The Distinctive Style of Piet Boon
The work of influential Dutch designer Piet Boon, whose 'total concept' designs encompass architecture, interiors, furniture and more, is turning heads around the world, including the Caribbean.
Words by Natasha Were.
For carpenter turned globe-trotting designer, Piet Boon, the common thread that runs through his considerable body of work is balance: it’s all about balancing beauty and functionality, simplicity and sophistication.
Characterised by subdued colour schemes, minimalist forms and the use of natural materials, particularly wood and stone, Boon’s designs have, from the beginning, been endowed with a timeless quality – both in the sense that they are immune to changing trends and that they are created with longevity in mind.
In addition to designing cars, boats, wallpapers and, most recently kitchens, Boon has brought his distinctive style to bear on a dizzying array of projects across the world, from luxury penthouses in New York City to hotels in Vietnam and Vegas, and villas in Portugal, Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean.
As a child, Boon says, his dream was to own a huge construction company. Having cut his teeth in the carpentry world, he moved on to contracting, but once his ambition became reality, he says, the dream lost its lustre.
“In that line of work, you are always realising the designs of others and I found I was often having to implement ideas that sounded good on paper but didn’t work in practice. Or did work, but looked terrible.”
Sensing he could do better, in 1983 he began creating tailor made interiors for private homes himself - and thus Studio Piet Boon was born.
As the team has grown, the studio’s scope has expanded to offer a full concept service, designing the exteriors, interiors, product lines and styling.
It’s an approach that enables him to create a seamless, cohesive whole, where every shape and detail works in harmony, endowing each project with continuity and equilibrium.
Although his roots are in the Netherlands and his work takes him east and west, his heart, he says, is in Bonaire, an island he has been visiting for 25 years.
“Bonaire is not beautiful in the way other islands are, because it doesn’t have the endless sandy beaches,” he says. “But it’s the simplicity of it that I love. There are no high-rise buildings and no traffic lights. It’s just very laid back.”
Given his affinity for clean, uncomplicated aesthetics, Bonaire may be his ideal canvas and the 23 villas he has designed there give full expression to his unmistakable style: lofty ceilings allow the breeze to flow through, stone floors are cool underfoot and the interior palette of soft greens and greys is inspired by the local cactus and aloe vera plants. Sturdy, comfortable furniture invites relaxation within the whitewashed interiors with occasional pops of colour from throw cushions, works of art and personal keepsakes injecting just the right amount of Caribbean flair.
The sun, salt and wind can be harsh partners in a tropical climate, therefore when designing for the Caribbean Boon chooses durable natural materials – teak, cedar and coral – that not only withstand the elements, but will weather and colour beautifully over time, with no maintenance required.
Boon is now bringing his commitment to longevity and sustainability to bear on a new Caribbean development, Pearns Point in Antigua. A pristine peninsula with seven beaches, it will ultimately feature 67 luxury beach and hillside homes, all designed in such a way that the ecological impact is minimised, durability is maximised, and the visual effect, both close up and from a distance, is delightfully easy on the eye.
The same elegant design traits are recognisable throughout Boon’s projects, whether hospitality projects or collaborations with big name brands. But beyond his focus on creating lasting, timeless designs, what sets Boon apart from the crowd is that his work is conceived not only to look sensational, but also to be used, lived in and enjoyed.
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