F5: Kiki van Eijk Talks About Her Favorite Chair, Sketching Tools + More
Kiki van Eijk grew up in the Netherlands where she spent her youth immersed in nature, daydreaming, and drawing. Her interest in product design began at the Design Academy of Eindhoven. Today, Kiki is one of the most accomplished names in Dutch design, working both solo as well as with partner Joost van Bleiswijk as Kiki & Joost.
The wide range of work she creates includes installations, furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics, and glassware. Kiki’s independent sculptural work has been in museums, galleries, and fairs worldwide – including Basel, London, Paris, Milan, New York, Tokyo, and Rome. Inspired by everyday details and the forms of nature, her world is whimsical and colorful, yet refined by attention to the detail and skillful craftsmanship. Regardless of the scale of Kiki’s work, her handmade touch remains at the heart of her practice and reinforces a forward thinking approach to design.
In recent years, Kiki has collaborated with companies and institutions like Coachella, Studio Edelkoort Paris, TextielMuseum | TextielLab, Zuiderzee Museum, Noord Brabants Museum, Design Academy Eindhoven, Venice Projects, Rijksmuseum, Centraal Museum Utrecht, and private collectors.
Today, Kiki van Eijk joins us for Friday Five!
1. Hans J. Wegner Rocking Chair
I bought this chair eight years ago when we had just moved into our renovated farmhouse. My oldest son, Puk, was then 3 months old, so I have spent many hours cuddling him and rocking him here. The same happened with my second child, Ko. This chair is much more than just a piece of beautiful design – it holds precious memories. Now, eight years later, we still sit together here reading books and catching up. I often sit here on my own with a nice cup of herbal tea, watching the birds flying in my garden. I think rocking chairs have almost healing qualities; I read that they release endorphins in the brain, which improves mood. It’s truly a beautiful design, sensual and domestic. But for me, this chair is much more than that.
2. Saint-Louis Factory
The factory of Saint-Louis is such a magic place. If you have never visited, I truly recommend the experience. We are aware of Saint-Louis’ high level of craftsmanship and the quality of their products, but visiting the factory is an unforgettable experience. It’s like you are transported to another world: the surrounding forest that opens to the beautiful village, Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche, the company archives, the museum, the workshop. This was the place that gave me the inspiration to design the Matrice collection. For a designer like me, that values craft and heritage, visiting a factory where centuries of craft heritage are collected under one roof is a dream.
3. ZARZO Restaurant
At home my husband Joost is the chef! We always eat fresh and healthy, and we are lucky enough to have a big vegetable garden outside the kitchen. This is a luxury, I know. I am a strong advocate for healthy food, not because it’s a trend but because my body is very sensitive to food, and if I don’t eat well, I feel it. From time to time I like to treat myself and go out to a nice restaurant. I know many fantastic places in the world, but ZARZO in Eindhoven is my favorite. The food is super delicious with healthy ingredients, and the atmosphere is warm and informal. It’s run by top chef and wine connoisseur Adrian Zarzo, who is the creative brain behind it. He taps into his Dutch and Spanish blood which has a marvelous and surprising effect to the food he serves – it’s no wonder why he got his first Michelin star. They also have delicious home-made cocktails. Don’t forget and have one for me!
4. My Forever Sketch Tools
Caran D’ache pencils and Van Gogh Watercolour. Those are my sketch tools, and they come with me everywhere. I really need them to put my ideas on paper. It’s my first instinct to reach out for a pencil when I design but, honestly, also when I think. I love drawing with pencils combined with watercolor to see the colors moving on the paper. Creating shades of colors feels like adding emotions. I have used them since childhood, so I stick to my favorite brands. I want to thank them for for the support they gave me during all these years. They helped me to unleash my imagination.
5. Museum Voorlinden Garden by Piet Oudolf
Museum Voorlinden is a gem. The garden is designed by Dutch master landscape designer Piet Oudolf. He is of course royalty in the world of landscape design, and I believe an incredible translator for a certain Dutch feeling and mood. He is almost a painter, creating soft and moody blurred landscapes that are evocative and nourishing. The museum has a fantastic contemporary art collection and the museum gardens are wonderful in all seasons. If you have never been, trust me, a visit is worthwhile.
Work by Kiki van Eijk:
Whether you want to show some love to your partner, friends, pets, or just get a treat for yourself — you’ll find plenty of thoughtful, design-driven Valentine’s Day gift ideas in the Design Milk Shop.