Friday Five with Reinier de Jong

Dutch designer Reinier de Jong is an architect, interior designer, furniture designer, and online editor/blogger (a Renaissance man) based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He describes his aesthetic as “simple but strong” and “bold but refined.” He clearly put careful thought into his Friday Five picks, treating us to a sampler covering a variety of mediums, plus his own must-have tools.

1. Therme Vals
The Therme in Vals, Switzerland was designed by Peter Zumthor. This exquisite building has it all for me: high quality in conceptual approach, in function, in relation to its location, in the interior space, and in its materials and detailing. In some aspects it is austere and it is minimal, but it is very humane on a basic level. I also admire his work ethics.

2. My sketch book
I am very picky about my sketch book. Apart from obvious aesthetic considerations, I have quite some demands with regards to the functional features:
1) Small enough to put in my pocket to carry any time.
2) Big enough to actually have enough paper on which to write and draw.
3) The cover needs to be flexible, but not too soft.
4) The paper needs to be thick enough to draw on both sides.
5) I need to be able to write or draw on it with every type of pen, since I tend to loose pens and pencils constantly.

Once I had a Pinetti sketchbook that I really liked, but now I order a felt-covered Bindewerk sketchbooks from Germany.

3. Abstract vintage art
Living and working in Rotterdam, I come across a lot of abstract artworks from the ’50s and ’60s. They are often integrated in modernist buildings from that era. Some of them are really marvelous. What I like about them is their pure expression. I generally tend to appreciate art that does not need to be explained and doesn’t intend to explain anything. It is just about the graphic and sculptural qualities of the artwork itself.

4. My camera
My daily snapshot blog stimulates me to take my camera everywhere I go. I do not have any photographic pretentions, it is just nice to visually record anything I find interesting relating to architecture, design, and art. Sometimes I shoot the obvious highlights, but I also like to find places or objects that are overlooked by many people.

5. Endless Chair
Since I am a furniture designer, I think I need to mention at least one piece of furniture in this list. I could name dozens of vintage designs that I admire, but I chose something contemporary: the Endless Chair by Dutch designer Dirk van der Kooij. The chair is made by a robot arm that he purchased from a Chinese factory. He repaired it, reprogrammed it to produce his chair from a continuous lace of molten, recycled plastic, as though squeezed from a toothpaste tube. It looks great and feels comfortable.

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.