Return to Value


Return to Value BY Dries Truyers
Dries Truyers

Return to Value BY Dries Truyers

You know those people who seem to be old spirits, born in young bodies? Young mouths that speak wisdom that surpasses their age? Furniture designer, Dries Truyers is one of those people who seems to have learned a great deal in his twenty-something years spent here on earth. We enjoyed talking to him at Brussels Furniture Fair in November 2023. 
Before choosing to become a furniture designer, Dries, with a taste for experimenting, tasted different paths. He studied to become a laboratory assistant, but got tired of working on a computer the whole day, every day. He decided to follow his curiosity and started Interior Design at Thomas Moore school in Mechelen, Belgium. He soon discovered what was meant to be for him: furniture design. Today Dries is working hard on his educational master to be able to teach, while continuing to create his own, thoughtful, sensitive and deliberate designs. 
What I create isn’t too expensive, everything else is too cheap
I start from waste streams, reclaimed wood, and think about what I can do with these materials. From there, I begin to explore form
Even though they’re unpretentious and clean, Dries’ designs are eye catchers. They breathe a royal sense of simplicity, calm, a natural look, much like the designer himself. Dries loves experimenting with materials. “I start from waste streams, reclaimed wood, and think about what I can do with these materials”. Truyers’ designs start from the material, nature itself, feeling, from which Dries begins to explore form. Form is informed by material, not the other way around. “Unlike what AI designing does today”, Dries tells us, “where an algorithm starts its design process from the exploration of different, existing – and potentially popular – forms and creates a new shape out of this information”. 
Truyers’ designs may look simple, but there is much more to them than meets the eye. The design translation of: ‘still waters run deep’. Dries’ designs reveal stories, lived and reflected on. ‘Black Gold’ (Zwart Goud in Dutch), for example, is a sculptural collection that reveals the roots of the designer. Dries, born and raised in Houthalen, a town in Belgian Limburg, once known for its mining industry. “At home, I’m remembered of our mining history every single day”, Dries shares, “when I look out of my bedroom window, I see the mine towers. At night especially, when they’re lit up, one cannot look past them”.
“Mining is an important part of our Belgian history and culture”, Dries says, “especially for the older generations it’s still fresh in mind. The mining times reveal quite a lot of horror, but also helped put Belgium on the map and launched the start of a different machine-driven industry. It also made Belgium a more multi-ethnical nation”. 
Black Gold’s designs are both robust and elegant and integrate an authentic (and extremely heavy – we tested) mine stone from Houthalen. 
Another design we fell in love with is ‘Continental Chair’, not only because of the beauty of the design, but also because of the sensitive story behind it. “I made Continental Chair starting from the reclaimed wood materials I found at Recuplan (a Belgian start-up that refurbishes and resells reclaimed wood)”, Dries starts, “I was walking around Recuplan, looking to source wood to use for a new design when I noticed all the different origins of the wood available. All materials are sourced from companies from the region, but I was amazed with how many different types of wood our local companies use. Wood from Nigeria, Congo, North America, France etc. It inspired me to make a chair built from these different types of wood. Each wood looks totally different, but put together, it makes a beautiful design. I wondered if this could not be an example for our society. The chair asks: if a design can have such variety and look so wonderful, why couldn’t our society look like this?”. Beautiful question Dries… 
Me and my designs in 3 words: calm – natural – simplified
As a designer, Dries describes himself – and his designs – as: calm, natural and simplified. “My designs reflect who I am”, Dries says, “I’m a calm person and my designs reflect a calm atmosphere. I go for a natural look and in my designs, I choose natural materials and turn to natural processes. I like simplicity, also when I design. I usually use a combination of two shapes that repeat and come together in two materials”. 
Dries strongly believes in collectible furniture and designs. During one of his internships, he worked for and learned from collectible furniture designer Tim Vranken. This was a great learning school for the young designer, something that made him value collectibles even more. Dries believes in collectible design for many reasons, but mostly because it allows the consumer to give more appreciation and attach a higher value to the furniture. 
What I create isn’t too expensive, everything else is too cheap
“For me, one of the most difficult things to do, was always to set a price for my designs. You work hard and long on a design and then the day comes that you need to give it a price tag. You make your calculations and research how others calculate and you set your price. It ends up being quite expensive, because you’ve made everything yourself, it’s made in Belgium, with good materials... Then you talk to some people around you, people who aren’t furniture designers, and they immediately tell you: Wauw, that’s expensive! Who’s going to buy that?! My answer is: that’s not expensive, everything else is just too cheap!”. 
Dries continues: “Nowadays, you can buy a chair in Ikea for 8 euros, 8 euros! For that kind of money, I cannot even buy two beers in the local bar”, Dries laughs, “This type of pricing is completely unrealistic!”. He travels back in time: “When I look at my grandparents for example, they still have some of the famous furniture from Mechelen from back in the day in. A cupboard, for example, that’s worth thousands of euros, back then it was considered okay to spend this, because you’d buy something to last a lifetime. I believe we should strive to go back to this kind of model. That’s why I believe in collectible so much and in craftsmanship”. 
It's not bad to make a bad design
We need to give more value to our furniture, its design process ánd the designer, we learn from Dries. When we ask him which wisdom he’d share with young, aspiring designers, he answers: “Experimenting is never wrong. I’ve learned this along the way, while designing and making dummies. It’s necessary to do this, to ‘fail’, to make mistakes, to experiment. It helps us grow. It’s not bad to make a ‘bad design’, it’s a learning curve”. 
We are charmed by Dries’ designs and the designer himself. A young talent with an old, wise spirit. Thank you for sharing your incredible passion, enthusiasm and wisdom with us, Dries. Don’t forget to check out his work, you’ll definitely be hearing from him! 
Dries Truyers - Collection