January 1, 2012
A Dutch design couple’s first collaboration yields 40 mix-and-match textiles and one svelte sofa.
Since 2001, the Dutch designers Joost van Bleiswijk and Kiki van Eijk have lived together in Eindhoven and worked side by side in the same workshop. But the couple pursue solo careers and, until recently, had never collaborated on a product design. That changed when Jerry Helling, the president and creative director of Bernhardt Design, asked them to team up for a textile collection—a natural fit for Van Eijk, who has made numerous carpets and textiles, but a bit of a challenge for Van Bleiswijk, who had never worked with fabric. “I didn’t really know what to do,” he says, “so I just went into the workshop and took everything I found, like leftover pieces of wood and a spray can and all kinds of things, and I made sort of 3-D patterns.” These were photographed and fed into a computer, where Van Eijk went to work adding additional layers. In the end, the duo developed five patterns in eight colors, for a total of 40 textiles.
Around the same time, Van Bleiswijk and Van Eijk were moving to a new house in Eindhoven. Unable to find the perfect sofa for the space, they decided to design and build their own—and they liked the result so much that they showed it to Helling, suggesting that it would make a nice display piece for the textiles. Helling agreed and, after some slight tweaks, added their slender chaise longue to the Workshop collection, which launched in London last September. Here, Van Bleiswijk talks about the ins and outs of his and Van Eijk’s debut collaboration.