in The Netherlands-especially now in the autumn
2. Im obsessed with the work of Thomas Trum at the moment

Can you share more about what it means to you to have a self-made career and to work independently?

I feel so very lucky to be able to do what I love on a professional level and relatively on my own schedule. I have a very short concentration span, which is why its very important for me to work on many different projects at the same time. I have also very much come to realise that I love the freedom of filling in my own hours, and being flexible in that. I can be extremely productive at very random hours. I work independently but of course not alone. I have a fantastic team and community of collaborators around me whom I would be useless without. 

When do you do your best thinking?

In my car. I spend quite a lot of time in it and love the solitude of driving long distances alone. There are no distractions like my phone or other people. Then I really feel like I can think about things properly. Also in the shower actually!

What have been some turning points in your career?

Having the opportunity to work with architecture firm OMA on projects which have taking my work to completely new scales.

My first museum acquisition and show last year in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

At ESSĒN we really admire the your work and how you stay true to your own aesthetic. Has this been an intentional decision throughout your career, or just something that happened as a by-product?

I do work passionately intentional but also in a very intuitive way. I know what I like and i try to stay true to pure concepts and clear ideas, but im flexible as to where things can lead to. I think its quite amazing that my work has found so many applications. The candy cubes for instance have found homes ranging from fashion stores to private castle-like mansions to even a pop star’s prop on stage at a concert. There is a uniqueness to my work but also a universality and ambiguity which makes it accessible and leaves room for interpretation. 

Do you have a mentor or anyone you look up to in your career? Why?

Before I started working purely on my own things I freelanced for Danish Artist FOS (Thomas Poulsen) for a few years. He really showed me the true meaning of believing in your own ideas, however crazy they might be to others. To push for your ideas without compromise. And also not to take yourself to seriously.

Have you received any advice that has stuck with you?

I was once told to never get a 9-5 job, because they said it is extremely difficult to go through the struggle of working for yourself after the luxury of a regular paycheck. There were so many times after graduating where I thought ‘i should just get a job’ but I am very happy I stuck to trying to work autonomously. Somehow everything worked out. I very much live by that moto of ‘everything always works out’. 

What does style & substance mean to you? 

The sense of owning and expressing who you are. Not forcefully trying to be something else. It always shows, also within design and art. Authenticity is the most important thing ALWAYS.

What’s next for you?

Basically nothing I can talk about yet! Well, my first deadline of 2018 is finishing my own house…

I am working on new projects with Salle Privee, a new menswear fashion brand that actually has the same vision as ESSEN, it's all about the timeless essentials of high quality..

There is also some other more spatial projects and two new solo shows with furniture collections later in the year.

Photos of Sabine above wearing  The Luxe Loafer, limited edition run of 60 pairs, hand made in Italy.

You can follow Sabine on Instagram here, and more of her work here.

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