We all know it, designers ánd clients; the sooner you sit down around the table together to discuss a design question, the better the final product will be. But between dream and reality objections will often block the way.
I experience it on a daily basis in my work as a creative matchmaker, consultant and recruiter: companies that search for the right direction for a collection, or are looking for that one additional product, or would like to spar with a creative mind. But they don’t know exactly where to go, also because their question is not yet entirely clear.
With D Agency I hope to present an answer to your questions together with six of the best Dutch designers. This agency for designers is a one-stop shop for businesses and clients. Key is to unburden you. D Agency is the professional point of contact in the first phase of a project. We examine the question, we connect you to the best designer(s) for the task and arrange business meetings, for example about copyrights and fees. To avoid discussion afterwards, and have plenty of space for the creative process.
This way the designers from D Agency, who have already earned their credentials within their field, spend their energy on what they do best. Because all six designers know exactly how to develop an idea into a producible design and then into a final product. They also all have their own specific talents and character. Therefor no question you could ask sounds weird or out of the ballpark for D Agency, whether you’re looking for help with a single product, a complete collection or a new color palette.
We are happy to introduce to you our designers. Meet these colorful professionals and discover what makes them tick.
We are also curious to find out who you are and what motivates you in your work or business. We kindly invite you, without any obligations, to have a conversation with us.
Thomas Eurlings is both a product designer and an interior designer with an eye for context. ‘I like to approach an interior in a fashionable way. Color, material and a feeling of Zeitgeist are important, just like the wider context such as flooring, textiles and wallpaper. It makes a design more specific and gives it more individuality.’
Whether he designs a product, an installation or a collection for a client, Thomas is always looking for the right of existence. ‘By linking a design to the context, whether it’s the Zeitgeist, the function or the identity of the brand, it gets kind of a self-evidence that I’m always looking for. It’s new, but also familiar.’ It doesn’t always have to be a tangible product, it can also be a collection or the creation of a color palette. ‘If the colors are chosen completely at the end, when the product is already finished, it feels like a discrepancy to me. Like there is no real connection between the product and the color that has been poured over it. For me color is quite often the starting point, for an interior, a product, a collection. In a natural way color and function dictate ultimately the choice of materials and decoration, even though the latter is often subtle. Decoration for me is always subordinate to the applicability. When I am satisfied with a design or product? When I feel and see that it has an origin, a sort of self-evidence which makes it blend into the room. While at the same time it’s new. I’m looking for a quiet, tranquil image, but with character.’
Thomas Eurlings works from his own studio in Amsterdam on products and interior projects under his own name. He designs inter alia interior accessories, mirrors, wallpaper and textiles. Some of his products have been taken into the collection of, among others, NLXL, ENO Studio and Buhtiq 31. He is also part of the design team of Forbo Flooring. Creating context and collections is a defining factor in all his work. This curatorship is also reflected in the incidental shops / expos that Eurlings organizes on a regular basis.
Thomas Eurlings (1983) studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven. After graduating in 2006 he designed for fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe and textile designer Ulf Moritz.
‘I’m satisfied with a design when I feel and see that it has an origin, a sort of self-evidence which makes it blend into the room. While at the same time it’s new. It’s a delicate balance.’
She excels in developing concepts – in distilling an idea to its essence and then redesigning it – and in the coordination of projects. He adds value to products by enhancing their experience. How he does that? ‘Tactility is very important to me. You should use all your senses when you experience a product. So you don’t just perceive it, you also want to touch it.’ Together they form the perfect team to lift collections and brands to a higher level.
Designers Geke Lensink and Jesse Visser complement each other in skills and character. This doesn’t just work out well in the joint presentations of their own work, it also shows in the assignments they do for brands and companies. ‘We don’t feel any limitations and design furniture just as easily as interiors. Or we think along about vision and mission statements,’ says Geke Lensink.
Cooperation is key in everything they do. Not only in the way they work together, but also in the collaboration with the client. ‘The sooner you sit down around the table together, the better the final result. During that process, everything is important. From determining the identity, to market demands, the design, the development, and the production, and it continues in the presentation and communication. We have been fortunate to work with great companies and brands. I dare to say that the beautiful products we made for them, could only have arisen through the close cooperation and commitment we had back and forth.’
Geke Lensink and Jesse Visser both work from their own design studio in Amsterdam. Geke Lensink has extensive experience in designing exhibitions and designing furniture and tableware. Jesse Visser designs himself; lighting and furniture, and teaches product design at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. Together they work on interiors, products and the development of brands and collections. They are responsible for the identity, collection, design and production of the brand Brothers & Sons (formerly eQ+), that focusses on the project market.
Jesse Visser (1974) studied 3D Design at the Utrecht School of Product Design. He also studied Retail & Interior Design at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. In his clear design style, he is always looking for images that linger. His work has been shown at trade fairs and exhibitions worldwide. Geke Lensink (1963) has worked since graduating at the ArtEZ Institute of Arts as an independent (interior) designer. Since 2008, her focus is on the design of furniture and tableware.
‘The sooner you sit down around the table together, the better the final result. We dare to say that the beautiful products we made for companies, could only have arisen through the close cooperation and commitment we had back and forth’
His heart beats faster if he can visit the factory to thoroughly understand the production process and speak to people. Industrial designer Roderick Vos is much more than an ideas producing machine – and ideas he has enough – he also knows how to materialize them. ‘My goal is to make my designs reproducible and accessible to a wide audience. I am a democratic designer, not an artist. I feel akin to the old school industrial designers such as the Italian Achille Castiglioni.’
