Dutch rebel Job Smeets redefines art and design with Studio Job's boundary-pushing creations

Renowned for its distinctive and iconic style, Studio Job, founded by artist and designer Job Smeets, has garnered international acclaim for seamlessly blending art, design and craftsmanship.

Most recently, Studio Job unveiled a captivating solo exhibition, “Golden Years / Acta Est Fabula”, at FuoriSalone 2024, offering audiences a mesmerizing journey through nostalgia, material, and existential reflection. The exhibition, presented in two acts, begins with "Golden Years," immersing visitors in a realm of opulent bronze sculptures meticulously crafted in the studio’s atelier. Transitioning to "Acta Est Fabula," Job confronts the transient nature of design through coffin-shaped reinterpretations of his seminal furniture designs, prompting contemplation of mortality and impermanence. With surreal symbolism, intricate detail, and recurring motifs such as eyes and animals, Job skillfully captures existential musings, inviting viewers to introspect and navigate an atmosphere of anticipation within the exhibition space.

In an exclusive Q&A session, we delve into Smeets' artistic origins, the inspiration behind Studio Job, the creative processes shaping the studio's unique identity, and the profound influence of Dutch culture on his work. Exploring exciting collaborations with major brands such as Swarovski, Land Rover, and Hermes, we also uncover Smeets' thoughts on a groundbreaking project pushing the boundaries of art and community engagement—a massive endeavor in Delft, featuring 2000 square meters of hand-painted tiles and intricate elements, poised for completion in 2025.

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Have you always wanted to be an artist? How did you get your start?

Growing up surrounded by creativity, including antique furniture and drawing, shaped my artistic journey. Despite never envisioning myself as an artist, I found joy in expressing my own creations rather than pursuing classical drawings. My time at the Design Academy Eindhoven led to an eye-opening internship in Paris, where I learned about diverse artistic approaches. Returning with an international mindset, I embarked on my own path, founding Oval and defying the prevailing Droog style. Surprisingly, our work caught attention, leading to a major show in Milan in 1996.


Works exhibited at FuoriSalone 2024.

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Crafted with inspiration from Malevich's avant-garde vision, the “Moonlander” teapot merges history with asymmetrical allure in collaboration with Ganci Argenterie.


Polished bronze sculpture “Cuckoo”.

What inspired you to start Studio job? How has the studio evolved over time?

realized the traditional path of chasing mainstream brands wasn't for me. Even though we produced products with Oval, we aimed to work with new brands like Cappellini and Kartel, seeking uniqueness and creative freedom. Observing countless prototypes in Milan that never made it to market, I felt compelled to create Studio Job, an atelier where we could craft unique pieces without relying on producers. Unlike mass production, I wanted every creation to be a new idea, reflecting our passion for innovation and creativity. That's why I started Studio Job – to embrace the joy of creating something truly unique, every time.


“Each project is like solving a puzzle.”

What is your creative process and how do you approach each project?

Each project is like solving a puzzle; you get a new puzzle of 1000 pieces and piece it together. The creative process is quite simple and old-fashioned: I make drawings, take photos, and send them to the atelier. Through facetime and visits, we finalize the design before starting the modeling, 3D printing, or any other techniques necessary to bring the idea to life. We sculpt towards the desired result, aiming for the best possible piece at that moment.

Does Dutch culture influence your work as an artist and designer? If yes, how?

I'm often tempted to say that Dutch culture doesn't influence my work, but growing up in Weert, Holland, has undoubtedly shaped my artistic perspective. While I've lived and worked in various cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Milan, I always integrate souvenirs from these experiences into my creations. Although I'm not a typical Dutch artist, elements of Dutch culture undeniably inform my work. Over the years, I've incorporated Dutch icons like Craft, Pyramid, and Homework, as well as recurring motifs like the fork and spade, into my pieces. While living in Belgium, I've found inspiration in its culture, evident in recent works like the Carrot on the Stick and the Pipe Table. Additionally, influences from Flemish primitives and ornate baroque pieces, such as those by Charles Boulle, subtly permeate my designs.

Can you tell us about the work you’ve done for major brands like Swarovski, Land Rover, Swatch, Viktor & Rolf and Moooi?

What's fascinating about my work is that I'm not just an artist, designer, or architect—I'm a creator. I've had the privilege of collaborating with major companies worldwide, such as Land Rover and Swatch, where they seek to incorporate a piece of my identity into their brand. While collaborations vary, they typically follow a corporate process, unlike the traditional way of making art. Working with Hermes, however, is a unique experience. We collaborate directly, exchanging ideas and drawings, creating a fusion between Studio Job and this esteemed luxury brand. This approach differs from collaborations with companies like OnePlus, where we introduce new products, or Moooi and Venini, where we follow a more traditional producer-designer relationship. Regardless of the project, my focus is on creating something fresh and meaningful, often driven by the desire to be part of a brand's history rather than solely for financial gain.


A 13-meter-high bronze and glass sculpture for Foundation KunstKerk (Art Church) in historic Dordrecht which took five years to create. The striking imagery is set into in a casted bronze frame structure atop bronze turtles with a polished bronze cockerel on the pinnacle.



Can you talk about a current or upcoming project or exhibition that you're excited about?

Delft is an extraordinary undertaking, encompassing not only 2000 square meters of art but also the profound process and collaboration behind it. The client's vision to gift this artwork to the community of Delft adds an exceptional dimension to the project, with the challenge of ensuring its relevance for the next 200 years. The expansive piece features hand-painted Delft blue tiles, intricate tapestries, and ornamental details, all meticulously designed to encapsulate the rich history of Delft. This monumental endeavor requires not just individual effort, but a dedicated creative team, including illustrators and artisans. From the meticulous hand-drawn sketches to the painstaking tile painting by Royal Tichelaar Makkum, every aspect reflects a labor of love reminiscent of the Renaissance era. Scheduled for completion in 2025, this project represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave a lasting artistic legacy.


Artist Job Smeets

Studio Job

Website: www.studio-job.com
Instagram: @studiojobofficial