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Piet Hein Eek
Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek’s work embodies the concepts of transformation and reinvention. Spanning furniture design, architecture and fine art, Eek elevates discarded, quotidian and unorthodox materials into pieces that make a strong case for the design as art conversation.
By contrast to other designers, Eek’s contemporary and beautifully constructed designs are covetable, whilst conveying a clear social message. His design modus operandi is a response to mass production, design conformity, material waste and ostentation. As such, his material palette – much like the influential Arte Povera movement – has included everything from pieces collected from old wooden boats to industrial steel remnants.
Born in Holland in 1967, Piet Hein Eek made an immediate impact on the Scandinavian design world with his final exam project for the Academy for Industrial Design in Eindhoven. Simply titled Scrap Wood Cupboards, the pieces were constructed of reclaimed lumberyard wood and inspired by chance, after the designer refurbished a cupboard for his sister. At the time, Scrap Wood Cupboards caused a sensation, perceived by many as a bold reaction against the cookie cutter, the industrial and the commonplace.
After a year of building his firm, Eek went into partnership with designer Nob Ruijgrok, forming Eek en Ruijgrok v.o.f (now: De productie van Piet Hein Eek B.V).
Eek’s most famous piece, Waste Furniture, was designed during the 1990s out of discarded products, fomenting his vision of blending skilled, technically precise design with sustainability and the nascent credo of “reuse, recycle, reuse.” Building on this process and his rising profile in the design world, Eek added an additional line Waste Waste 40x40, 55x55 etc. pixelated-looking pieces built from “leftovers from the leftovers,” with materials cut into identical squares of 40 by 40 millimeters then assembled to cover chairs, tables and benches.
Since those seminal designs, Eek has gone on to create rugs, household wares, wallpaper, watches and eyewear. All done form the designers epicentre in Eindhoven – Holland where Design, production, sales, art, gastronomy and culture have all been brought together under one roof of an old Philips factory.
Among Eek’s critically acclaimed interior design projects are redeveloped industrial buildings, farmhouses and greenhouses.