Meet Wøti Studio, a bespoke furniture design studio that focuses on functional designs. Established in 2015, Wøti has perfected the craft of creating customized furniture, skillfully blending timeless allure with contemporary sophistication. Our conversation with the founder, William, in his Antwerp studio delved into his design influences, insights on small business management, and hotspots to visit in Antwerp.
Can you tell the founding story of Wøti?
I met my girlfriend (and now wife) when I was 16 years old, her father was a carpenter, that summer I worked as a joiner's aid.
And so on for the summers that followed. I finished high school and started working as a mathematics teacher, and it was only a few years later when I started working on my own house that I realized how much I missed working and designing with wood. In 2015 I decided to quit my job as a teacher and started WOTI on my own.
How many people do you work with and how has your work developed over the years?
My goal is not to run a big company, I would still like to get better at what I do, and I think I can do that better by working with a relatively small team. So we currently work with four, myself included. From the first day I started I loved the duality between design and execution. And that hasn’t changed a bit. Drawing something, trying it out in the workshop, changing the design from that experience and getting to know your material better. The material -mostly wood- is very important to me. Wood is a complex, diverse material, with soft and hard options, with a variety of colors and grains. The more I learn about it, the more I’m amazed about it and the more I can take advantage of its characteristics in my work. I think, design wise, you can see that, over the years things stayed simple and straightforward, but more purified.
I’m curious to hear about the design inspiration behind your home. Does it stick to the Wøti design codes?
I have no, go to, or, stick to, plan, but do I find most joy in a design when the construction defines the aesthetics. I like to show how things are made, I like joinery, I want you to understand how it’s made, I don’t like to hide things, a piece of furniture feels very honest that way. As for my own home, this was obviously something that also should match. Our house was built in 1975. It is a very open house where the materials speak for themselves. Brick walls, bare concrete beams and wooden ceiling really dictate the general atmosphere of the house. I fell in love with it from the first visit.
How do you start your bespoke design process with clients?
First off I really like to meet the people and see that we have a mutual passion in terms of materials, aesthetics and finishing. Out of this conversation I will usually draw out a first sketch or plan and process all the information from the first meeting into a pre-design. Once the design has the customers approval we’ll bring it into our workshop where we build everything in-house.
Is there a specific design reference you always come back to inspire your work?
I really get a lot of inspiration from Japanese joinery, but the “Pueblo Ribera” designed by Rudolf Schindler is a house that I love and get a lot of inspiration out of in particular.
More recently released book “THE TOUCH” that includes : spaces designed for the senses kind of covers everything I love.
Do you have a ritual in your workshop that gets you motivated in the mornings?
Off-course ! An espresso and some fresh music always gets me motivated and in a good mood.
I’m really an active listener so I’m always on the lookout for new jams.
What are your three favourite spots to visit in Antwerp?
‘RUSH RUSH’ will get you started with a great cup of coffee , I would pick up a croissant at Domestic bakery,
I would recommend you to visit ‘ST. VINCENTS’ at Kleine Markt 13, it's a great gallery / store dedicated to contemporary and collectible design.
Last but not least I would go to ‘ALBUM’ for an elegant lunch or dinner.