Vij5 is a Dutch design label specialized in interior products that are characterized by their minimalist aestetic and surprising functionality. Curious about this design label? Today an interview with the founders of Vij5.
Could you give us a short introduction on your work. Where did the idea come from? what is the story behind it?
We (Arjan van Raadshooven & Anieke Branderhorst) as founders have designed the basis of the collection, but we also act as curator of the collection due to the fact that we work consciously with other designers to expand the collection. We look for products that fit our own signature style. We approach every product from a designers perspective, therefor the brand has a personal style and high norms with regards to quality.
Who/what has been of great influence on your way of thinking?
Collaboration is an important keystone within Vij5. It is a source of inspiration and an added value for every imaginable situation for us. This is evident when we collaborate with designers, our customers and suppliers. However it begins with the cooperation between us of course. Actually we are completely different, even in personality, but that is precisely the “golden combination”. Even during our studies we benefited a lot by each other’s perspective on a situation: Where one of us got stuck, the other helped to move us forward. It helps to discuss a problem together, instead of keeping it to ourselves. Now that we have had a business together for 10 years, this interaction is still very present. Our design process is largely talking. We come up with most of our design while on the road. Fortunately, we understand each other very well. Then it’s just a matter of developing the idea when we’re back at the studio..!
Who/what fascinates you and how does this influence your work?
The coherence in a design. In our view the best products look like they have always been there and will be there for a long time, but at the same time they suits the current aria. In this case everything is right about the design: colour, design, story and concept. This fascination is often the beginning of a new product in our collection. We might have a good idea or see one from other designers and it just feels right. That feeling might not be defined at the time but it affects us and makes us enthusiastic! We do start to analyse, why is this good or beautiful and could we make it even better? Would other people also need this product and how can we provide those needs? Is the product functional and feasible? And most importantly: Does it suit the Vij5 collection?
Imagine you could be someone else in another lifetime, who or what would you want to be?
A while ago when we were on vacation, someone asked us what we would do if we wouldn’t be allowed to design. We actually couldn’t give an appropriate answer to that question. Back in Holland we asked the same question to other designers and it proved difficult to answer for all of them. We even had some sleepless nights! Indeed, it’s a question you don’t forget. What if..? We believe the mind-set of a designer is something very personal and something you don’t only develop during your studies, but throughout your entire life. It’s not only about how you design something, but also about the way you live and the way you look at the world around you. It’s a way of life where you enjoy your work and feel comfortable. It is very difficult to imagine a life without those things.
What is your favourite spot at home?
We have several favourite spots in our house. The sofa, to relax after a busy day; the kitchen because we like cooking delicious and healthy meals; the bedroom because this is the quietest room of our house. In the summer our garden is one of our favourite spots. We often sit on a bench in front of our house, overlooking the garden an leaning against the brick wall warmed by the sun. Our studio is basically our second home. It is located on the Hallenweg, a hidden street near the centre of Eindhoven with a number of old industrial buildings. We spend a lot of time at our studio and it is a nice area with high ceilings and large windows. We like to consciously experience the seasons and the weather. Our favourite time is when the sun shines through the windows and fills the entire studio with warm light and beautiful shadows, this really makes us happy! The “Vij5 workshop” as we call it houses the studio, “workshop” and the showroom of Vij5. We wanted to create a space where all of our activities can be put together under one roof. The showroom is in the middle of the “workshop” and looks a bit like a green house. We built the little house by ourselves as an addition of the existing space to ensure our collection is always presented in a (dust free) space. It didn’t take long for it to become one of our favourite spots for meetings and lunches!
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Treasure’?
A line from a song by The Isbells: “When you have it, embrace and bask it”. Treasure is in our opinion not materialistic.
Describe yourself in three words.
Anieke: Optimistic, Perfectionistic, sincere
Arjan: Entrepreneurial, stubborn, enthusiastic