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    Albert Potgieter

    Albert Potgieter

    1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

    I was born in Stellenbosch, South Africa, grew up in South Africa, but currently I live in Rotterdam, Netherlands

    2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

    My first memory of the art world is seeing my grandmother doing wood carving with her chisels on her kitchen table.

    3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

    No, I was a Physiotherapist in South Africa and started my business in 2017 when my wife and I moved to Rotterdam, Netherlands, but I only started designing and making functional art in 2019.

    4. What led you to the design creation ?

    I had an idea to design a sustainable furniture piece and as I started to play around with the idea and with some off cut pieces of wood, it started to develop into the first Optique Bench. From this design developed a whole range of different pieces and a style that is now seen in all my pieces.

    5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

    My creative process, most often, firstly starts with me drawing really rough pictures of the ideas I have in my head, then I will start to sift through it to see what is the best design. After this it can take two roots. 1. I draw a design on the CAD program I use and then start the building process or 2. I sometimes just start playing around with scrap wood pieces and start the building process straight away. Nr. 2 has often produced really nice pieces and it is a really interesting and a fun process for me as well.

    6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

    I would start most days with a coffee at my workshop, follow up on some emails and then do the planning for the day. This looks like writing my to do list for the day on the white board in the workshop. After this I would be in the workshop either designing a new piece, making an existing design or teaching someone on a design piece

    7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

    I fell in love with wood for its versatility and because every piece is different. It’s alive. It’s amazing. I am intrigued by the lines and patterns that wood produces. It’s like it gives back while I’m working on it.

    8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

    The most technical part of my designs are in the gluing process. Making sure every piece is glued strong and at the right angle and this needs to be repeated for every piece.

    9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

    Don’t be afraid to start. We often wait for the perfect idea or design before we want to start and mull it over and over, but most of the time you have to just start with what you get. A small idea often develops into something more.

    10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

    It would probably fit in between Modern Art Deco and brutalist, because of its repetition and strong lines. I like to think of my pieces as elegant brutalist pieces 😉

    11. What designers have influenced you ?

    I have been influenced a lot in my early days by mid century designers from furniture pieces I did restorations on
    Angelo Mangiarotti
    Pierre Chappo
    Sergio Rodriques
    Nerone e Patuzzi

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    Arno Declercq
    George Nakashima
    Fernweh woodworking
    David Kruynauw

    13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

    Arno Declercq
    George Nakashima
    Angelo Mangiarotti
    Pierre Chapo
    Antoni Gaudi

    14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

    Functional Art

    Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
    (The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    BBQ in a park on a summer sunshine day with my Wife and playing with my daughter

    2. What is your greatest fear?


    3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    Double guessing myself

    4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

    Being fake, pretending

    5. Which living person do you most admire?

    Gary Snowzell

    6. What is your greatest extravagance?

    Buying knives

    7. What is your current state of mind?

    At peace

    8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

    Pride, a very dangerous virtue

    9. What is the quality you most like in a man ?


    10. What is the quality you most like in a woman ?


    11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    “Lekker” – means ‘nice’ in Afrikaans, my native language (South Africa)

    12. Which talent would you most like to have?

    Good communicator

    13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    Exchange my doubt into confidence

    14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    Catching a great woman like my wife

    15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

    I would come back as a dog, they have the greatest time

    16. Where would you most like to live?

    South Africa, Cape Town

    17. What is your most treasured possession?

    My little Martin guitar

    18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Losing a child

    19. What is your favorite occupation?

    Being a designer

    20. What is your most marked characteristic?

    My Smile

    21. What do you most value in your friends?


    22. Who are your favorite writers?

    John Bevere, Craig Groeschel

    23. Who is your hero of fiction?

    Captain America

    24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    Nelson Mandela. He had a big impact in South Africa and I admire him very much

    25. Who are your heroes in real life?

    My dad
    My previous Physiotherapy boss
    The head Pastor at our church – Inspirational man

    26. What are your favorite names?

    Alexander, Joshua, Daniel

    27. What is it that you most dislike?


    28. What is your greatest regret?

    Not being more confident when I was younger

    29. How would you like to die?

    Without me knowing it

    30. What is your motto?

    Don’t be afraid of failing and when you do fail, stand up and fight harder

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