Sarah Van Peteghem is a Belgian designer and stylist, and the Berlin-based author of the popular interior design blog Coco Lapine Design. Inspired by Nordic design and a lover of simple things and minimalism, Sarah’s immaculate eye for design aesthetics has garnered her a consistent and loyal readership. With an ever growing passion for interior design, Sarah’s prints are often minimalist and beautiful, designed to look good in an interior setting.
For those that don’t know Sarah Van Peteghem, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m originally from Antwerp, Belgium, where I studied Industrial design. After doing a specialisation in the Netherlands, I finally moved to Berlin and started working here four years ago. As a creative outlet from work-life, I started my interior design blog cocolapinedesign.com and soon after I started to design prints as well. In the meanwhile, after four years of living in Berlin, my blog has grown a lot and I’m so happy that my prints made it into many homes over the whole world.
"I approach my design coming from an angle of an interior designer and I think it's is a less obvious approach that I don’t think many print designers take."
Tell us about your project Coco Lapine, how it came about and what has happened since you started it.
I have always had a strong interest in Nordic design. When moving to Berlin and starting to decorate our own flat, I was looking for inspiration which I thought was worth sharing with others looking for this same inspiration. This is when I started the Coco Lapine Design blog, where I blog daily about what I like in the interior and design field. Shortly after, I felt the need to also create things myself that would match this style that I had been so fond of and started my shop. Soon I was invited to style several Berlin spaces and contribute with my own content. Coco Lapine is a way of expressing myself creatively and to share this expression with others. Since then it really evolved and even though it’s still a creative playground for me, now it really has grown out to be a brand and every time I see a picture popping up from one of my posters in someone‘s living room I’m just so happy to see it.
I like simple things and minimalism, but without losing the fun aspect in the design process. I think this also translates in my work. Lately I have been interested in graphic statement pieces and neutral colours, which I think also come back in my work.
What for you really defines your Coco Lapine and why do you feel your followers keep coming back?
I think there is always a fun aspect to be found in my designs, which I feel people appreciate. Be it in the concept, which is the case for example with the Mountain ABC, or in the way the prints are created. The “On the Move” series for example was created by moving the camera in front of light projections. I had a lot of fun creating all my prints and I think this shows in the final result.
"I'm the happiest when I’m on the hunt for new inspirations. I find inspirations in museums, on the street, from artists in related fields… inspiration lies in every little corner. "
As a designer when are you the happiest, why?
I'm the happiest when I’m on the hunt for new inspirations. I find inspirations in museums, on the street, from artists in related fields… inspiration lies in every little corner. Sometimes I see a certain texture on a sculpture, which then inspires me to design a print in a different way. Even though I love the whole design process from beginning to the end, the moment that you get an idea for starting a new project and seeing the possibilities is my favourite part.
What is the story behind your creations?
Since I’m always inspired by interior, and work as an interior stylist as well, I’m often coming from this angle. I will start to work on something and always have in mind how this would fit within a certain home or room setting.
What’s the highlight feature of your creation?
The Mountain ABC print definitely found its way into a lot of houses and I couldn’t be more happy about it. I’ve always been fascinated by Mountains and the different facets that are created by their differences in height and angles. One day I tried to recreate this surfaces with paper clippings of black and white paintings and that’s how I bumped into this black and white effect. I really liked the way these textures made an abstract representation of the mountains and decided to pick out the nicest ones for an alphabet, including the height and country of origin of each mountain, so people would be able to learn something from it as well.
Is there an untold story of you as a designer in this process?
Not really, my processes tend to be different every time and I just let myself be driven by what inspires me. This has been difficult keeping up with while growing the brand, but I’m still managing to work this way and hope to continue being led by this in the future.
In one sentence, how would you define yourself as a designer?
Someone who is having fun in expressing herself and creates prints with the interior in mind.
Can you tell us about the materials you use? where do you source them? did you experiment with others?
I print everything locally in Germany and use only FSC certified papers, which means the paper is made from pulp from well-managed forests. Depending on the print and the colors, I choose one printing technique or another. I’m currently also experimenting with other types of paper on a line that will be released in the near future.
"As a kid, I was always doing a lot of creative projects and art classes were always my favourite subject. The passion for art and creating things runs in the family - my parents definitely had a big influence on this."
How is it made?
After I’m satisfied with the design, I make a small proof print, make the necessary color tweaks and print it in different sizes. Then I will start experimenting whether the print looks good in an interior, on which size the print will look best and will keep tweaking and proof printing until I’m satisfied with my design. This is a time consuming process, but it’s very important.
Do you look to innovate or experiment with new forming and finishing techniques with each new collection, or is there a traditional process you adhere to?
I like to try out new things and I believe there is a technique for each design. I’m currently still experimenting and expanding the techniques I use.
Can you share with us a little known detail about the design process that you have discovered?
I think the link to the interior design is a less obvious one and I don’t think many print designers take this approach.
Why did you decide to collaborate with The Loppist?
I love the fact that you tell the story behind the brand. Nowadays, where everything is mass produced, we have no idea of what’s involved in making the sweater we wear, the cup we drink of or the pen we write with. Knowing where things come from and how they are created really adds value to the things you buy and I’m convinced you will keep them for longer because of this emotional connection.
What’s lined up for Coco Lapine for the rest of the year?
I have a lot of ideas for new prints and am working on releasing them as soon as possible. Since I’m also experimenting with new techniques, this takes more time than expected, but I’m sure it’s worth it.
Images courtesy of Sarah Van Peteghem