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People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Ulrike Jurklies
Country of origin: Germany
Work: Designer and owner label mo man tai

From Ulrike’s studio, you look right into a big warehouse with materials and stock of her company, a workshop, a swing and a skate ramp. Yes indeed, a skate ramp. The Jurklies family has a serious case of the wheels virus and that shows at their workplace and at home. Skateboard of son Hendrik and Ulrike herself, motorcycles from her other half, bicycles, wheels everywhere. Getting back to the skateboards: you can find Ulrike regularly at skatepark Area51. “Well, it all began when our son started skateboarding at the age of 5. The lessons were so much fun! Area51 does that very well with the children. After that, I made the expo Dreamland together with Willemijn de Wit and Sarah Mesritz at Area51. It was all about the skate culture. The expo was a success and Area51 wanted to thank us with a nice skate lesson. Finally, my friends and  I took a class during a quiet night and I got really excited. I cycled home with a big smile afterwards. This was something I had to keep doing. Every time I’m on the board I have to overcome a barrier for myself.”

Ulrike bij Area51

Fotografie: Diewke van den Heuvel

“I always show my interns the whole process, so they can understand what the business side of designing is all about.”Ulrike Jurklies, Designer

Ulrike met her husband, a Belgian national, in Hong Kong where they both worked. Back in Europe, they traveled back and forward between Munich and Groningen. When he was relocated for work to Amersfoort they decided to go live there together. “That was a new house for the both of us. Within a year we moved to Eindhoven. And this is the place where we both have lived the longest time. I think Eindhoven is atypical for The Netherlands. When I’m having guests from abroad, they always ask where the canals and windmills are. But then I explain we have lots of other interesting stuff here. In terms of culture, it is a dream to live here. And once you have your network, then it’s really valuable. People do a lot for each other here. I actually expected to face some difficulties regarding my German origin, but that’s not the case at all. I feel very welcome here.”

Ulrike owns her own label with design products and notices that the actual designing nowadays is a relatively small part of her work. “People sometimes say I am also ‘being a bit creative’, like it is some sort of occupational therapy. But I’m most busy with all the aspects around my products: sales, marketing, packaging, distribution. I have a commercial focus on how my products can be affordable for a large group of people. In some way, a lot of designers here don’t have an immediate goal to get products on the market. I studied in Munich where the educational level is the same as the Design Academy in Eindhoven, but in Munich, they are a lot more focused on getting a product on the shelves. On the other hand, the Design Academy teaches more to think creatively and to do research.  Both have their pros and cons: here your mind gets more stirred and in Munich, you learn more about having a business and how to keep your head above water after you finish your study. I always show my interns the whole process, so they can understand what the business side of designing is all about.”

“During the Dutch Design Week I present myself no longer as mo man tai, but as designer Ulrike Jurklies. That is a well-made choice I made a couple of years ago. I show what I can do creatively, I chose a different approach than in my regular work. Together with a couple of partners from the industry, we manage to make larger installations every year. We are now working on DDW17. It is going to be another beautiful project, but I still have to find the right location, though.”

Read all the internationals stories here.
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel