FREDERIK MOLENSCHOT is a Dutch artist and designer and founder of of lighting design Studio Molen. Known primarily for his monumental bronze lighting sculptures, Frederik describes himself as a landscape sculptor, drawing on the surroundings, whether industrial, urban, natural, or even cosmic. He has discovered new techniques and materials collaborating with talented professionals in the field of art, design and architecture. His work displays an incredible diversity that spans everything from ownable design pieces to massive site-specific public art sculptures.

Good evening, Mr. Paul Barbera. So, so cool you’re going to publish the pictures on your website. Let me get your questions. Tomorrow morning I will go early for the airport, so I thought better I do it now. Kids just went to bed. The twins are going amazing. Two and a half years old and it’s a lot of fun. Sleeping goes better and better, but you probably will go through the same struggles, I guess. The questions. What is something that I would be surprised to find in your space? I think it’s the number of books everywhere, stacks of books of artists, architects. Some are wrapped, some are unwrapped. I just love to collect them. All the books that contain this power, their content, history of people, having their works in it. I think a book is a very intriguing object. Something else you might find. Yes, my new chair behind my desk is not really a chair, but it’s a running machine to get my health better. I taped my keyboard to it to not sit anymore behind my desk and type emails, but to it walking. It’s a new experiment. I think that’s a good answer.

Speaker 1 (01:45)
Describe your ideal workspace in three words. Okay, that’s very easy. Large space, high ceilings, big windows, tables on the wheels everywhere, wax, tools, and one of the most important things, music. What’s the best advice you’ve been given? The best advice that I’ve been given is that you can work on projects and it’s always good to work autonomous on your works and get things done. But the best lesson I got in time was to get ambassadors for the work that you do. You need people that love what you do, that carry out your work to other people that bring it into society, into their homes. Trying to find ambassadors is one of the best advices I got in the past. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’m not sure if it concerns my professional practice. Where did you find the courage to follow your own path? This was never really a question mark if it was about my courage. It was always something natural for me to work for myself. And I did it since I was little, since sitting down in my room making pieces, making drawings. And it actually feels for me that has never changed since then.

Speaker 1 (03:41)
So today I’m 42, but I think from a year or ten or something, I do the same things over and over again. Next question. What is the most productive, practical tip you could impart to a fellow creative? Yeah, I think that’s the same answer. It’s the thing about finding ambassadors like people around you who love your work, who can carry it around into the world. Who can help you to find the next ambassador. So get your work out of the studio. Anything you make, put it on Instagram, put it on the street. Make sure people see it. That’s very important to me. What would you tell your 18-year-old self? What would I tell my 18-year-old self? You mean if I would be myself now at my 18 years old, I think I would say, yeah, stay true to yourself is also what I still do. Make sure you keep on making authentic work. Try to find balance between your business, your emotions, people that surround you, that things. What do you do to center yourself and to find focus? Yeah, it’s mainly to be by myself, so to make sure that the space is empty, so I have a concentration just to do what I should do.

Speaker 1 (05:39)
Nowadays, my kids always run around. Because of this, I train to be more concentrated than I used to be. And sometimes I put on my headphones, play some music, or can play one of my favorite movies on the background that there’s something just running around that gives me this mantra to work on, to get into concentration. And yeah, that’s it. Does the space you work and have an interesting story? Yeah, the space I work in has an interesting story. It used to be an old cattle house. It’s a big warehouse constructed out of metal beams and bricks, and the beams are blue, so it fits my favorite color. And it’s based on an old industrial site which is over 200 years old. Just a 15-minute bike ride from the city of Amsterdam. So it’s just outside of Amsterdam in Zandam, which is a suburb. And yeah, it’s an amazing space. And it used to be functioning as a cattlehouse for all the other buildings around it. It’s like a huge heating system. So it was bringing the warmth towards other buildings through pipes. The pipe system is gone now and also all the cattle also are gone.

Speaker 1 (07:10)
But yeah, 100 years ago, it used to be a cattlehouse. Dyslectics. Yeah, I’m not dyslectic. I’m a bit crazy, but I have no ADHD or something. And I think, yeah, if I would have some ideas, but I don’t have it, I think it’s… Yeah, I don’t know how to answer this question. Sorry. What are you most proud of in this space? My twins, like the two babies or two little children running around me and to be able to work and live in the same space and have my children around me, it’s a thing that I’m the most proud of. I really try to do everything in my power to get a life balance between kids, work, creative, creativity. How would you describe your neighborhood? Yeah, what I just mentioned, it’s like an old industrial compound with a lot of old buildings, monumental buildings from 1880 or even older. And it has a lot of trees and grass, a lot of open space. So it’s quite unique for this area. I feel very blessed to live and work here. What can you see outside your windows? At the moment, it’s trees, trees and trees because I work on my workshops on the first floor, but my own workspace is on the first floor.

Speaker 1 (08:56)
I just look out of my square windows and I see all these trees moving in the wind. So it’s like a… Yeah, it’s very inspirational. It feels like sitting high in the forest. What is your dream project? Yes, at the moment I try to focus on new projects. My dream project actually is just running at the moment in Paris, which is my first solo show at the Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery. It’s called Atlas 2000, and it’s running until the end of September. This is my dream project. I worked on it for almost three years. Now I need to find new dreams and already started some of them in the past few months trying to work on large outdoor statues, try to develop a language in this. But basically, the dream is still building.

Where They’ is a visual documentation of the creative environments of artist & people, that meet during my travels, of homes and studios.

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