Above me a piece of a colored glass ceiling, to my left a mesh of colors and lines covering barstools, and on the right there is a wall rack from the Jean collection. The workspace where I am breathes GRiNT. This Belgian label represents playful and lively interior objects, which are clear and functional. And their strong graphic language permeates all of it consistently.
Glass ceiling in office of GRiNT
Michiel Goethals and Mattias van Mieghem are the two creative brains with golden hands behind this successful design and product story. A complementary team that besides passion and craftsmanship, also shares a beautiful friendship. An ideal formula, so it seems, which sprouts the finest creations, surprising each time with simplicity and originality.
Friend & colleague
High school in architectural design brought both gentlemen together. Afterwards Michiel dove into graphic design, while Mattias focused on design and furniture design. Neither of them intended to venture out on their own after graduation, so years ago both decided to join forces by means of GRiNT.
Michiel (left) and Mattias, two creative brains behind GRiNT
“The drive to to this together and to roll up our sleeves motivated us from the start.” The name GRiNT illustrates their differences in background, which at the same time is the power of this complementary duo. Throughout the years their relationship evolved from classmate to friend, from friend into colleague and later even into framily (a combination of friends and family). “We've always been best mates. After my studies illustration, I dreaded to start for myself alone,” says Michiel smiling.
Being an illustrator is quite lonely and those lonely moments are not for me. (Michiel)
Creating by doing
Michiel and Mattias are not the wait and see types. They rather lock themselves up in their studio in search for new ideas and designs for various interior projects and objects. Their love for the trade, their aesthetic eye and the striking line and color patterns with graphic influences determine the final product.
Office GRiNT showing the typical graphic style
All prototypes are initially designed in their own studio. Why? Simply because that’s where the magic happens. “After having spent some time behind the drawing board, there is always the need to move and the desire to do something in the studio."
A lot happens when you start doing something. One idea nurtures another.
The story of Michiel and Mattias brings up the image of a perpetual mobile in me. From their unique individuality one is pushing the other forward. One speaks abundantly and the other complements where necessary. When I try to find out what they admire in each other, it once more becomes evident how much both gentlemen are focused on doing. And just need a few words to understand each other. For even Michiel falls silent for a moment.
“Gosh, Mattias manages to create a very good framework within which we can and have to work. On my own I would never succeed in that. I draw a lot of energy from creating something together. Otherwise I would be some sort of loner, I am afraid.” Michiel’s wild brainwaves are channeled and made tangible by the sense of reality of Mattias, and vice verse Michiel drives Mattias to new ideas and ways of executing them. Mattias continues: “Michiel is the man with copious amounts of ideas. He is always very enthusiastic about a certain idea. That fuels me to realise these ideas."
In spite of the clear division of labor, both gentlemen get the most satisfaction from creating something new. The interaction between a new idea and its execution is a game they both play gladly. In 2016 GRiNT was allowed to create a design for the label Serax. An accomplishment they both – rightfully – are very proud of.
These entrepreneurs see themselves not as strategists who plan out their whole future in advance. On the contrary, both Mattias and Michiel follow their gut feeling from the very start. Looking back now and then and setting out a new direction is also part of this. And meanwhile they go ahead like they have always done. Because experience shows that at GRiNT the most beautiful things emerge by ‘doing’.