Frans Van Praet (° 1937) is often mentioned in the same breath as Pieter De Bruyne and Emile Veranneman, designers who broke with the tradition of rigid functionalism and introduced colour into the Flemish furniture landscape in the 1980s. Similar to the Italian Memphis movement, their postmodern design language is being rediscovered by today’s younger generations.
As a designer and artist, he mainly gained prominence with the interior design of the Belgian Pavilion at the World Exhibition in Seville (1992) and his iconic Seville seat.
Art and the philosophy of art are a constant theme throughout the work of Van Praet. His 'object furniture' or 'homage furniture' dedicated to leading artists such as Magritte and Rietveld, were extremely important throughout his career to counterbalance work in serial production on behalf of furniture manufacturers.
It stands there….
It stands there
of no use
I look at it
and let its form wash over me
or I'm indifferent and I go
which, then again, was not intended
but not a disappointment either.
That is the fate that befalls objects.
I look at them and sense a feeling of tranquillity, like when I listen to music.
Seeing becomes listening
peace becomes movement as though the wood is in perpetual motion.
Does this motionless object live?
Language endeavours to encompass what objects see.
But do objects ask it to?
Is not this the reverse-engineering of a mind, an unfathomable imagination?
Does this not disprove the power of the imagination ...!
Frans Leon Van Praet, 2011