Old school Dutch furniture designers tended to be multi-talented and seemed to be capable of designing anything be it furniture, buildings, towns, lighting or industrial machinery. In recent times the competition between design schools has resulted in specialisation and imaginations have been allowed to run riot. The Eindhoven Design Academy has a lot to answer for.
Here is a list of Dutch furniture designers to seek out if you are looking for that special piece and have a larger than IKEA budget. In alphabetical order.
Born in Germany (1978), yet Baas is considered a local as he moved to the Netherlands the following year. Baas graduated from Design Academy in Eindhoven in 1996 with a series of burned furniture called ‘Smoke’ and was later commissioned by the Gramercy Park Hotel in NYC to furnish the lobby and hotel rooms. In 2005 he opened a studio with collaborator and business partner Bas den Herder – and has worked on many projects both in Europe (for example the Mendini Restaurant in the Groninger Museum) and around the world.
Piet Hein Eek
Another Eindhoven Design Academy graduate (1992) who gained initial notoriety for his sloophout or scrap wood cupboards. He continues to favour recycling discarded materials into unique one-off furniture items, which are on are displayed in the Stedelijk and Groninger Museums, in Fair Trade stores, and in his own shop and restaurant in Eindhoven. His furniture collection for Wehkamp can be delivered to your home in a flat box with assembly instruction manual – for that added customer challenge.
Willem Hendrick Gispen
Born in 1890, Gispen is best known for his steel tube office furniture and lights developed in the 1930s. He founded his company in 1916 and it still operates today. Originals are much sought after by collectors.
His two handle cups and elephant standing lamps are often on display in museum stores. Hutten (born 1967) studied at Design Academy Eindhoven and opened his own studio in Rotterdam in 1991. Known for furniture that is fun and functional.
Born 1963, Jongerius also graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy. She is know for her ability to combine craft, traditional designs and high end technology to create contemporary design. Perhaps best know for the Polder sofa (2005) created for Vitra and based on the geography of the Netherlands.
Rutger de Regt
A fresh face to furniture design, de Regt studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague and made his debut in 2011 in Milan with two highly praised collections: ‘The Happy Misfits’, and the ‘Make and Mold’ series.
Rietveld was a furniture designer and architect born in Utrecht in 1888. Along with his fellow countryman and artist, Piet Mondriaan, Rietveld was a member of the De Stijl movement, the influence of which is obvious in his famous Red and Blue Chair. Rietveld later went on to design the Rietveld Schroder House in Utrecht, which has been listed as a Unesco world heritage site. See also nine Dutch properties on the Unesco world heritage list
Yet another graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven, Schrofer was born into a family of artists in 1956. This heavy genetic load has meant Schrofer has taken to sculpting, lighting design, packaging design and furniture design (in all its many shapes) like the proverbial duck to water. Collaborates with well known brands such as Leolux, Natuzzi, Molinari, Kettler.
An architect, urban planner, furniture designer, Stam was born in Pumerend in 1899. He trained in Amsterdam and began his working career as a draftsman with an architectural firm in Rotterdam until his imprisonment for refusing to do military service. Following his release from prison, Stam won a competition that resulted in him designing the urban infrastructure for The Hague, after which he packed up and moved to Berlin. After a court battle with German designer, Marcel Breuer, Stam was credited as the designer of the ‘Cantilever Chair’, constructed from gas pipe and joint fittings.
Wanders first became known for his knotted chair (1996), now part of the permanent collection of the MOMA in New York. Born in Boxtel in 1963, Wanders studied in both Arnhem and Eindhoven and has worked on architectural, industrial and interior design projects. His studio has produced work for international companies like Alessi, B&B Italia, Flow, Cappellini, Droog, and his own company, Mooi. Wanders is also a bit of a celebrity.