INTERVIEW WITH ERIC KUSTER
‘should you once burn with the idea, the work with fabrics TURNS into a true passion’ – Interview with Eric Kuster -
After two years of work in the fashion industry, Eric Kuster, a Dutch interior designer, first plunged into the world of textile production. The starting point in the designer’s career (in 1989, Kuster just completed training as a marketing specialist) is the position of Creative Director and Sales Department Director in Chivasso Company – Dutch textile company, which is known for its contrasting classic lines, stylish optics, and the range of elite fabrics for interior decoration. Eric Kuster introduced the second collection of fabrics for this brand – Carlucci. Then it became one of the most successful collections of fabrics in the Netherlands.
‘Should you once burn with the idea, the work with fabrics turns into a true passion’ – interview with Eric Kuster
↑ Top picture: Private cinema in XV century country house: upholstery of walls – ‚City Velvet‘, upholstery for the sofa – ‚Space Velvet‘
Eric Kuster: This happened by accident. When James Richard Schutte, co-owner of Chivasso, spoke to me, I still thought that textile production is somehow not very attractive. I would say that even today, many end-users do not fully understand the essence of textile production, since fabrics are not the final product. We are intensively engaged in the study of the textile industry, we have visited many weaving workshops and factories, saw many calico-printers and suppliers. And soon this topic has captured me completely. Should you once burn up with the idea, the work with fabrics turns into a true passion. I adore fabrics’.
↑ Villa on the shores of Lake Geneva. Luxury and gloss have ceased to be something equal for me long ago. Therefore, I believe that the new luxury is not mostly luxury, such as silk carpets, when it is difficult to see that they are made of silk at the first glance’. Upholstery for the sofa – ‚Luxury Velvet‘, curtains – ‚Mont Royal‘, drapes – ‚Sophie‘
In 1999, Eric Kuster founded his own brand and opened a store in Laren, a small town in the Dutch Gold Coast. High-quality upholstery, lighting and fabrics have quickly led to the fact that the store has become a place of pilgrimage for the lovers of life. Kuster travels a lot enjoying the comfort and atmosphere of elegance of various hotels of international class. His favorite places include Address Hotel in Dubai, Four Seasons in Hong Kong, Costes Hotel in Paris, Sixty Thompson in New York and Belgrave Hotel in London, plus an endless list of different hotels in different locations. It is with this comfortable and elitist lifestyle emitted by these hotels that the artist wanted to acquaint their customers with more closely.
- I am not connected to any particular place, says Kuster. Almost every night, my house is another hotel room. I like hotels, and my intention was to recreate the feeling of metropolis that occurs while staying at a hotel in my own store. Interior edition, incl. large Dutch magazines ‘Living’ and ‘Residence’, reacted to the new concept with enthusiasm.
Kuster showed his first collection of furniture to the public in 2005, which primarily included elite furniture for the upper segment of the market. Then, the brand expanded due to fabrics and carpets collection. After the implementation of projects, inter alia, in Marbella, Dubai, Moscow and Bali, Kuster was able to very quickly achieve international recognition in the field of interior design. Particularly noteworthy projects include an exclusive club ‘Jimmy Woo’ in Amsterdam and a football stadium ‘Noa Camp’ in Barcelona. Recently, his collection became popular in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa and Asia. The range of private and commercial projects covers from the concepts of private homes, hotels and restaurants to the design of yachts, planes and offices.
- We represent hundreds of brands. We work with deep classical brands such as Ralph Lauren, Mulberry, Lizzo, but also with ultramodern ones – Zimmer+Rohde, Tea Dahl, Jab Anstoetz, and, of course, Chivasso. We have just added to this the entire collection of Armani Casa and a collection of Hermès Casa. I also sell sofas by Flexform and Minotti, but I adapt them to my own brand. Sixty to seventy percent of the range is my own collection. I created my own palette. It consists of a number of natural colors - gray and its shades, white, color of the natural stone, sand and brown tones. Sometimes we also use orange, purple and olive green, but only to decorate details. In any case, our collection is dominated by rather pale colors, quite male ones. I call it ‘quite in the style of Tom Ford’.
