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In Profile:
Interior Studio van Maanen

In Profile: Interior Studio van Maanen

Shortlisted: Interior Design Scheme - Europe

The International Design & Architecture Awards 2024

Name: Sebastiaan van Maanen
Company: Interior Studio van Maanen
Position within company: Owner / Head of design


Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

My background in design is quite diverse and multidisciplinary. I initially started my career as a graphic designer, where I honed my skills in visual communication, typography, and branding. However, my passion for architecture led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Architecture. This provided me with a solid foundation in understanding structural principles, spatial design, and building technology.
Building upon this, I furthered my education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Academy of Architecture. This advanced degree allowed me to delve deeper into architectural theory, urban design, and sustainable practices, enriching my design perspective

How would you describe your personal design style?

“Sophisticated Simplicity” with a touch of “warm minimalism” involves creating designs that are elegant and refined yet warm and inviting, while maintaining a minimalist aesthetic. It combines the elegance of simple designs with the comforting warmth of natural materials and an inviting atmosphere, resulting in spaces that are both timeless and welcoming.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

My inspiration largely stems from Belgian interior architecture, with Hans Verstuyft and Vincent van Duysen being significant influences. However, throughout my studies, I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese and Scandinavian styles

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Design is increasingly focused on creating comforting and well-designed interiors, as people seek solace from the fast pace of modern life. This shift reflects a desire for spaces that prioritize comfort and relaxation, contributing to a sense of sanctuary within the home.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

When it comes to design schemes, my advice to “keep it simple” emphasizes the importance of clarity, coherence, and functionality. By focusing on simplicity, designers can avoid clutter and unnecessary complexity, allowing key elements to stand out and creating a sense of harmony within the space.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?

As a designer, being recognized and awarded at The International Design & Architecture Awards holds great importance. It signifies validation and acknowledgment of the creativity, innovation, and effort invested in the design process.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are working on several private residential projects ranging between 250 and 600 square meters each. These projects involve designing bespoke homes tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the clients, focusing on creating spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Additionally, I’m also involved in projects for developers, where we’re tasked with creating high-end residences designed for sale in the luxury real estate market.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?

Each project has its own unique qualities and challenges, making it difficult to choose a favorite. I find immense satisfaction in projects where clients grant me creative freedom to design according to my vision, allowing me to explore innovative ideas and push the boundaries of design. However, I also appreciate projects where clients are deeply involved and eager to collaborate, as this engagement fosters a dynamic exchange of ideas and ultimately leads to a more personalized and satisfying outcome. Therefore, I cannot single out a specific project as my favorite, as each one offers its own set of rewards and opportunities for growth.

What was your most challenging project to work on and why?

One of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on involved the transformation of a church into 10 residential units. The project presented several unique obstacles, primarily due to the building’s location at the center of a closed city block and the significant resistance from the local community regarding the change in function.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Over the next twelve months, our aim is to continue doing what we do best: delivering exceptional projects with full dedication and commitment, while also ensuring that our clients feel supported and taken care of throughout the process. We strive to maintain our high standards of quality, innovation, and client satisfaction in every project we undertake.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations: Your most treasured possession?

My wife and 3 beautiful kids

Your favourite holiday destination?

Austria in the mountains

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?

Always looking for new exciting places, so I don’t have a favourite at the moment.

Your favourite book, film & song?

Gladiator, Una Rosa Blanca – Ibrahim Maalouf

Your favourite food and drink?

Pork belly Korean style, Bourbon ginger ale

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

Starting with a dynamic and invigorating workout session like CrossFit or padel allows me to release energy, stay active, and maintain physical fitness. Afterward, unwinding on the couch and indulging in a captivating series provides the perfect balance of relaxation and entertainment.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

If I weren’t a designer, I imagine I would pursue a career in the military. The structured environment, opportunities for leadership, and sense of purpose and service appeal to me.

Anything else interesting?

A day without riding a motorcycle is a wasted day.

Photography: Darren Chung

Interior Studio van Maanen has been shortlisted for Interior Design Scheme Europe Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2024.

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The International Design & Architecture Awards 2024
are organised by design et al and sponsored by:

Sylka Carpets
Joseph Giles

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