What does the ideal dining table look like to someone who dedicates her life to beauty? Serax asked the Paris-Antwerp art director, Elisabeth Mestdagh. Her answer: a virtual 3D world in which Vincent van Duysen’s minimalism spins, swirls and turns.
Elisabeth, please introduce yourself.
“I am Elisabeth, and five years ago, I founded Studio M, which focuses on graphic design and art direction. I have been able to build an attractive fashion portfolio because, during my studies, I often designed the portfolios of Antwerp fashion students; they were always imposing print works. After an internship at Baron & Baron in New York, the world of art direction opened up for me. As an art director, you create basic concepts and visuals from scratch, while graphic design usually lets you work with existing imagery, such as photos. We focus primarily on digital, visual identities, photography, video and 3D campaigns. Our customers are located in various luxury segments such as fashion, gastronomy, art and design. I like to speak in the “we” form because, together with other creatives, I form a changing team of two to five people.”
Your dream table was designed completely digitally. How did you go about it?
“Indeed, we designed the entire table set digitally. Here, we chose the Passe-Partout tableware by Vincent van Duysen for Serax. This tableware consists of white plates with or without a decorative black stripe, supplemented with meticulously pared-down cutlery and glassware. We built further on this sobriety. The result is a collection of moving 3D visuals in black and white, rich in spirals and fluid shapes. We turned the black stripes from the collection into playful visuals of light and contrast.”
"We turned the black stripes from the collection into playful visuals of light and contrast"
Why did you choose Passe-Partout from Serax?
“I admire Vincent van Duysen. From little Antwerp he has managed to conquer the whole world. I am also from Antwerp. Although I work often in Paris now, I maintain a strong bond with my city. The place is full of creatives. Besides our common home town, I think Vincent has a crystal clear and recognisable style. Although at Studio M we like to be playful, we share a deep love for minimalism with him. In fact, this dream table forms the perfect symbiosis between our playfulness and sobriety. It demonstrates that minimalism doesn’t have to be strict.”
The collaboration between Studio M and Serax is full of fluidity. Why is that?
“I come from the graphics industry, and graphics are usually quite static. It’s a world of letters, logos, posters and books. During my internship in New York, I saw the amazing power and possibilities of the moving image. On social media, video has also become very dominant. Hence, I looked into it. In addition, the Serax collections are very rewarding material to work with in 3D software. The pared-down shapes lend themselves perfectly to it. It also helps that these are solid objects. For example, textiles and liquids are more difficult to manipulate digitally.
Don’t you miss that this dream table doesn’t exist in real life?
“As a student, I worked very manually and analogically. During the first years after my studies, I found it difficult to let go of the material world and its tactility. But now I am glad that this has been achieved. Even though most of our work only lives online — and you can make it disappear with one click — it still feels real. In the meantime, I find the digital world is equally as worthy as real life.”