Lex Pott was asked to participate in the exhibition ‘New Rotterdam’ in gallery Vivid along with three other design talents from that city: David Derksen, Sabine Marcelis and Tijmen Smeulders. It is a clear signal that he’s part of the gang, because it was only last year that he traded in his 45 square metre apartment in Amsterdam for a 115 square metre house with a garden in Rotterdam. After a few months of travelling back and forth between the cities he was sick of the traffic jams and he was also able to move from his small studio on the metropolitan NDSM grounds to a spacious warehouse in Rotterdam. At that point he became a true Rotterdam resident.
Designer Lex Pott still has more ideas than time. From his new living and work space in Rotterdam, he is just as likely to be working on exclusive furniture for the international gallery world as on coat hangers for a brand like Hay.
it’s not normal procedure for Lex Pott to have his passport, USB stick and headphones on his nightstand. They were only in sight because of his recent visit to the Krasnodar Design Week in Russia, where he was invited to give a lecture. A piece of graphic art by Pott’s father, Erik Pott, and a brass platter by Alvaro Catalán de Ocón as displayed on the wall. On top the dresser with green marble, designed by Pott himself, stands a ceramic vase by studio rENs for Cor Unum and a green bottle vase from the Bottles collection by Klaas Kuiken. The carpet is the Labyrinth by Oyyo.
The house he bought on the Burgemeester Meineszlaan was a shell. ‘The advantage is that it has the charm of an old house on the outside, but on the inside I could do exactly what I wanted,’ he says. He stopped working for a few months and did a lot of the renovations himself. The house is mostly finished now. ‘I like it that everything has its own place, I don’t like static and chaos.’ His colourful interior is an organized collection of his own work and pieces like a ‘Boschroom’, a ceramic shelf by David Derksen that he traded for a True Colours vase. He also traded his famous oxidized mirrors for the 19.0, a sandblasted brass platter by Omer Arbel, and the Labyrinth carpet by Oyyo.
The cork bench and sofa are special editions by Ilse Crawford for Ikea. The triangular pillow on the couch wasn’t bought by Pott in a Malasian tourist shop for twenty euros, but directly from a wholesaler for just two euros. The stool that Pott made for his graduation project is kept close to the garden door, so he can sit on it when he wants to smoke a cigarette. Test pieces and bits and bobs to look at later or for inspiration are stored on the shelf unit he designed. ‘It’s a bit like a cheese platter with cheeses ripening on it,’ he says.
Chair from Ghana. Pott doesn’t mind that the designer is unknown. ‘It’s comfortable, cheap and well-made.’
Almost everything Pott owns has a story or a personal memory attached to it. ‘I don’t believe in interiors bought from a catalogue, it takes the soul out of it. I buy things one by one; that way my interior grows organically.’ For necessary things, like the dining table, which earned him a cum laude degree when he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, the cupboard and the Hay ISO-hooks, he uses his own designs. ‘It would be hypocritical if the products I design are used by others but not by me.’ The designer is absolutely not materialistic. He sees as much value in stones he finds and souvenirs he takes home from every trip, as in the PET Lamps over his dining table, a great social project by Alvaro Catalán de Ocón, the Spanish designer whom Pot met during a trip to Madrid. His most precious belonging is actually a work of graphic art by his father, the artist Erik Pott, who passed away last year. ‘I got it for my birthday as a teenager. I didn’t see its value at the time; I would have preferred Nikes back then.’
His new workshop doesn’t define itself through colour. It’s a light, high cube in an industrial street close to Marconiplein. After fixing it up, Pott was finally able get back to doing what makes him happiest; making things on a bigger scale with new machines that didn’t fit in his previous studio. There’s even a rolling shutter for loading and unloading and a forklift. ‘Boy stuff,’ Pott comments smilingly. His office is upstairs. This is where he designed the collection of colourful tables made out of chunks of raw marble combined with highly polished marble that New York-based gallery Future Perfect is presenting at Design Miami. The large piece of design furniture – a chic day bed made of ratchet straps in two colours braided into diamond shapes – is also going to Design Miami, as well as a beach chair and a coffee table. ‘Giovanni Beltran commissioned me to design outdoor furniture,’ he says. ‘I can’t pass up an opportunity like that.’