2018 Design Award Winner for Showcase Design: Martin Kobus


Martin Kobus describes the room he completed for the 2017 San Francisco Decorator Showcase as a space that tells a “layered tale.” Given that the designer tapped into his own heritage for inspiration, the project he calls Bibliotheek (library) is also a uniquely personal statement.

The Netherlands native mixed Dutch references, modern features and Old World elegance in the space. The first things that draw the eye are a trio of oversize illuminated photographs. Two of them show a young woman (then working as an intern in Kobus’ office) posed in the style of a Rembrandt or Vermeer portrait. The other glowing piece is a photo of an actual Rembrandt painting (one that was stolen from a Boston museum in the 1990s).

Most people know the Danish term hygge. For Kobus, it is the Dutch tradition of gezellig that resonates. “It means ‘cozy.’ It’s the concept of gathering with your friends in an inviting space,” he explains. With that in mind, he created a modular, movable sofa and several side tables with a Dutch tile motif. It is the perfect spot to settle in with coffee and company. Given the trappings, this library is about more than books. The designer says: “It can be used as a lounge for cocktails, for an intimate tête-à-tête by the fire or as a literary retreat.” — Mary Jo Bowling


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