Design & Decoration S03 ep19 : Michael Bihain, Bihain Designs, [Brussels]

Interview with Michael Bihain

Having trained as a butcher and as a carpenter, Michaël Bihain studied interior design at the St Luc Institute in Liège and at the University of Hull in England. He is currently working with companies and distribution firms on developing furniture, jewels and accessories. He has set up the BIHAINprod studio in London which deals exclusively with the conception of unique creations for private customers. Michaël Bihain also produces some of his products such as ‘OYON’, the first mural fruit basket. He currently teaches furniture conception at the St Luc Institute. His works are regularly exposed at exhibitions in Paris, London, Milan and some of his pieces are part of the permanent collection of the Seoul’s Design Museum. He has been nominated for the ‘Award Design Report’ in Milan 2007, won the ‘Help for creation and innovation’ prize and has been chosen to design the furniture of the British Council in Paris. 


I design furniture, I design interior.

My work, I’m looking for making furniture without anything else interests and so … and the
minimum of material but with something that people can play with.

It’s me doing creation.

When I was eight years with a cigar box from my parents I put like a special box and I sell it to my
friend so it’s for the long time that I’m drawing and creating things.

I used to be self employed as a carpenter and I stopped one year after and I said oh, I don’t want to
do that any more. I have to … I have to keep going with my one creation.

It’s help also to be a butcher, that’s where I draw my first because when you cut meat in your
wooden plate you get some, when you scratch it with your knife it was my first drawing, I started
to draw like that before to have a painting and painter so it’s helped me and I can think how good
it is to know this kind of volumes here. It’s very magic. I studied interior design in L… in the
French part of Belgium and then started to think about interior and how people can live in with
better and things.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

We can speak about Italian design because there’s a, and Scandinavian design also but Belgium
design I don’t know, it’s more like some nice people who work the wrong way and very fresh.

I went to Milan to show my first piece of furniture and then every year we go there and you have a
few places, you have the F__ where I put some pieces, you have the Z__ where I make the …
sometimes too, satellite where I went to for it’s a place for young designer who showing the piece
and it’s working great well to find some new stuff.

I used to work four years in London. I designed like piece for private people. Since I’ve been in
Brussels for five years I’m designing product.

I’m just interested in one piece, it’s a foot holder, very easy to produce so I don’t have to have any
stock anything so it’s easy for me. This one I’m selling to the hotels and the good clients or that’s
why. And we just start a big building in Dubai like a big tower, we collaborate with one architect.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

This piece I draw it the first time because I wanted to have a table like from the profile is a table,
people like not a piece of meat but like a big piece and so the profile is just the same as a classic
table but the middle it’s completely different with the weight of the people and if you saw just
underneath how it’s built it became hard when you see it because the whole piece are quite
different with different so it’s not free possible to build it in industry is too expensive.

That’s why it’s interesting me to be involved in that kind of industry. I appreciate to think about
something to produce to have a mass production but also to have one or 10 piece and every piece
it’s very different from each other and it’s very interesting.

This is not the difference between art and designs. I think if this table could be in plastic the
graphic could be the same but maybe you can sell 800 piece per month or you know the kind of
piece that is just impact the … and the difference it’s a bit more when I’m seeing this I could feel
the same between art and design. It’s a product, it’s produced but I’m still for myself I think that it
could be a nice piece.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I do not factor any more, I used to do that three years ago in London and when I came here I stop it
also. Okay it’s another job, I prefer keep creating and I live it for the best.

When I’ve started to think about it you have to design the furniture you have to think about
materials, everything and life and … me for the room, it’s not the same factor it’s not the same …
but the game to find it, it’s the same.

The way to find the … is the same in the brain but not the factor, not the creature, but the way to
find the pleasure is the same.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

If I don’t draw it still keep going to find some shape and things so I drew.

It’s like everyday you draw, you draw, you draw and one day you it’s like a … and also because
maybe it’s a good time for the economy or the politics to came with this kind of shape and this
kind of production so pfft.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Michael Bihain, Bihain Design, Brussels