Bobby Dekeyser

From his private island in the Philippines, the founder of luxury outdoor furnishings brand DEDON gives us a glimpse of his adventurous spirit

Bobby Dekeyser with his paddleboard on a recent trip to the island of Ibiza.

This painting is my favorite painting; it captivates me every time I look at it. It’s by artist Nathalie Hummer, whose work I discovered about three years ago. Normally it hangs in my living room. [On top of it is] a white football—as a former professional soccer player, I still play every day—and a blue hoodie that goes around the world with me. I just took it to Brazil for my pre–World Cup travels.

I’m never without one of my black Moleskine notebooks. I always carry one on the road, even when I’m going short distances. You never know when a good idea will pop into your head. I fill at least four a year; typically I have the most ideas when I’m outside enjoying nature, or in the morning before I get caught up in my daily business. The sketches [on white paper] are of our newest pieces by DEDON designer Daniel Pouzet. The idea for our Swingrest was inspired by DEDON Island, where Daniel wanted to hang everything. Swingrest is a big lounge chair, but the new SwingMe and SwingUs designs are smaller—a single chair and love seat for two.

My kids are always with me, at least in a picture, which I keep inside a notebook or as a bookmark for whatever I’m reading. This snapshot was taken around Christmas 2011, while we were vacationing in France. [The photograph shows Dekeyser with son Yannick and daughters Carolin (at left) and Marie.] We love traveling together; most recently we took a trip to Ibiza. 

Family is the most important thing to me. Second is my foundation, Dekeyser & Friends, which supports the community and economy of Cebu, Philippines, where DEDON's factory is located. The best weavers in the world live here, but the area is quite poor and the families have been living on mountains of garbage and heaps of trash. Starting the foundation was an expression of values I wanted to pass on to my children. What use are profits if they don’t serve the greater good?

My biography [Not For Sale!, written by Stefan Kruecken] was published in the United States this past May. I usually have a copy with me to give away. One thing I hope readers take away from my book is that we are all destined to fail when taking hurdles in life. That’s not a problem. The crucial thing is to get up and carry on.

A few of Dekeyser's most meaning-laden possessions.
A few of Dekeyser's most meaning-laden possessions.
Photographed by Monika Zakic