Maarten van Severen (1956-2005) was the son of an abstract painter. He chose to study architecture at the Ghent art school and completed three years before going to work for various agencies in interior design and furniture projects. In 1986 he started to make furniture. His work reflected his quest for perfection in form, detail and fabrication. Van Severen was frequently commissioned as a decorator and furniture designer for private residence projects, teamed with Rem Koolhaas. They worked together on the Villa dall'Ava in 1990, then again on Maison à Floirac in Bordeaux in 1996.