For Design Miami 2012, Industry highlighted the work of two emerging Belgian designers: Maarten de Ceulaer and Jens Praet. Industry commissioned three collections for the fair, each of which highlighted the diverse materials and methods employed by these two young designers. De Ceulaer’s “Mutation Series” consisted of seating that looked as if had been grown organically, each piece employing a unique form mirroring the mutation of cells. The series also provided a contemporary take on classic upholstered furniture—recalling the famous and iconic “Chesterfield” sofas updated for a 21st-Century audience. With its velvet-like finish, each piece of the Mutation Series dazzled with its soft, uniquely handcrafted form. Praet presented two collection at the Design Miami: “Dressed” and “Shredded Collection: Elle Décor Edition,” a collaboration between the designer and the magazine that updated Praet’s famous “Shredded Collection” of design made from recycled paper. In “Dressed,” Praet created a trompe l'oeil---a series of classic furniture forms that appear “dressed” in leather or fabric yet which are actually functional art objects made of bronze dresses and brass under-structures. The designer took leftover and discarded fabric, which was then submerged in hot wax, then draped and shaped by hand over a rigid mold and consequently cast in bronze. To create the lush layering atop the brass frame, each bronzed fabric surface is patinated with the familiar oxidized green color. With “Shredded Collection: Elle Décor Edition,” the designer collaborated with the magazines and its editor in chief Michael Boodro, to create a unique series of furniture made out of recycled, shredded back issues of the magazine. Said Boodro: "We like to think that every issue of Elle Decor, both brand new and from months back, provides inspiration to our readers. But we were especially delighted with what our back issues inspired the wonderful designer Jens Praet to create."
The presentation marked the first-ever all Belgian contemporary design exhibition at Design Miami, and was widely-covered in the international design media.
Nadja Swarovski selected the “Low Organic Chair” from de Ceulaer’s “Mutation Series” as her favorite work at Design Miami 2012, citing the organic form of the piece and its unique material. https://www.artsy.net/article/design-miami-slash-nadja-swarovskis-favorite-work-at-design-miami-slash#!
MODERN Magazine also took notice of de Ceulaer’s work, which the magazine said “look like they weren’t made by hands, but have grown to their present form organically. The Mutation pieces make you look at furniture a different way.”http://www.modernmag.com/?p=2519
Praet’s collections also received praise, with Gizmag applauding Praet “Shredded Collection” for “upcycling gloss mags intoe eye-catching furniture…The overall visual effect is striking: predominantly monotone but with flecks of color. From a distance, it looks rather like granite.”http://www.gizmag.com/jens-praet-shredded/25397/
DesignBoom also marveled at the tremendous craftsmanship and detailing of Praet’s “Dressed Collection,” noting they resembled “functional art objects” more than traditional furniture.http://www.designboom.com/design/dressed-collection-by-jens-praet/