Countlan &designshop interview
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design resource: &designshop

For those of you who like to indulge in a bit of tabletop retail therapy once and a while, you may identify with the following statement: There is nothing better than finding a go-to store, be it a local brick and mortar store or a cool e-commerce site, where finding fabulous household items, and gifts is both effortless and endless.  Discovering a store that unequivocally reflects your design aesthetic, as if the buyer was meant to be your personal shopper, makes life so much easier.

This writer found her first go-to store well over a decade ago and I assure you it has been a satisfying relationship ever since.  Pardon the analogy, but this special type of store that I am referring to is akin to finding a friend who “gets” you.  I pop in every once and a while for some creative inspiration and home décor rejuvenation.  By no means am I suggesting a one-stop shop for all décor and gift items is the preferred strategy; that would just be boring.  However, if you are passionate about home accessories, there is a certain excitement by having a trusted “go-to” store to help you execute your vision.

If you have not found your design sidekick or are on the hunt for new resources, don’t be discouraged.  I assure you these diamonds in the rough exist all over the world; half the battle is finding them.  In an effort to make your search less daunting and perhaps more enjoyable, Counter will do the globetrotting on your behalf and profile one cool design e-commerce store in each issue.

For our first profile, we would like to introduce you to Elwin and Nynke, the owners of &designshop in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  As a design-duo, they bring over 15 years of interior styling and an endless stream of creativity and experience to their business.  They work together to create their own design items and strive to inspire and challenge one another to find the true essence of a new product and craft their brand’s future vision.

INTERVIEW with & designshop

01 What is &designshop known for as a store?
& designshop is all about young designers and fresh brands from around the world. All products are made in smaller exclusive series with love and care for material, colour and finish. We strive to be as unique as possible by always going that extra mile looking for new and surprising creative highlights. Next to products from other designers, whom we mostly all know personally, we create and sell our own products directly to our customers. We have a close bond to all the products and strive to know and tell as much about the background story and production as we can.

02 How would you describe the mix of products you carry in-store?
We believe in hands on design which for starters, is always visually beautiful but also stays close to functionality and long life-time use. The mix of products in our shop is constantly evolving and changing according to trends we spot and create for a bigger audience. This mix includes a variety of high quality materials and new production techniques which are true eye candy. We don’t follow any strict rules, but we always need to fall in love with a product and stay close to ourselves, not conforming to other shops or trends pushed by magazines.

03 What constitutes a good “conversation piece” in a home?
A conversation about any subject starts with something that makes you curious, something you want to know more about and something you can’t stop touching.  A great example is the Endless Chair by Dirk van der Kooij, a 3D printed full size comfortable functional chair which invites a person’s touch and makes a true statement in any home.

Countlan &designshop interview

On the subject of materials that make good conversation pieces, another example is the duo behind the brand, Beeldend Konstruktief, which makes amazingly colourful furniture by laminating hand-woven fabrics onto wood.  In general a design should always tell a story about its origin, how it is made and why it looks the way it does.

Countlan &designshop Interview

Beeldend Konstruktief 01

04 Who are some up and coming designers that people should have on their radar?
We are in love with all eye-catching creations made by Lenneke Wispelwey, a ceramic designer who is able to combine a cute and tough character into one object. Her work is best described as research on shapes and textures that are reflected in her vases, cups and other household objects.  Second, we just started with a new collection of woven creations by Mae Engelgeer. Her designs are graphic, playful, bright patterns. The collection contains plaids, cushions, tea towels (to name a few) all made of beautiful fabrics such as mohair, cashmere, cotton and acrylic yarns mixed together.

Countlan &designshop interview

Lenneke Wispelwey 03

Lenneke Wispelwey 01
Photo Source: &designshop

05 Which brands carry innovative items for entertaining at home?
Modu+ is a module seating system that has two base elements with endless possibilities. You can create a hocker, arm chair, lounger or couch. When you are having a party or just want to change your set up, everything can be taken apart and easily put the elements in their new position. At the moment we are the first and only shop that sells and has Modu+ on display.

06 What qualities do you look for when searching for products to carry at &designshop?
All of our products need to be functional, made with quality materials, crafted with love and above all they need to spark people’s imagination.  They also have to be able to withstand the ravages of time and evolve with consumer trends in order to stay a fresh in a home for years to come.

07 Do you have any favourite product that you use when you entertain at home?
As shop owners we are in a lucky position to see new and exciting products every day. Every now and then we select one of these beauties to enrich our own home. Some of these include ceramic pieces by Lenneke Wispelwey, the Chestnut lamp by Studio Snowpuppe, the Fried PVC Vase by Jonas Samson, Plopp Up by Oscar Zieta, Diamond Light by Eric Therner and Sparcus by Elwin & Nynke.

08 For those who are interested in purchasing items from new or smaller designers, where should people start their search?
Our shop is a very good resource (of course!), so always keep an eye on &designshop news on our website and social media pages. We visit graduation design shows, search through tons of blogs on a daily basis and ask around in our creative surrounding. Take a good look closely around you, there’s more just around the corner than you think.

09 Could you share some closing thoughts on colour or material trends this season?
To define a trend, one of the most important subjects is colour. We see a shift from white and greys with an accent of bright colour towards products that are fully made in bright orange, yellow, fluorescent mixed with pastels. Furthermore, items made from raw materials or materials with a natural character are increasingly receiving more attention. Especially, combinations like ceramic and wood (oak and ash), are growing on a global scale. Next to the natural materials, new techniques such as 3D printing on plastic, metal and printed ceramics is growing in popularity.  (&designshop has a great video on (their own) 3D printing on their blog if you are interested)

A big thanks to Elwin & Nynke van der Hoek, owners of & designshop, for sharing their experiences and expertise.

Zwaanshals 520 3035KS Rotterdam, The Netherlands // //




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