Daily on my bike ride to work, I narrowly miss collisions with cars when I pass Scholten & Baijings. Large glass windows are decorated with hanging fluorescent gridded tea cloths. As a designer, fluorescents and grids are two subjects I find hard to ignore.
- Scholten & Baijings
- Westerdoksdijk 597
- 1013 BX Amsterdam
Their two floor design studio oozes a sense of cool, which seems to happen with everything in the Netherlands. Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings, are, a power-couple. That’s right, they’re one of them. They got together, stayed working together and became even more exceptional. What’s insightful to their method is they don’t divide tasks or split projects, they work like a Dutch tandem bike: totally insync.
“Stefan is really good at the big picture. I’m good at the details.”
-Jill Singer, ‘Sight Unseen’, 02.24.10
Adding these to my list of suggestions for designer friend’s presents. The prices for their furniture and products can go up the scale, gleefully you’ll find these towels are around €24. Kaaaaching.
I noticed in a number of articles that Scholten & Baijings were often described as being distinctly “un-Dutch”. Despite ticking the boxes for being minimal and use of form, they have an industrial production style.
“What’s distinctive about Scholten & Baijings in the Netherlands? They build a bridge between designer, artisan and manufacturer. Their close involvement in the production process results in design with both a perfect finish and personal signature.”
There’s one last point about how they work that really made me think. For what I do, I’m driven by ideas and concepts. Scholten & Baijings, they start with aesthetics–colours and materials–then form a design. This triggered a memory of something I’d read about Studio Dumbar. Despite such emphasis on thinking and visual branding (visit partner Tom Dorrestijn’s site if you haven’t already), they also have ‘free spirit’ projects.
“Free spirit: Some projects don’t focus on strategy but on pure, 100% design power. Studio Dumbar calls these ‘free spirit projects’. Here, the designer has only one challenge: to see how far his or her creativity can go.”
For Scholten & Baijings’ process, they say, “we work more like artists.” Which is art? Which is design? We’ll leave that discussion for another time.