Monday, 23 March 2009

In Conversation with Joost van Bleiswijk

JVBJoost van Bleiswijk

Joost Van Bleiswijk has a great eye for shape and form, he designs pieces with a great respect for traditional techniques and craftsmanship. Joost shares a studio with our previous interviewee, Kiki Van Eijk in the Netherlands where they share ideas that form beautifully created pieces of furniture, art and accessories. Kiki and Joost both graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2001.

Joost's website is full of fabulous works of art as well as information about the designer and a great news section. To learn more please see our interview below...

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

Joost van Bleiswijk – My father, Dick van Bleiswijk, was an arts teacher at a high school in my hometown Delft.

I remember going to the school with him in the weekends and pickup or arrange something. The smell of the workshop and the whole atmosphere of creativity was intoxicating to me. At home me and my brothers were encouraged to be creative in all kind of ways. We had a special room where we could work with wood, clay etc.

Later when I went to the design academy in Eindhoven, I was able to use my skills in making, and solving problems in a technical way because of all these years of handicraft, laying with lego and building huts in the woods.

I think my designs are a logical step after all this previous things, still a boy playing and making.


Joost van Bleiswijk - High Cabinet XL -Polished Stainless Steel - No Screw No Glue

Iván Meade - Who or what has influenced your style?

Joost van Bleiswijk - I’m mainly influenced by the history of architecture and design ( or crafts and art pieces) from the earliest time till about the beginning of previous century. I never look to what other designer do, to what trends are or what is said to be cool.

I try to be original in the source of inspiration and therefore I prefer a book about the treasures of Tsar Peter the Great, than the newest flashy design book.


Joost van Bleiswijk - Steel Desk - Polished Stainless Steel - No Screw No Glue

Iván Meade - How would you describe your style?

Joost van Bleiswijk - I don’t like to describe my style. I don’t design in styles, but in dogmas of creation. The compose project are just block of wood, fixed in place by pewter. This results in a limitation of possibilities. Also the single-cut vases where I draw a vase shape on a piece of cardboard, where I fold this line after, is a dogmatic way of getting to shape. Probably the most well-known is the no screw no glue method, where sometimes hundreds of little parts slot in one and other without welds, screws etc, is just a way of designing, in witch I force myself to stretch the method to limits.

Where I don’t care about stule, It’s other described as art deco, modern classics etc.

Personally I don’t really care.


Joost van Bleiswijk - Jars – Ceramic

Iván Meade - I love your quote "The greatest trend should be the absence of a trend", could you please elaborate on this concept?

Joost van Bleiswijk - If you would design following trends, you would be to late, not original and it would be boring for yourself.

If you would decorate your house according to the latest trend, you would have to change it each year.

If you come up with a trend, you just tell people what they should buy because money has to be made.

If we would all design, create and buy in a personal and original way, a more sustainable, ecologic and personal world arises.

Just like in the old days where people had their dresser made by the carpenter for life….

JVB-Table Joost van Bleiswijk - Game Table – Macassar Ebony Veneer

Iván Meade - What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?

Joost van Bleiswijk - An original Russian pocket encyclopedia with beautiful drawings, from the early fifties, and the large version of Taschen’s ‘from the library of Sir William Hamilton’ . In this book, beautiful fold outs, technical drawings etc of classical vases and amphora's can be found….

JVB-VasesJoost van Bleiswijk - Vases - Hand Polished Stainless Steel

Iván Meade - What are you excited about right now in the world of design? Are there any new materials that you can't wait to work with?

Joost van Bleiswijk - In this crises period i\I would like in the contrast. I’m planning to work with 24k gold plating, but also with concrete.

I don’t get so much inspired with materials, but each project asks for a specific approach and finish.


Joost van Bleiswijk -Steel Chair - Polished Stainless Steel - No Screw No Glue

Iván Meade - What project has given you the most satisfaction?

Joost van Bleiswijk - To slowly create a large collection, and keep on adding more pieces. I try to approach design as telling stories about my fascinations, and ways of working. Not in a teaching way, but in natural and evolutionary way. I only design to finish the ideas in my head. The advantage of being a self producing designer, is that very rarely I have to please anyone. In this way, I can be expressive as I want. Having earned credits for the outcome of this way of working, I’m now asked to come up with surprising and uncompromising designs….


Joost van Bleiswijk - Compose Amphora - Polished Pewter, Solid Wenge

Iván Meade - What would be your dream project?

Joost van Bleiswijk - I think that’s also a matter of evolution of the process, more projects etc.

By the time a large projects has been finished, you might already feel different about it..

But for now I would say the dream project would involve more architecture, more autonomy, and a larger scale.

I think scale is a very important aspect of design.

JVB-Hour-Glass Joost van Bleiswijk - "My 15 Minutes of Fame "- Polished Stainless Steel + Hour Glass

Iván Meade - What is your next design venture?

Joost van Bleiswijk - Keep checking my news section.

First the opening of our new studio in February (a giant old Philips factory transferred into the ideal design studio)


Joost van Bleiswijk - Nothing Studio

Milan fair (no solo this year, but on more than one place you’ll find new works) Rotterdam, Rome, Osaka Japan, Paris at Gallery Revolts (it’s new, you should check it out)

And I think I forget a lot.

Iván Meade - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Joost van Bleiswijk - That the works I create now, are not been thrown away by the time I die, and maybe long after….

JVB---Candleholder Joost van Bleiswijk - With Me - Candle Holder XL - Polished Stainless Steel

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011


Anonymous said...

Amazing! I can't believe these pieces are made in Polished Stainless Steel.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work, I love how the modern look of polished stainless steel is working with his beautiful craftsmanship - well done!

Ana Regiane Ivanski said...

I loved your blog...Great idea!
from Brazil

Brillante Interiors said...

Great to be introduced to another extraordinary designer. I also love the way he talks about Trends-No Trends. I totally agree with him. It is like in photography: know all the rules so you can break them all!

christian barnard land studio said...

Love the dutch aesthetic.

Maria Killam said...

Design, Create, and Buy in an original way, that's a good mantra to live life I would say.

qerat said...

Love his way of thinking
The stainless steel chair is stunning

DesignTies said...

Wow. All of Joost's pieces are amazing.

Love the shape of the hand polished SS vases. "My 15 Minutes of Fame" is too cool -- I'm curious to know if it's as big as I'm guessing it is. Compose Amphora reminds me a lot of the fireplace Victoria designed for her friend.

Beautiful work.

Thanks for introducing us to yet another great designer :-)