After obtaining a degree in Interior Design at the Sint-Lukas Hogeschool Brussels, Maarten De Ceulaer decided to focus more on objects. His predilection for strong concepts led him to the Design Academy Eindhoven, where he graduated in 2008 with the projects ‘Pile Of Suitcases’ and ‘Nomad Light Molecule’. During his studies he won the Dynamo Young Belgian Designer Award 2007, and just a few months after his graduation he started collaborating with the renowned Italian gallery Nilufar. His works have been featured in many major design magazines and newspapers worldwide, and have been exhibited at Nilufar and Rossana Orlandi in Milan, Galerie BSL in Paris, Art & Rapy in Monaco, Mint in London, Victor Hunt in Brussels, and various exhibitions and fairs internationally, like Design Miami/Basel.

“I want to use my work to tell stories, to stir people’s emotions, to tickle their imagination or to make them wonder. A project can result from an observation of the society around me, or a reaction on something that simply crosses my path, but can as well be the expression of a very personal thought or feeling that I want to communicate to the world. I want to explore materials, and investigate and play with production techniques and crafts. Some projects are more functional in the traditional way, while others perform a function on a different level, the emotional aspect of objects is of equal importance.”

The Balloon Bowls are created by casting strong synthetic plaster into a balloon, after which a second balloon is inserted, and inflated. These two balloons act as flexible moulds, ensuring a unique shape for each and every bowl. Once the plaster is set, the balloons are removed, and a bowl appears. The colorants, which are added to the water prior to mixing it with the plaster powder, emerge differently each time again, creating uncontrolled and often spectacular color patterns. The bowls are finished with a special coating (matte or glossy) which reinforces the plaster, makes it waterproof and usable for many purposes, it is also dry food approved.

The process is an experimental review of a traditional ceramic practice. Instead of using porcelain or clay, plaster is used as the end material, not just as an inferior material to make moulds with. The project is all about serendipity; the parameters that influence the process are known, but still the result is always a guess, and never turns out exactly the way you expect it.