People are constantly in motion and are controlled by their emotions .
” I enjoy as a designer to think of beautiful things and, as a professional stylist, to materialize these. It is a great experience to see that my creations are widely appreciated by many different people from all kinds of different cultures. This confirms my idea that the quality of a good design is universal. ”
Gerard van den Berg is a researcher and epicurean. The urge for adventure and his curiosity about ‘the other’ brought him as a young man hitchhiking to all corners of the world. His luggage consisted of a backpack, a keen observation and a creative open mind. During that time he discovered the beauty of simplicity and purity, and his love for natural forms and materials that would characterize his designs many years later.
Another basic experience from his youth is his training as a furniture maker.
“I have learned to execute the craft to technical perfection. Instructed by highly skilled craftsmen, I have learned to tinker with models and all kinds of materials and I tried out all kinds of production techniques. Thus, I know very well how people are sitting and how sitting furniture should be made. My technical knowledge is an essential contribution to my artistic creativity.”
Sitting furniture made by Gerard van den Berg in all respects is the result of designing and shaping. Furniture fit for the purpose they are intended for, namely sitting with comfort. That natural combination of creativity and craftsmanship ensures that many of his models are purchased by a global clientele. His models are sold worldwide.
The art of designing according to Gerard van den Berg is continuously thinking very pure. He focuses on a basic concept and avoids the inclination to decorate and complicate .
” I try to grasp the singular, pure form from the first sketch up to and including the final production. In my opinion a concept is not improved if you are constantly adding things. The power is not in the finery but lays in the essence of the keynote. As soon as you need finery there obviously is something missing in the concept itself. “
One of the innovations Gerard van den Berg has encouraged, in post-war furniture design, is the notion of not basically starting from the framework.
” Concerning the frame you are always tied to a particular gauge and this determines your design . If you take the lining as starting point , it usually gives you much more freedom in your options . For example, the hammock gave me the idea that, by smart use of the upholstering, you can create optimum comfort without needing a heavy interior construction. As a result, I was able to make my design nimble and slender yet sturdy and comfortable. At those moments I feel that the combination of creative thinking and knowledge of materials and technology is more than a simple addition.”
The furniture by Gerard van den Berg, without exception, suggests tension in design and choice of material. Clear straight lines contrast with a full, flowing seat shape. Hard metal supports soft furnishings such as supple leather. Cool against warm and colourful. Materials rich in character such as personally developed robust leather and pure types of wood highlight the design.
” I do not like to see furniture pieces stuck to the floor. Hence the elegance. The combination with the fuller, more organic shape, for me, is very natural. Consider the appearance of the woman or the racehorse. Without tension and contrast a design does not swing. It takes two to tango . ”
Gerard van den Berg has also designed high-profile models for Montis, Molteni, Wittmann and Lensvelt. During his long career, Gerard van den Berg received several prestigious awards, including the Kho Liang Price (1984), the Mobilia Innovation Award (1990), the Price for Interior Architecture (1991) and the prize for the best Dutch Furniture Design (1984 and 1997).