Max Lipsey has introduced his own furniture collection called Acciaio which is based on the construction techniques of the bike production.
We met each other at Salone del Mobile and found out that we have the same passions, bicycles and design. So there is our interview with this young Dutch designer.
Your furniture collection Acciaio is inspired by cycling design and construction. Why did you choose this theme?
I didn't really choose it...it just developed. I started with a plan to make a steel chair. At a point, I was looking for a tapered tube to make an elegant leg. I happened to have a race bike frame sitting in the house above my desk ... late one evening I had the idea to use just bike tubes ... they're already manufactured and have a lovely taper. The chainstay has the best proportions for a chair leg, so I built the chair around this element. As the other design decisions came up, it made sense to stay close to a bicycle aesthetic...and even to encourage it. I mean, a steel bike is already so perfect, and so light! In the end, the steel for the chairs is from Columbus! And I should mention that I got to know the materials and craft through a framebuilding workshop with master builder Koichi Yamaguchi.
Did you ride the bike professionaly sometimes?
Not even close. I do like to race against myself though... And I collect old racing bikes.
What do you fascinate on bike design?
First of all, they're fun to ride. But as objects, a steel bike is just beautiful. Simple, elegant, light and strong. And I really love the details where you can see the framebuilder is proud of his craft. The sweet spot is mid 60s-mid 80s for me.
What is your best cycling company for you and why?
I wish I had an old Cinelli Supercorsa. Any professional level 70s steel bike is great. Color is important. Campagnolo parts are too. There were great bikes made in other countries, but somehow the Italian ones have that extra bit of mystique that makes them extra special (and in my mind, extra fast). But Cinelli has all of the class and quality without being too flashy. Somehow, Cinelli is still a great company today.
Do you ride today as well? What kind of cycling do you prefer?
I ride everyday. I'd prefer to ride a nice fixie, but most days my work involves carrying heavy things, so I have a very old Dutch transport bike that does the job. Then I have a few sunday riders, a touring bike, and a folding fixie (to take on the Dutch trains). Recently, my favorite riding was on a fixie in Paris. The city is at a perfect point now, where there is some cycling infrastructure and awareness from drivers, but most often, you're mixing it up with the cars. In such a dense city, you're often much faster than the cars....and feel like you run the city.
What is your opinion about contemporary fixed-gear boom?
Riding a fixie is great. That's what got me passionate about bikes and bike history in the first place. I started by buying old race frames to strip down and build up as fixies. It was the first time I ever got into the guts of a bike, and considered the quality and story of the different components. I don't love all the new 'off the shelf' fixies though. To me, the whole value is building one up yourself and learning about the machine along the way. In fact, the story has carried me full circle. Now when I find a really great race bike, I'd rather not strip it down to a fixie, out of respect.
What is your dream bike?
I would love to have a custom-made fixie frame built. There are a lot of young framebuilders doing great stuff these days, I can't say which I would prefer... And there are a lot of new components made (mostly for the fixie crowd) that keep the quality and simplicity of the good old stuff (Campagnolo).
Do you have some more ideas to work with bike aesthetic in the future as well?
Yes. I have a few plans to continue the Acciaio series into other furniture pieces. Can't say too much yet, but the material and technique have a lot of possibilities. Stay tuned!