In conversation with Bas Kosters

Bas Kosters artist collab Bugaboo

In conversation with Bas Kosters

2019-05-21 - A lot has happened since Bugaboo’s first collaboration with the artist and designer Bas Kosters in 2005. But some things never change – the collaborative energy, the two-way boundary pushing, the innovative design aesthetic and of course, the friendship.

We caught up with Bas at the World Fashion Centre in Amsterdam to talk about everything from the original collaboration, to the inspiration behind the latest Bugaboo by Bas limited-edition design and the importance of honoring connectivity in life and work.

Take us back to that first collaboration in 2005. How did it all come about?
I couldn’t believe I was chosen by Bugaboo because my aesthetic was very playful but also very wild. It kind of took me by surprise, and I was thinking ‘is this happening to ME?’
As a young creative in the art and fashion world, how did you feel about working with a stroller brand?
It never even occurred to me that it could be uncool to work with a stroller brand. It is funny because my world is really playful, not childish but playful, and it takes a lot of visual inspiration from my own youth, memories and from vintage imagery of child’s play. So although sometimes my expressions are not really appropriate for little ears, I do think that my aesthetic is very applicable to the world of children!
Can you tell us more about how that first collaboration went?
This was just a mind-blowing experience because it was, until then, one of the biggest things I had ever done. I made a concept folder with some inspirational imagery which was all about the bond and support a child needs to grow up. I wanted to use the stroller as a blank canvas so that’s why we made the strollers all white. I didn’t have the space to paint all the strollers so I ended up here (World Fashion Centre, Amsterdam) in a friend’s studio to paint them all and it was a pretty big production line. Everything was painted white including the frames and the wheels. I would transfer the images with tracing paper onto the strollers and I would hand-paint them.
I was very happy and surprised that I could be involved in everything — in designing the campaign and thinking about the art direction. It was just really open, no questions asked, no problems, nothing to stand in my way. It was just fantastic, it has been really, really one of the biggest moments in shaping me as a maker so that is just so valuable.
"It was just really open, no questions asked, no problems, nothing to stand in my way.It was just fantastic, it has been really, really one of the biggest moments in shaping me as a maker so that is just so valuable."

Can you tell us about other collaborations you have done with Bugaboo since that first project?
I knew that I could always approach Bugaboo if I needed to have some support, for example for a fashion show or something. And on the other hand if Bugaboo needed a one-off, hand-sewn stroller for a charity auction or whatever that was also possible. It was just a real friendship. It is very difficult to maintain a friendship over all these years -  it goes further than on a company level, it’s really about having affection for each other and liking working together. Often if you work together with a company, jobs keep changing and at a certain point your connection is gone so I’m just very happy that this stayed so loving, fruitful and full of fun and friendship.

What is the inspiration behind your latest print for Bugaboo?
I was in China on an inspiration trip for a project and I wanted to start sketching some ideas for Bugaboo there so I had my paper and books and stuff. I’m not sure how I came up with the theme of connection but it was one of the things that I had quite early on in my mind.
"I think connectivity is so important and I know that is something that I really strive for in my work. I think over the years it’s also something that Bugaboo has always put out there — the importance of being connected with your surroundings, with friends and family… so the thought was there."
When I came back to Holland we started to work out my sketches. We were working on three different prints, but in the end I think the connectivity of these figures was just so strong. And it’s just so fun, it’s so free...especially in the final concept, you don’t really know what’s going on. Are they floating? Are they flying? Are they in the water? Are they in the sky? Did they jump from an airplane? It’s just really open and it’s a very liberating and positive print in the end, which I think is good.

Who is the parent who chooses the Bugaboo by Bas stroller?
The people who will be attracted to it will be attracted to the positivity of the design and want to show their pride. You step out into the world with this stroller that is outspoken, you’re going to be noticed...you have to be up for that. It’s just like having a baby or a dog, people will just come up to you.
Why do you feel it’s still a good fit to be working with Bugaboo after 15 years?
I think it’s even a better fit actually. Or maybe that’s not true — it’s that I’m now much more aware of why it’s a good fit. I’m so much more mature and conscious of what I have to offer and what I have to bring. I’ve always had the wish to work on another stroller again so I was very happy when we got to sit down again last year and talk about a new project. And, in a sense, I have even more to give now because I’m much more aware of my ways as a maker and creator than I was then. Back then, I was much more of an intuitive creator and now I’m much more aware of where that intuition leads and what I can do with it.