Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis’s pure and elegant Rotterdam loft is a good introduction to her sensibility, even though there’s not much of her own work in it. Raised in New Zealand, Marcelis returned to the Netherlands to study at Design Academy Eindhoven before founding her own firm—“a studio for material, installation, and object design,” as her website puts it, “forever in search of magical moments within materiality and manufacturing processes to create unexpected experiences”—in 2012.
Since then, working mostly with pigmented resin, glass, and neon, Marcelis has produced a range of seductive objects in which perfection of form and lusciousness of surface are privileged over conventional function. Not to say that pieces like Candy Cubes—gorgeously colored blocks of highly polished cast resin—are not useful side tables, but it’s the spellbinding way their translucent edges appear to dematerialize that touches the imagination. Similar through-the-looking-glass effects attend Offround Hue, a family of tinted mirrors in hand-drawn shapes that provide playfully unexpected reflections. They are part of Seeing Glass, an ongoing collaborative project with fellow Eindhoven graduate Brit van Nerven, in which industrial glass manufacturers allow the designers to explore methods of working, coloring, and layering the material.
Lighting is another Marcelis preoccupation. In the Dawn Lights series, a single white neon tube embedded in a resin disc conjures the time of day when sun, sky, and clouds create an intense yet fleeting spectacle. Totem Lights continue the exploration of illuminative effects by threading glowing neon ribbons through stacked blocks of resin. And light—in the sense of wit and charm—pervades such pieces as Lazy Susan, a collaboration with her boyfriend, architect Paul Cournet, that’s a luxe marble-and-resin take on the old communal-table standby.