Face-to-face: a designer's profile with Anne Olde Kalter from LaFarme
Anne lives with Dirk in a very characteristic and authentic house, which used to be a small farm in Watergang, a small village near to Amsterdam.
When you look out your window you see
I see a drawbridge, the canals of the wetlands and a small orchard. During the past winter, the canals were frozen and thousands of skaters came by in our usually quiet little town. In the summer, you can see many boats go by.
What do you like to do most when you are at home?
I work at home so I am there quite a lot. The nicest thing about living here is being outside, close to nature. I also love to cook together with Dirk. We also use fresh produce from our own backyard, as we have our own kitchen yard since this year!
Do you take your work home with you?
Work and private life aren’t really separated. I enjoy the luxury to work in my pyjamas in the morning. I am not jealous of all those people stuck in traffic jams. I try to do a lot of work during the day, but it can get late sometimes. I just want to do quality work and it is nice and quiet at night. I do have a lot of perseverance I think J. I don’t stop until I’m happy with it. I do try to make appointments in town. From here, I can be in the centre of Amsterdam within 15 minutes. It feels as if we are living partly outside of the city.
Do you use your designs in your own house?
Yes I do. It makes me rather happy. I try to make things that I like to look at myself. In addition to graphic design work, I’ve started doing ceramics, mostly for relaxation, although the china cupboard is getting slightly full from it!
What would you take with from your house if you were only allowed to take one thing?
I love to scour flea markets to find things with a story behind them. ‘One of a kind’ things are more valuable to me then mass-produced stuff, but if I would buy a ticket now to a far away place, I also wouldn’t need to pack a lot. A few photos perhaps. I have collected a blue and white crockery set but if I would have to start again, it also wouldn’t be a train wreck. It is actually quite funny, as you collect a lot of stuff around you but in actual fact it is easily replaceable.
Was there ever a moment while growing up where you thought: yes, I’m going to be a designer?
I wanted to become an architect when I was younger, or a Flying Doctor. That seemed like fun J as then you could be a doctor and a pilot at the same time. In any case, it had to be something cool. I always liked to draw. I first studied communications, and then decided it wasn’t for me. Then I wanted to do something creative. So I studied Art Direction. Having a background in these two studies is now very useful, I’ve noticed. My parents are also very creative. My father writes and my mother does sculptures, but they both have a medical profession. You have to find your own purpose in life. My little brother summed it up nicely recently: “The things you do, you really do with attention and passion. And that is why you develop in a positive way”. I feel fortunate that people often come to me with projects. A privileged position to be in, I think.
What would you like to change in your home?
This is a rental house so we can’t change anything but I would like to have more windows. Then I could enjoy the view even more. In the bedroom, a large window for the view and a woodstove would be really nice.
Where do you want to live 10 years from now? What does your dream house look like?
I’d live in two houses J. They don’t have to be big: one Swedish stuga in a field and one house in a quiet place in town. I miss the city every now and then. The house in the city does have to be in Amsterdam.
Stephan Sagmeister is my big hero. He creates really cool stuff. He is a graphic designer who lives in New York nowadays. Much of his work comes from his own experiences. He wrote a nice book a few years ago: ‘Things I have learned in my live so far’. In it, he visualizes one-liners that he has collected over time in a special typographic way. One of my favourite one-liners from that book is: ‘Complaining is useless, either act of forget’.
Name a negative trait of yours that is causing you the most problems
I always say yes to everything, but sometimes it is a bit too much. I plan too tightly. I always think: oh, I can do that quickly. When I buy my new iPhone, I hope that I can plan everything better as I will always have my agenda with me, but the iPhone won’t say ‘no’ for me of course.
What inspires you? Do you perhaps have a favourite blog or website that you like to visit?
Discovering new cities I find inspiring. I’ve been in New York with a few friends when I quit my job and followed a letterpress course there, which was considered very hip & happening. That is where the one-liner: 'Ma’am step away from the computer' came from. I used to work for an advertising agency as a creative where I was sitting behind the computer the whole day. I wasn’t happy there and wanted to do something different. For the course I had to develop a one-liner to print. I thought it up when I was sitting in the plane to New York, after quitting my job to focus on handmade design.
I visit pinterest a lot, although I’m a lazy ‘pinner’…I repin a lot though, ha,ha. I also like to visit these blogs: color collective, uppercase (also a cool magazine!!) , the style rookie (16 year old style icon).
..all images by Vorstin