Every other week, we propose a Limburg design icon together with Sjiek / Het Belang Van Limburg, or one that is well on its way to becoming one. This week it is “Potato Chair” by Frits Jeuris.
WHAT: Armchair made from an old conveyor belt on a steel frame
Frits Jeuris is a “repurposer” and handyman. Self-taught too. “A long time ago I sold cars and was actually able to do that much better than I have to sell myself now.” Years ago, he exchanged that manic life for more time, freedom and joy. Since then he has been rolling from one adventure to the next. “It started with the conversion of our old farmhouse for which we had to recover some old materials in order to make new furniture right to the making of a large wooden garden house in the shape of a human head,” Frits Jeuris tries to summarize. “In essence, I just do.” No-nonsense and especially with a lot of action.
“If you can think of it, you can make it too” seems to be his credo. The difference is in decisiveness. “A garden house in the shape of a head is and will always be just carpenting… Anyone can do that. It just so happens that I’m just getting started on an even bigger head, made for the university campus, ”he says. “I don’t have to worry about anything in the months to come, I will be completely in a ‘makers flow’.” Yet he is occasionally lured out of that comfort zone. Not infrequently on the recommendation of architect-designer Bart Lens in whom he sees more than one mentor.
At the end of 2015, Bart Lens curated for Bokrijk BKRK the redesignation for the main seat in the park. It was a co-creative process in which various designers were involved and would result in VAKlab. “I thought that was fantastic. Me! Between those great designers such as Casimir and Studio Segers and Karen Wuytens and then make things together! ” But rather than wasting time with sketching and talking, Frits Jeuris’ work ethic is a bit different. “I thought, I’m already bending a metal base for a new seat. And then I can work with those designers on a seat made of leather or wood. But to give my fellow designers an idea, I quickly hooked an old piece of conveyor belt onto the frame. ”
That carelessly draped piece of conveyor belt was a stiff sieve belt from a potato sorting machine that Frits Jeuris had once rescued from a waste container somewhere. “To my surprise, no one questioned the belt. So the Potato Chair was born. Made from indestructible spring steel and you can adjust it yourself by draping the strap higher or lower over the frame. ” Easy. It doesn’t need more. Because the conveyor belt was soon used up, he had to look for a new belt. “Ultimately, we managed to track down the producer and it turned out to be of Belgian origin.”
In the meantime, 50 chairs have already been sold, mainly abroad. “There are even two in Japan.” But world domination is not necessary. “There is a label that once made me such a proposal, but I quickly realized that it is not for me. Production in Vietnam to reduce costs and then have a very small royalty? No, I’d rather make them myself. Don’t forget: it is a stiff, not entirely comfortable chair that owes its reason for existence to that potato band. And so it must be. Nothing more than that. There are already so much more beautiful chairs” His designs, on the other hand, are the art of living.