Home Interviews 'We believe in simplicity and contradiction', i29 interior architects

‘We believe in simplicity and contradiction’, i29 interior architects

For Jaspar Jansen and Jeroen Dellensen, Founder Partners, i29 interior architects, Netherland, Furniture in all of their designs actually takes a special place and this is also the innovative aspect of their work.  In an exclusive interview with Sawdust, Jaspar Jansen and Jeroen Dellensen share their future plan.

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What have proved to be watershed moments for your practice?

There is not one, but several moments which were important to us. As we started off as a very small design studio, it has been changing gradually to the practice we have now.

It can be everything; finishing a good project, winning an award, or receiving good publications… (we recently received three awards at the German Design Awards 2018, including one overall GOLD award. 

  • Room on the Roof – GOLD Winner German Design Awards 2018
  • Pavillion EH&I – Winner German Design Award 2018
  • Restaurant De Bijenkorf Utrecht – Winner German Design Award 2018

The German Design Award identifies and presents unique design trends: a competition that advances the design-oriented scene).

How do you approach your projects? What led you to pursue a career in Architecture & design?

For us, it is important that we keep looking for the unexpected. We try to get the most out of every project, and that takes sometimes more time, money and effort then everybody is suspecting. We want to keep a fresh, creative and open minded view to our work. Every project i29 starts is approached as blank, and unprejudiced as possible. In an almost naïve way we hope to dig deeper and come to fresh solutions. We do have a repetitive way of thinking and working on every project. Every client, objective or space makes us to start at the beginning and think about the core of the project. Once all information is collected, we have several brainstorm sessions. Then either Jaspar or Jeroen is defined as project manager and leads the rest of the process, but we always keep sharing our thoughts and talk about the progress until the project is finished.

Were there any particular influences early in your career?

No, we know each other for a long time. Our professional career started right after finishing school of Arts. We were both too enthusiastic and stubborn to start at another place then our own office. But it wasn’t like we actually started a company; we were just working and dreaming about things we wanted to make. At first, there were some small projects. Gradually this changed into the more extensive projects we work on right now.

What is your signature decorating style; how would you describe it?

We believe in simplicity and contradiction. The result of being selective is that you have to push each choice to the limit. It also provides a field of tension and energy to a space. But more importantly it leaves you with a charismatic environment. i29 stands for a work ethic that leads to design solutions dependent neither on expensive materials nor on technical show. We look for choices that answer to multiple questions at the same time. They should tell a conceptual story about the company, the space and its users. We try to design as much as possible in all our interior projects, so this means also the furniture and smaller objects. We believe that every situation is different and therefore asks for particular solutions, not standard but on the contrary personal and specific. Furniture actually takes a special place since we like to solve much of our solutions in them. This leads to often very practical, but also new situations. For us this is also the innovative aspect of our design work.

Do you have any colour used frequently?

White… haha

What have you seen on recent travels that inspires you?

We just came back from London, and the vibrancy in the city is everywhere. Talking to the people and walking in the streets inspires most.

What advice would you give to young designers starting out today?

Any artistic profession has to be based on a strong vision and experience of life itself. It is an articulation and interpretation of the world as you see it. So the more diverse and refined this vision is the more complex and interesting your work will be. That does not mean that the work itself have to appear complex, rather the opposite, you will find that it is just the art to get to the core of things which is often very simple. So, start creating your own vision first and don’t make it too complex.

What are some of the opportunities and challenges your office faces now?

We have some really challenging projects coming up, but we can’t share this with you yet. A challenge for us is not to grow too fast; we want to keep control and participate in the design of all projects we have, and not only become managers of a big team.

What has been your way or key to success as an interior designer?

Often projects are very challenging to us because we have the power to make it challenging for ourselves. Even small assignments can be exiting and hard to tackle if you try to push the boundaries go of the paved path and set your goals high.

Which difficulties have you had to overcome on your way?

We did not really have difficulties, as we were always staying close to ourselves. We have chosen a path, and looking back from the last couple of years it seemed to be the right choice. We do not design things as most do, we do not style what is there. What we truly try to do is to literally design the space; the stuff that is not physically there. And we can only do this by designing the physical material. But it is a completely different approach and it obviously leads to surprising results.

What is your biggest dream today?

To keep on working like we are doing right now. We meet interesting people, travel, and work on exciting projects.

Share with us some Iconic Buildings and Awards you like.

There’s a long list of people who make really nice work: The Bouroullec brothers, Konstantin grcic, Jasper Morrison, Nendo, Rem Koolhaas, Akira Sakamoto, Sanaa.. What they have in common that the work seems so natural. Not overdone or too much in your face but at the same evoke a powerful experience.

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