‘New luxury is the visual absence of the luxury’
- I prefer simple looks of the fabric, continues Kuster. My favorite ones are linen, velvet and silk. I especially like their combinations: an incredibly clean and rough linen fabric, close soft velvet and especially luxurious silk – all in one color. 99.9 percent of our fabrics are plain. I barely use patterns. About twenty years ago, during the era of ‘Bling-Bling’, I really liked them; I decorated sofas with Swarovski stones. At one time it was revolutionary and became part of my personal style. But taste preferences are not static. My style has become much more international, so it is ‘Metropolitan Luxury’. Luxury and gloss have ceased to be something equal for me long ago. Therefore, I believe that new luxury is not mostly luxury such as silk carpets, when it is difficult to see that they are made of silk at the first glance, but a kind of ‘invisible’ luxury that does not put itself on display. I think that my design will show more ethnic influences in the future. This is probably going to be my new style – ethnic motifs similar to those characteristic of the Moroccan, Arab and African cultures. However, I intend to always use natural materials: pure linen fabric, pure silk and soft leather.
↑ Apartment in Ibiza, Spain. ‘A kind of ‘invisible’ luxury that does not put itself on display. I think that my design will show more ethnic influences in the future’.
During numerous trips, the artist meets a variety of styles, which affect his works. Thus, his own brand ‘Eric Kuster Metropolitan Luxury’ reflects his personality: elegant, but at the same time avant-garde; brilliant, but at the same time cultivate and tempting, and always focused on comfort. Kuster gives classic dynamics to the modern European design.
- I’m a European designer. European traditions and handicraft art are important parts of my collection. I do not like trends. In my opinion, the interior design must remain for 10-15 years. Therefore, we use classical furniture and materials unaffected by fashion. I do not think that influential trends are still present in the field of interior design. But there is a wide variety of trendy currents that exist in parallel with each other. Shops look the same in many countries today. Therefore, it is important to step back, to turn to our own roots and traditions. I constantly use my own European cultural background and enrich it with local trends. For example, a project in Thailand uses many local materials, tables and accessories typical for the country. We did a few houses in Ibiza. Local population respects informal Hippie-Look (the image of hippies). In addition, I am pleased to add antiques to my works.
Steel much needs to be done to draw attention to the textile brands from Germany and the Netherlands
- I spent two years living in Germany and also worked for the German representative office of Chivasso, so I’m very familiar with the German market. The German market is similar to the Dutch and Northern European ones. People still have not learned to consciously choose fabrics there. The British market, in comparison, operates totally otherwise. It is much more intensively focused on the fabric. People use a lot more textile products for interior decoration of their homes. The same can be said about the USA. I think that the United Kingdom and New York markets are the biggest textile markets in the world. So, there is still a lot of potential and freedom of actions, which may be directed at attracting the attention of consumers to textile brands.
↑ Villa on Lake Geneva. Initially, Eric Kuster uses fabrics as decoration. Their functionality, acoustic modernization or protection against solar radiation disappears in the designer’s hands, but it is impossible not to notice them.
- Most of our projects start in the process of building a house. The whole process from the first sketches and drawings of architects, the design of the building itself and till the last phase of interior decoration can last two to three years. The finished result is a long journey that we must go hand in hand with the client. Therefore, communication between the client and the contractor is required – it’s just like a marriage, Eric Kuster laughs. Fortunately, most of my clientele are people who have ‘made themselves’. They managed to achieve a lot in life through positive thinking and passion towards their own business, but they have not lost ties with the traditions. This is what impresses me in them. I would be very pleased to do interior design in the house of David and Victoria Beckham. After all, they are one of the most famous couples in the world and, in addition, one of the best brands’.
Thanks to Eric Kuster for his sincere interview (Designtextiles)
↑ XV century country house
↑ Apartment in Rotterdam, Netherlands
↑ Villa in Mauritius
↑ Villa in Mauritius
↑ Resort Villa in Altea, Spain - upholstery:, Columbia '
↑ Apartment in Rotterdam
↑ Eric Kuster brand ‚Eric Kuster Metropolitan Luxury‘
↑ Eric Kuster
Copyrights: Anita Hakkental, Architonic Edition
pictures: Eric Kuster Metropolitan Luxury