A Visit to Dutch Design Year

This month’s Design Store(y) destination, Dutch Design Year, is a store, living room, design, and styling studio in the center of Eindhoven, in the southern part of The Netherlands. It’s filled with items by young designers, and also features styling projects and exhibitions. New pieces are mixed with vintage in order to give people a different perspective. Time to tour and talk with owner Marleen Kurvers.


Why did you pick this city/neighborhood/storefront? 

Eindhoven became the design city of the Netherlands thanks to Dutch Design Week and the Design Academy. I wanted to develop a platform that was an exhibition space for designers, because as a designer myself, I noticed that although we had a lot of good design, there were few spaces to show and sell it—especially in the center of Eindhoven. I started in the Smalle Haven because the street has a vintage-y and creative vibe.


Where did you get the name for the store?

Every year, Dutch Design Week is held in Eindhoven. It started a little bit as a joke to refer to the DDW, but in a way I really wanted to show the highlights of the DDW during the year and the work of young, talented, mainly Dutch designers. So I just kept the name.

Has it changed much since then? How?

Yes, the shop was connected directly to a restaurant, but now I have my own independent space. Now I can really show my style—new design combined with old. This mix works really well and the reactions of the public have been great.


What’s one of the challenges you have with the business? 

To convince the average public in Eindhoven about my design sense, because they can be a little conservative. The challenge is to be faithful to my ideas and the collection that I have built. I love neon, pastel colors, 80s products, industrial desks, and beautiful new designs. These are different types of things than the ones found in the average shop in Eindhoven. This is also a big challenge with my styling projects.


What other stores have you worked in before opening this one?

None. It was a impulsive decision. Maybe that’s a good thing; I am more a creative than a businesswoman, I think differently and dare to take risks.


What’s your favorite item in the store right now?

The ceramic clocks of Elke van de Berg, which combine soft pastel ceramics with neon timers. They are absolutely beautiful and showcase good craftsmanship too.


What is this season’s theme/inspiration/story? 

Craftsmanship with some sort of refinement. Simple, durable, and functional products that are not too difficult to manufacture, but have some kind of refinement. For example, the colors or materials that are used: neon or pastels, or copper or marble.


Are you carrying any new products and/or undiscovered gems you’re particularly excited about? 

I just love the New Found Treasures lights of Klaas Kuiken and Dieter Volkers [pictured above], which are pendant lamps made out the inside of a vacuum flask. The collection gives a poetic look at the things around us and value to “worthless” products.


What’s been a consistent best seller?

The towels of Mae Engelgeer, the paper cover vase of Pepe Heykoop, and the gradiënt candles of Ulrike Jurklies.

Does the store have its own line?

Yes! This September we are presenting a collection of new carpets in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam.


Any special events coming up?

I am very proud to have had a Dutch Design Year shop/exhibition in the Beurs van Berlage building in the center of Amsterdam through January 2014. We will also participate in Inside Design, organized by the Elle Decoration at the end of September. We now have a permanent showroom at Usine, a restaurant in Eindhoven. We will change the products, which are created mainly by designers from Eindhoven, about 15 times per year. Also, Dutch Design Year is opening another shop! At the end of this year, my partner, designer Dirk vander Kooij, will launch a new concept space in Amsterdam. We want to give the public a true experience of visiting Dirk’s workshop, with his robots, together with DDY showroom. There will be vintage pieces, items from new designers, and some nice food. We are very very excited.

Do you have anything from the store in your own home?

I have one of the first rocking chairs from the Endless collection of Dirk vander Kooij. Recently, we got this vintage Artifort couch and Hay cushions.

Shop Dutch Design Year at Smalle Haven 6, 5611 EJ Eindhove The Netherlands or online.

Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.