Brussels, Belgium

Dirk Wynants wins Henry van de Velde Lifetime Achievement Award

Hi there fellow design enthusiasts, we've got some thrilling news to share! Our Extremis founder - Dirk Wynants - just received the prestigious Henry van de Velde Lifetime Achievement Award! Yep, you heard it right – a lifetime of wowing the design world.

Dirk Wynants wins Henry van de Velde Lifetime Achievement Award

None other than Axel Enthoven announced this year's winner of the Henry van de Velde Lifetime Achievement Award. And it sounded like this: "Dirk is a gifted designer, is innovative and possesses technical insight, marketing skills and makes an icon out of every new product he releases. He can run a business and perfectly tie creativity to economic success. He sells his products worldwide and is behind a company that may celebrate 30 years of existence today."

Now, let's rewind the tape to 1994, a time when outdoor furniture was about as exciting as watching paint dry. Dirk, a dad on a mission, set out to find the perfect table for his family. But, alas, only boring white plastic tables could be found. Determined to shake things up, Dirk retreated (like some others) to his garage.

And voila, emerging from the sawdust and power tools was the Gargantua picnic table. A picnic table with height-adjustable benches to allow children to sit at the same eye level as the adults and for guests in wheelchairs to have easy access as well. This simple yet ingenious creation marked the birth of Extremis.

Here are some highlights from Dirk’s career

  • 1987: Completes his studies interior architecture - furniture design option at Sint-Lucas, Ghent
  • 1990 - 1995: Brings various design collections to the Benelux as an agent under the wings of Top Mouton
  • 1994: Establishes Extremis in a secondary capacity. His first design Gargantua is assembled in his garage, and the second invoice is already being sent abroad 
  • 1998: Participates in the very first edition of the Salone Satellite, created within the Salone del Mobile in Milan for young talent   
  • 2002: Designs Picnik and develops it in close consultation with Xavier Lust 
  • 2010: After the construction of his own hop field, the Hopper picnic table takes shape  
  • 2011: Umbrosa receives a license for the Kosmos parasol system  
  • 2014: Builds a new headquarters in the vast fields of the Westhoek region  
  • 2016: His son Thomas founds Extremis Inc, the distribution division for the USA
  • 2017: Sol & Luna receives a gold German Design Award after its "incrowd" funding launch at Salone in Milan
  • 2019: Receives a Red Dot award for the sixth time, this time for Bistroo  
  • 2020: Designs Como Corner for Modular Lighting Instrument
  • 2021: Launches AMAi fully digital with a video 'Harry Topper and the table of Proven'
  • 2023: The introduction of Manille happens for the first time not in Europe, but at NeoCon in Chicago 
Dirk Wynants - Henry van de Velde award

Why did the jury choose Dirk as a winner for this Lifetime Achievement Award

This is the jury’s reasoning: for his bold vision and impact on the design world and because he is the driving force behind the designer furniture company Extremis, which is an economic success story and excels in originality and simplicity, as well as functionality and efficiency. A pioneer in many fields, he helped put Belgian design on the map far beyond our national borders. Dirk is not afraid to jump in and take responsibility. He also brings designers together, for whom he is an inspiring example. He continues to reinvent himself and evolve with today’s challenges.

Dirk Wynants - Henry van de Velde award

Fast forward to today, and here we are celebrating three decades of innovative design, and, of course, togetherness. And the adventure continues – Extremis is on a mission to remain ahead of the curve, collaborating with the brightest minds in the design galaxy. So stay tuned!