After such a factory visit the insights and designs follow naturally. ‘Already in the car on the way home, I start brainstorming – almost in a manic way. I often discover new uses for materials or techniques, or I come up with a product that my clients never expected. I love to take a fresh approach with a brand or manufacturer. People are sometimes blind to the issues within their own business. And that’s quite normal. I like to shake things up. For myself anyway. If my work seems to become too much doing a trick, I get restless. Ideally I get out of my comfort zone to tackle something completely different. My style has always been strong, but can also be organic and geometric. I work in metal, but also with bakelite, wood or – recently – in glass. As long as it leads to beautiful, comprehensible and affordable products.’
Roderick Vos works in tandem with his wife Claire Vos-Teeuwen, also an industrial designer, both creatively and in business. They work together in their studio and shop in Den Bosch, both on their own designs and their work for clients. In addition, they take care of the art direction of various brands. In their (web) shop they sell furniture and accessories they designed themselves.
Both Claire and Roderick Vos (1965) studied in the eighties at the famous Design Academy Eindhoven. Roderick Vos found inspiration during his studies in Japan and when he worked with GK Industrial Associates, founded by Kenji Ekuan in Tokyo. He was also a trainee, working in the studio of lighting designer Ingo Maurer in Munich. He has designed products for Alessi, Driade, Linteloo, Moooi, Design on Stock and Functionals. Several of his designs have been included in the collections of important museums such as the Stedelijk Amsterdam and The Museum of Arts & Design in New York.’
‘People are sometimes blind to the issues within their own business. And that’s quite normal. I like to shake things up’
A trip in 2008 to a traditional German industrial area, with its mine shafts and high chimneys, made a deep impression on Mieke Meijer. ‘I discovered the black and white photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher, I was especially touched by the photos they took from industrial plants as cooling towers, gas tanks and mine shafts. I got interested in the industrial visual language and still am. I believe that all forms already exist; designers just provide them with a new function or context.’
Every town or village use to have a factory, the manufacturing industry was never far away. Those factories with their clear and readable forms, created out of practical considerations, not only determined the landscape but also our general perception. Mieke Meijer: ‘We people all depend on the industry; we need it even more then before, but we realize this less. We often say that children do not know anymore that milk comes from a cow, but we have forgotten ourselves where a chair comes from.’
In her own work Mieke Meijer very often translates these industrial forms, or factories, to installations. The new forms that arise are always applicable in a practical way, as a table, closet or staircase. In other work structures or industrial factors play a role, such as the crane that was the inspiration for a lamp. ‘An industrial visual language and sensibility have become my signature, I feel that it has enabled me to do lots with it, and the end is certainly still not insight. I’m a bit of a factory freak. Recently we were in Dubai for an assignment. Everyone was amazed by the modern architecture, while I’m fascinated by the cement factory on the outskirts of the city. In the future I would love to work more in and with factories, understand their processes, use technology in a new way or for example design a new building.’
Mieke Meijer works from her own studio in Eindhoven, together with her partner Roy Letterlé. Their cabinets, lamps and installations are mostly made in their own workshop. They founded the company Newspaper Wood a few years ago, together with the design label Vij5, which develops and applies a new material from (news) paper.
In 2006 Mieke Meijer graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven. Letterlé was trained as a teacher in civil engineering, but is now working for Studio Mieke Meijer and teaches at the Master of Interiorarchitecture of HKU. Mieke Meijer works as a designer and teaches at Design Academy Eindhoven.
‘I believe that all forms already exist; designers just provide them with a new function or context. I’m inspired by the clear visual language of industrial design, I’m a bit of a factory freak.’
‘It fascinates me to see how a product is made. I always turn a chair upside down so I can see the bottom. It’s not just the form that matters to me, I try to understand the whole production process. I check the injection molding of plastic and try to work out how and why the mold has worked in a particular way,’ says industrial designer Friso Dijkstra. As a boy he already had a tendency to demolish old coffeemakers, purely out of curiosity to see what the inside looked like, which turned out to be surprisingly beautiful. And his curiosity has never gone away.
But instead of becoming an engineer, Dijkstra decided to be a product designer. ‘I wasn’t the right type for a Technical University, so I’m pleased I didn’t pick that particular route. I probably would have got stuck in the technical details. As a designer, I am trained to think in concepts, in daring to tilt ideas. In my profession I can bring everything together. A good product is the sum of many parts: the idea, the user, the design, the material, the technique. And I also add the communication, the retail and the transport to this. A chair consist of multiple components. It is not just about the design; the product also has find its way to the end user. What I enjoy most about my work? Speaking with people in companies and factories. I absorb everything like a sponge, the knowledge, the experiences and the stories. Together you can make an even better product.’
Friso Dijkstra works solo from his studio in Amsterdam. He has deliberately chosen not to produce himself, but keeps the focus on the industrial and graphic design. For development and production he seeks the connection with brands and factories. Out of his studio he works with clients and, if necessary, also provides the graphic design and art direction. He likes to work together with companies to development new materials further, and look for the right possibilities and applications.
In 2006 he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, also called the ‘School of Cool’. After graduating, Friso Dijkstra (1981) worked as a graphic designer for several companies. The last few years he has been focusing on designing and developing his own work – furniture, lamps, accessories – and works together with manufacturers on new products. His style is clear, virile and his designs are always imbued with industrial thinking.