This Journal post offers a look into the life blood of Verellen – our people.
Today we dive into Paul Delaisse: Design and Space Planning, Former Owner of Central Station Interiors, and New Verellen Team Member.
Hi Paul! How is it going with your new role at Verellen?
Great! The transition of Central Station to Verellen has been really smooth. It is exciting to be all under one umbrella – to join forces and bring our capabilities up to a higher level. Central Station’s most successful designs blend into the line seamlessly. This was very important to me.
How did you become a furniture designer?
I have always been a visual person. Initially making two-dimensional works, I enjoyed a very classical education in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. My work later progressed to three-dimensional work, which then led to furniture design and space planning for stores and showrooms. The voyage of materializing ideas and concepts is what is most interesting in the process. I am very fortunate to have the advice of our engaged engineers.
Since you mentioned “materializing,” what are your materials of choice?
We hand select woods from indigenous areas and look for distinctive timbers to craft our unique pieces. This is essential to making a product the best it can be. Just like a cook; the meal you prepare will only be as good as the ingredients you use! For the frames, we stick to FSC Certified Maple.
And then we have all our fabrics – a brand new world for me where Sabine is my gracious guide! Here too, we favor the linens that have the most natural hand. The conscious and natural choice of working with renewable materials has been given to us Belgians with a spoon. It is not a trend, but a mindset from a very young age.
What was the piece you first designed?
The first series I designed were tables with a metal base and leather tops. All handmade with great attention to details, and most importantly made without compromises! These pieces came to life when I got a hold of the finest leathers used for Ferrari seats.
Funny enough Tom saw these and put them in the first Verellen showroom in 1999! We also designed the space together. Good times! Meanwhile, we have both matured and accumulated knowledge, but the enthusiasm and quest for the right balance of proportions and materials is still the same. Technology and engineering has evolved, but it is still so enjoyable to work hands on. We can design pieces on our screens with precision and speed, but the hands on process is, by far, the most gratifying.
The pieces ask to be touched, placed, sit or laid on. People gather, share meals, and have conversations around a table. Families come together on the sofa after a long day. Kids jump on the sofa with the pups in the morning… That’s when designs come to life.
The use of a piece is important in the design process. What else is inspiring you?
Every piece has its presence in a space. It should resonate within the environment. As I said, I started with paintings. Those are two dimensional. I still exercise the ability to see spaces and objects in two dimensions. Simply put, you can see everything flat in front of you like a photograph or a drawing. There you see the outlines best with positive and negative space. What is on the left of a line and what is on the right of the line? It is the best way of measuring a visual balance.
When designing, I am interested in the structure, respecting it, as well as challenging it. Architecture is the same and can be very inspiring. Many answers can be found when observing nature. After all, nature is the provider of our basic materials. For example, understanding the growth of a tree helps me to understand how to use and respect the material in its new form.
What do you feel you are bringing to Verellen?
First off, I bring my respect to a well built and welcoming business! I also bring my experience in designing and building heirloom furniture. Central Station has been fortunate to serve the same customer base in its own niche. I have the advantage of speaking the same language as Tom and Sabine, and I don’t mean “Belgianese.” But rather, the language of understanding of comfort, luxury, or the day to day. This helps expand the horizon of the Verellen DNA.
What makes you get up in the morning?
Our dogs… and my coffee duty for lovely Dawn Sweitzer!
Lastly; How do you live?
Dawn and I have embraced North Carolina! We have found a good balance in the country. We have a small farm that was built in 1911, nestled amidst cattle, horses, chickens and dogs. There is plenty to keep me busy and beautiful spots to relax. The house is all original. We have exposed the bones of the farmhouse and opened up the small rooms. We have allowed ourselves the luxury of curating pieces as we need them. No rush. A home is like life; always in progress.