With the Binôme project, the Contemporary Design Market encourages the exploration for more diversity from within, setting up a dialogue between a Belgian designer and an artist from a different cultural background. Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi examine who they are, what sets them apart, and what values they hold dear. In this short conversation, we get to know both designers, and how they came closer to each other. At the Contemporary Design Market on 24 and 25 September in Tour & Taxis, you’ll discover the full series of objects they developed together.

Gilles Mayk Navangi and Pieter Bostoen

Gilles Mayk Navangi and Pieter Bostoen © Hanne Debaere

Pieter Bostoen is a multifaceted designer working in the field of interior design, graphic design, product design and art. He  believes that good design is a cross-over between those different disciplines. Gilles Mayk Navangi is a painter, illustrator and sculptor. His work focuses on the phenomenon of civilization, with a particular interest in African cultures and traditions.

Sketches for the Binôme collection by Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi

Pieter: What is your favourite power? 

Mayk: The power of time

Pieter: Enlightenment

Mayk: Are you religious?

Pieter: Not really. If yes, more spiritual like Shintoism connected to nature

Mayk: I believe in energy and vibrations

Mayk: What kind of shapes do you prefer?

Pieter: Geometrical

Mayk: Organic

Pieter: What is the thing that stimulates your creativity the most?

Mayk: Research and talk to likeminded people

Pieter: Conversations

Pieter: What is your favourite animal?

Mayk: Lion

Pieter: Cat

Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi

Crane bird object by Pieter Bostoen & Gilles Mayk Navangi

Pieter: What is most important to you? 

Mayk: Friends and family

Pieter: Family and friends

Mayk: What are your most important principles?

Pieter: Freedom and justice

Mayk: Freedom, peace, equality

Pieter: Do you like to partner or work solo?

Mayk: I like both but I’m more used to work alone

Pieter: Both, but partnering mostly

Mayk: What skill would you like to have?

Pieter: Patience

Mayk: I would liked to be multilingual

Pieter: What countries would you still like to visit?

Mayk: Egypt

Pieter: New Zealand and Australia

Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi

Whale object by Pieter Bostoen & Gilles Mayk Navangi

Mayk: What is your favourite food?

Pieter: Spaghetti

Mayk: Banana plantin

Pieter: What is your ethnic background?

Mayk: Congolese from Kinshasa

Pieter: Flemish / Northern French

Mayk: What is your favourite part of the creative process?

Pieter: The end result

Mayk: The reflection and the beginning of the formatting

Pieter: What do you do to clear your mind?

Mayk: I walk

Pieter: I go cycling

Pieter: What is the most important thing for you in a production?

Mayk: The relationship between content and form

Pieter: The client and my crew

Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi

Turtle object by Pieter Bostoen & Gilles Mayk Navangi

How can we visualize what is close to us? 

Mayk: Animals 

What material connects us? 

Pieter: Earth 

What is our inspiration? 

Mayk: Interaction between humans and animals 

So what are we in need of? 

Pieter: Spirituality 

So how do we get there? 

Mayk: Connection

Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi

Lion object by Pieter Bostoen & Gilles Mayk Navangi

The main themes that emerged were: spirituality, humanity, energy, nature, positivity, color and interaction.

This dialogue was used as the starting point to investigate what unites them, and to look for a common language that embraces both cultures. The idea emerged of making objects symbolising endangered animals, while being related to nature and vegetation. These objects are jars, totems, meditative sculptures, which advocate contemplation and benevolence towards the animal kingdom. Through this project, they wish to draw attention to the tragic fate of certain animals due to the profit and exploitation of biodiversity. They chose to work with clay, as a universal material across cultures, as a material that has traditionally been used in various walks of life. 

At CDM, they will present the handmade collection consisting of 10 coloured objects. The collection will also go into production and will be released by Serax in 2023 with 5 objects made from different unpainted clay materials.

Pieter Bostoen and Gilles Mayk Navangi

Elephant object by Pieter Bostoen & Gilles Mayk Navangi