Would you call yourself a designer or more a technologist? What’s your background?
I’m a designer but I’m very much driven by certain technologies. Of course, if you make these kinds of objects you have to be a bit of a materials scientist, a bit of an engineer, a bit of a designer, and a bit of a technology geek as well.
I was educated as an industrial designer. I graduated seven years ago from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Freedom of Creation was actually the name of my graduation project and it evolved into a company later on.
What is Freedom of Creation’s philosophy?
I’m not just making nice shapes but actually trying to change the world; that’s what drives me. As a student I started looking at the products in the world and the only thing I saw was just crap. There’s too much junk on this planet. What should we design, what is really needed? Instead of designing products, I wanted to design a platform for products, so that you wouldn’t actually create anything until you needed it and actually reduce all that junk.
Basically I’m trying to do for products what has already happened to music and digital photography, money, literature – to store them as information and be able to send the data files around the world to be produced. By doing this, you can reduce the waste of the planet, the labor cost, transportation … It’s going to have a huge impact in the next couple of decades for the manufacturing of goods; we believe it’s a new industrial revolution. We will be able to produce products without using the old mass-production infrastructure that’s been around for 200 years and is fully out of date. We already have partners around the world and we’re going to start producing our things in Japan, in the U.S., in Australia, South America, so the products will be as close to the consumer as possible.
Coming then to the designs themselves, I see that they’re all both very geometric and also very organic … Does that come from your design philosophy or from your technology?
I’m very influenced by nature and also by the beauty of geometry – all my designs are geometric but at the same time quite random. You don’t always see it but there is always a certain “code” behind them – as in nature itself – and I’m fascinated by the fact that we’re now able to actually produce these things industrially. For example, the 1597 is based on a cornflower so the distribution of its seeds, if you look at it from the middle, has eight different spirals going in different ways. It’s the most economical way for the plant to grow. Same thing also for the Dahlia and the Palm lines. And the tray which is on the table is called Trabecula, which means “bird bone” in Latin, because it has a similar structure to a bird’s bone. It’s extremely strong but extremely lightweight – and very economical.
I’m very minimalistic, I’m very clean, I like black and white colors, I like grey. Even though I like flowers, I don’t want to create a flower garden out of my designs. Everything is quite clinical in a way.
Are the texture and the visual appearance already dictated by the material?
Yes, indeed, but of course you can also mix your own materials if you want. This particular material was developed for the automotive industry. You can vary the angle you produce the layers and you can get the layers in different places. It creates a mystery: people see them and are fascinated. In contrast to industry, who are trying to get rid of the layers, we don’t necessarily need to because they can also be beautiful. If you have a look at Dahlia, it creates a very beautiful shadow. You need to know the material to know how the light will come through it.
Do you have other collections with different colors, different transparencies, different textures?
The fact is that you now have machines which enable you to make anything you want, in any color. We try to drive for custom-made objects. Somebody goes: “we’d like this but we want it a bit smaller and we want it red” and then it’s exclusively for that person.