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Piet Hein Eek has many balls in the air just before the Dutch Design Week. The question is: are there perhaps too many?
Piet Hein Eek initially didn’t have the intention to do a big show for this year’s Dutch Design Week, but just before the deadline, it turns out to be another race against the clock. “What we had in mind turns out to be quite a bit of a challenge, both in terms of work – hence the uncertainty about the success of the plans – and in terms of their impact, because we have to upturn the whole showroom again in order to accommodate the new ideas and products.”

In the summer, Eek was already drawing a series of products for DDW, well in time you would think. “But if there are a lot of assignments and not everything goes well at once, time disappears like snow before the sun and we are in exactly the same situation as always. As every year, we are preparing everything for the DDW and, a week before we have to be ready, it is still completely unclear what will or will not succeed”, he explains to his followers in his company’s newsletter.


What in any case is finished, are the vases made out of thermal bottles that Eek once found in the contents of an old house.

In addition, several prototypes of the new collection that Piet Hein Eek made for Ikea can be seen. The Industriell collection will be introduced this spring. A collection with the main theme ‘handmade-serial produced’; seemingly handmade products made in large numbers. Another theme was ‘don’t throw away’. “If you make 35,000 cabinets and throw away nothing else than sawdust in the production of these cabinets, then you don’t have a heap of waste. One hundred percent use of materials is a noble goal for us, but for IKEA, with enormous production, it really makes a difference.”


Another theme during the DDW will be the New York-based water tower wood, which Eek bought together with Diederick Kraaijeveld. Last year it turned in to a NYC water tower furniture collection. “Diederick suggested that a container of water tower wood, which is normally thrown away, should be taken to Eindhoven. He would make paintings with the wood and we would make other products. Unlike us, he saws figurative work from demolition wood. Now he has made Manhattan water tower wood into a model of Manhattan in a figurative as well as an abstract scale model.”


And as if he isn’t got it busy enough with his own production, DDW is also the deadline for another project. Eek: “Although I almost always say that the DDW is not leading and we shouldn’t exaggerate it, we are kind of trapped by DDW every year. This year the big trap was that we were going to rent out ateliers on the Halvemaanstraat, at the front of the building. The space where these ateliers are currently being built was used as storage but became more of a garbage dump for valuable items. The reason to start renting out was that this side of the property was quite deadly. Too little happened. With new tenants with their own front doors in the facade, this problem would be solved all at once. Without too much effort we managed to get the ateliers rented. The tenants were very flexible but still liked it very much if they could use it during DDW. This is the moment to present yourself to the general public and I could understand that. So again we were on a mission impossible that had to succeed.”

Want to know more about the plans of Piet Hein Eek during DDW? Read his full newsletter here.