Frederik Rombach is one of the most renowned glass artist living in Europe today. His work is memorable and filled with his personal life experiences. One of this experiences was the time he spent in his teenage years living and working in San Diego California with renowned artist James Hubbell and his son Drew Hubbell. With a globe trotting life experiences and architectural/engineering studies Rombach represents a very contemporary expression on glass making.
Rombach’s move to Antwerp signalled a new form of professionalism with the opening of the first Rombach shop. Rombachs is now selling exclusive glass work ranging from the old techniques of stained glass to glass blown lamps, vases and other glass objects.
Every pieces is carefully crafted and handmade in the Atelier of Rombachs. The source materials are mostly bottles, and throwaway glass.
Pendant by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?
Frederik Rombach – I spent some time living and working in San Diego working for Hubbell & Hubbell Artists and Architects. That influenced me greatly. It was great to see very free form, expertly handcrafted objects and architectural elements being incorporated into sustainable design. I learnt a lot there! I grew up in South Africa near Johannesburg, and there as well I was exposed to hands-on objects and clever creativity. And then of course, the kings of improvisational designs that I learnt from; The A-team!
Decanter by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – What is design for you?
Frederik Rombach – As a craftsman the designs I make have a lot to with trial and error. As a result the objects are based on a set guideline and they vary according to how the material let’s it, and of course how I change my working process with the material! Design should start looking towards finding back its uniqueness. I need to see work with emotion, with sweat and something more than thought. It needs to be alive!
Glasses by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – Why is glass your favourite material and media to work with?
Frederik Rombach – What I love about glass is that I have do so many things at the same time. It’s like a constant war, and every now and then I win a small battle. The more you learn and the better you get at it, the more you figure out that there is still so much more to learn. I love that!
Glass Bowl by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – Do you remember what was the first glass piece you work on, and what is the last one?
Frederik Rombach – I started making 2d windows in stained glass when I was about 20. Now at 37 I am starting sculpting with molten glass. Last week I made a Gun-Lamp. Everyone with an itchy triggerfinger should own one.
Yellow Vase by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – What is your favourite piece that you have designed?
Frederik Rombach – I have perfected the ceiling lamps, lamps blown from out from bottles.They are awesome!
Glass Lamp by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – What do you think has more of an influence on your work, your personal lifestyle, the current trends in design, or nowadays your experience of living in Antwerp, Belgium?
Frederik Rombach – For me it’s mostly the people I meet that influence me. I do a lot of social artistic work in the lesser developed areas of cities. I like seeing how people deal with themselves, each other and their surroundings.
Glass Vase by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – Your glass pieces are very unique and memorable. You have achieved something really difficult with the aesthetics of your product and that is to give them such a recognizable identity. Once people see your glass pieces, they know you designed them. How do you achieve this? How were you able to create such a strong signature style?
Frederik Rombach – Trial and error. Just doing it a lot, and keeping the idea sharp. The basis of the recycled products is that everything should be as efficient as possible. I try to not only perfect the product but also the tools and the packaging. It needs time and effort to make it all come together. And again, it doesn’t just happen; you make stuff, it’s not quite right, and then you start refining. That process never really ends. To the consumer the products might look like they are done, but really this is just a point in the whole process that the products are presented.
Glass Pendant by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – What is the best advice you could give to somebody who is new in the world of design?
Frederik Rombach – Become an inventor!
Glass Vase by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – 5 things you can’t live without?
Frederik Rombach – Jelly Beans, Glass, Sunshine, Surfing, Wine.
Glass Pendants by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – In your opinion, what is the most beautiful object you have ever seen and why?
Frederik Rombach – Recently I visited Sarrebourg (France) to see Marc Chagall’s monumental piece “La Paix”. A 12 meter high stained glass design that blew me away. The glass artists that made that ( it took them 1 year) put so much detail into the lines, the colors and the overall composition with Marc Chagall! That is the most inspiring piece I have seen to date.
Glass Decanter by Frederik Rombach
Iván Meade – What is next for Frederik Rombach?
Frederik Rombach – I am currently working on incorporating glass sculpture into social artistic projects, working with crowdfunding to finance these projects. Interesting times!
Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created at a very young age a stunning body of work. What would you like your legacy to be?
Frederik Rombach – Not something I really think about, or want to. I am quite content to put my energy into making things happen now!
I invite you to visit Frederik Rombach’s website and learn more about his glass pieces