The Cutlery Project

Embracing The Inner Child With Rough Designs For Forks, Knives And Spoons

Introducing the wonderful, deliberately youthful designs of renowned Dutch designer Maarten Baas. In a unique collaboration for design label Valerie Objects, Maarten has, along with a cohort of other international designers, created a collection of especially drawn-up kitchen appliances: The Cutlery Project was born.


Sticking to a style that favours a semblance of rough sketch, these knives, forks and spoons are primitive and tailored for a rustic setting. Imagine a cutlery equivalent to the comic-sans font type. “I like the spontaneity of quick drawings, which often gets lost in the production process,” he tells us. “It’s as if the products are made in 5 minutes, but still finished and properly functional.”


This certainly adds a quirk to everyday eating appliances, bringing strands of humour to the act of eating. Amazingly, while these products look flimsy and insubstantial, the practical strength of their applicability for use remains intact. Seemingly paper-thin and equally weightless, we can yet imagine actually jamming food on the end of one of his forks, or sweeping up soup with the beautifully designed spoon? And the knife is certainly a firm favourite, with its delightfully jagged edges that fondly remind cartoon fans of David Firth’s Salad Fingers series.

Based near ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the south of the Netherlands, Maarten has his own designated studio with his design-partner Bas den Herder. We had a chat with him to learn of his thoughts:

The Plus: How did you get involved with The Cutlery Project?
Maarten Baas:
Valerie traan asked me to make a cutlery set, and I really liked the idea. I always thought of something like that, but it doesn’t cross my path that often since it’s really a mass-production thing which is not my specialism.


TP: The Valerie Objects tells us that your designs seemed to have gone “from sketch directly to the factory”. What’s the philosophy behind this method for you?
The whole man-made world is full of things that are within the restrictions of straight lines, perfect curves, symmetry and so on. Nature is much more flexible and versatile. Children often make more interesting drawings than graduated artists. Where did that beauty go in the design world, I wonder? I think there’s so much beauty in these kinds of “imperfect” lines, it’s actually so illogical to control that by rulers and precision tools. The machine dictates our taste. I want to turn that idea around.


TP: Who or what are your biggest influences in the art and design world?
I take it from anywhere, from a lot of people from within the design world, but also outside of it. Non-designers often make very cool designs. Much more pure and spontaneous.

TP: What else is happening for you this year?
I’m currently working on 4 solo shows (NY, Milan, Eindhoven and Groningen) and besides that quite some other interesting projects are happening.