The AFA is pleased to introduce a new segment to our regular Design News, Designer Spotlight.

Each edition we will feature a Designer working in the furnishing sector who will inspire readers with their stories, achievements and aspirations. Our inaugural Designer Spotlight is on Stefan Schöning from the stefan.schö in Belgium. Stefan is a participant in the Professional Design Program (PDP3) hosted by the Malaysian Timber Industry Board in Malaysia which also features a number of Australian and Italian Designers. Learn more about Stefan in this Designer Spotlight Q & A.

AFAWhere and what did you study?

SS – I studied product design at the Henry van de Velde Institute in Antwerp, which is now part of University of Antwerp, Visit:

AFA -Do you prefer to work in the residential or commercial furniture space?

SS – Doesn’t matter, we build bridges between them.

AFA – Do you have an international client base and in which countries?

SS – Belgium, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, mainly Europe, but clients sell overseas (worldwide), so indirectly worldwide.

AFA – What is your greatest professional design achievement so far? 

SS – Some of my products still sell after more than a decade, which is rare in this rapidly changing world.

AFA – What has been your biggest professional design challenge so far?

SS – Working in the public domain sector for the first time on the National Railways project in Belgium

AFA – How important are standards/testing certification in relation to creating your designs?

SS – They come hand in hand and form part of the design specifications we set up with the client.

AFA- What ONE business service can’t you do without?

SS – Since I have quite some experience, I can deal with most of business services, but it is imperative to get good legal service especially because of the risks and the changing nature of the law.

AFA – What is your view on cheap imported rip offs?

SS – If you mean unauthorized replica’s then I believe that if you can prove it is a copy of an original design then we must unite to fight this cancer.

AFA – What has been the single most important business/professional decision that was the tipping point in your career?

SS – I was selected Designer of the Year 2008 in Belgium and in 2010 a full 50min documentary was broadcast about my studio on Belgium national television.

AFA – Who is your greatest design inspiration and why?

SS – Henry van de Velde, Peter Behrens, Raymond Loewy, Joe Colombo, Achile Castiglioni, Carlo Scarpa, Jasper Morrison, Constantin Grcic, the Bouroullec Brothers, and the list goes on.

AFA – What does the future look like for you as an individual designer/partnership and the business in a commercial $$$ sense?

SS – We have, in my opinion, a healthy business mix model. We design for the business industry, in which furniture forms a big part and for clients like cities, provinces, government agencies and so on.

AFA – What’s the one thing your business can’t do without?

SS – Passion – Emotion – Love – Perseverance

AFA – If you could work with anyone in the world who would it be?

SS – With anyone who can appreciate the work I do and the way we can make things work to make meaningful products.

AFA – What does the PDP3 mean to you and your business?

Working with new people especially in a new country in a new part of the world is of course thrilling at the beginning. We have to get to know each other, there are a lot of questions from both sides and a lot of uncertainties of which the answers cannot be given instantly. So it takes a while to get to know each other and to develop a trustful relationship. Furthermore the way of collaboration is for many of the companies quite new. We are professional designers who design for companies and get paid accordingly. This added value will be reflected in the new product which can be of a higher standard and can be brought to new markets.

PDP3 is for me the chance to bring the program to a next level in which uncertainties are taken away and we can go ahead for the full meaning of this program: Lifting the furniture business in Malaysia to a higher level!

Want to know more? – stefan.schö  website: 

Do you know a Designer who we should feature in a Spotlight? Please let us know by