Interview with designer Bertjan Pot
Today we have a special article for you, an interview with the Dutch designer Bertjan Pot. He has designed several beautiful lamps, for Moooi among others. During this interview, we will find out more about his background, his projects, and his vision of the world of lighting.
dmLights: First of all we want to thank you for participating in this interview. Perhaps you could introduce yourself to the readers who do not know you. Tell us a little about your background – where you come from and how you arrived in the world of design.
Bertjan Pot: My name is Bertjan Pot, and I was born in Nieuwleusen, Overijssel. When people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I always wanted to be a draftsman. I thought it was the perfect combination – engineering and drawing, all in one profession.
Fortunately, I found out just before my eighteenth birthday that the profession I aspired to was called ‘designer’. I studied at the Academy of Industrial Design in Eindhoven which was later known as the Design Academy. A year after my studies (in 2000) I went to Rotterdam, where I still live.
dmLights: Some readers may know you as the designer of the Random Light, a pendant lamp that has appeals to the taste of many people. Can you tell us a little more about the process you went through to design this lamp? Where did you get the inspiration for this design and how did you end up collaborating with Moooi?
Bertjan Pot: The Random Light was one of the first things I created after my graduation. For my Finals project, I had used a glass fibre knitting technique and hardened the fibre with resin. Knitting was later seen as very time-consuming. Just winding a wire around an inflated balloon also seemed to produce a good result. After 2 years of making this lamp myself, Moooi asked whether they could start manufacturing it. And that is precisely what happened…
dmLights: Over the years, you have built up an extensive and diversified portfolio. Which of these was your favourite? What did you like/find interesting/challenging about this project?
Bertjan Pot: I do not really have a favourite. My specific preference is for doing something totally different after a little research. That’s precisely the challenge. Thus after developing a carbon chair for example, I designed a wood-clad steel table, a 3D knitted cover for a chair, some masks, and a stepladder decorated with carnival lights.
dmLights: What would be your dream project? Why?
Bertjan Pot: I do not have a dream project – I do not look that far into the future. The fun is in just turning each project into a great project.
dmLights: If you could have a good conversation with any person (including a person from the past), who would you choose? And why that particular person?
Bertjan Pot: No idea. I do not have to speak to the people whom I admire a lot – I would not know what to say to them. I prefer to look at their work. That’s the beauty of designs – that you communicate through your work. If you need to talk too much about it then there is something wrong.
dmLights: A lot of people struggle with the choice of lighting for their home. They often find it difficult to choose the right lighting, and are unable to see the wood for the trees. What tips can you give them to help them?
Bertjan Pot: I am a supporter of downlighters, or lamps that only give light downwards. More preferably through a large reflecting surface, so that the beam is diffused.
The key to the lamp is that it provides light beautifully.
Many people hang a chandelier above the table, but if they want to work, they have to add another light, and if they want to dine, the lamp is switched off, and candles are lighted. With a good downlighter, this is unnecessary (thus if we are talking about my products, it is better to have a Non Random Light or Led Zeppelin than a Random Light above the table).
dmLights: How do you see the lighting industry in the Benelux evolving? Are there significant technological changes or trends in interior design that we should take into account?
Bertjan Pot: I think LED lights are constantly getting better, but still have a long way to go.
The downside is that LEDs are rapidly improving. Thus by the time you have developed one lamp, better products are already on the market that are also always more affordable. As a result, many people wait to see which way the wind is blowing when it comes to LED lighting. And that adversely affects distribution speed. But an LED lamp with an E27 socket… I imagine we would be laughing very hard about it around 10 years from now.
dmLights: We agree with you. Thanks once again for this great interview!
Curious about other creations by Bertjan Pot?
View all Bertjan Pot lamps for Moooi