Face-to-face: a designer's profile with Floris Hovers from Floris Hovers Designs
Floris lives with Eva, their children Ronja, Katrijn, Abel and Winnie the cat in a small working class home (from the 19 hundreds) in Raamsdonk, the Netherlands.
When you look out your window you see
At the front of the house, we can see horses. A little while ago, there were even air balloons lifting off in front of our house. At the back of the house, there is a big field where they grow corn. You can also see the dykes from there. It is a very nice and open area.
What do you like to do most when you are at home?
I like to work in the garden. Keep myself busy. I like being at home anyway and keep things neat. I am also the one who cleans the house. It doesn’t have to be spic and span but it does need to be tidy again at the end of the day. What is a useful about this being a small house, is that it takes only 10 minutes to vacuum and mop the floors.
You work from home. Do you find it easy to let go in the evenings?
Mostly, but it is a continuing process; similar to the business itself really. I am a night owl and enjoy ending the day with a nice glass of port, while sitting on the garden bench. That has become kind of a ritual. It’s my way of pondering over the day. Get everything in order again.
Do you use your designs in your own house?
Yes, I use lots of prototypes, all experimental things. Those are actually the nicest, as no concessions have been done to them yet. I don’t own a lot of design, other than a table by Piet Hein Eek (I bought it for very little at the end of my apprenticeship), which I use as a desk now. I also own a ‘Lluslamp’ by Ontwerpduo and a chair by Tiesencoo. In this phase of my life, everything has to be practical and affordable. I also own things from Ikea. I know very well what is nice but it doesn’t fit here right now. The standard chair by Jean Prouvé (Vitra) for example. I would love to have that next to my kitchen table. Or the ‘polder’ couch by Hella Jongerius, which is also very beautiful. I generally tend to like ‘has beens’. I like it when things come together in your home. I inherited a cupboard from the previous occupants. I was allowed to keep it. The inside was already green and I really liked that! I took out the doors so you can see the colour better. Things have to grow over time and that is the same with an interior.
What would you take with from your house if you were only allowed to take one thing?
I think I would take my violin. It used to belong to my grandfather. I would also take my cigar box in which I keep things that are dear to me: photos, post cards... it contains a mix of all kinds of stuff. It is sitting on my bedside table. It is almost what I would call a ‘life chest’.
Was there ever a moment while growing up when you thought: yes, I’m going to be a designer?
When I look back, I realize that I was always busy doing arts and crafts. I was a master at drawing. I still do that now but nothing publicly. I am now making drawings for a history book.
That is also the real Floris, my true self: toys and children’s books. You can see that in our home as well. Lots of children’s books. It doesn’t all have to be that intellectual. I am very eclectic, which is reflected in my work, more and more. I want to work with multiple materials and colours in one design. And then try and find the balance in that. I am now creating a chair with typical colour combinations and typical shapes. A little bit like my home is right now. You wonder: is this right? But the overall atmosphere is good.
What would you like to change in your home?
I own a box with little cars that I collect. They are all in boxes still. It would be nice to have that in a studio or office sometime. I’d also like to extend the house a bit in the long term, so my children can each have their own bedroom. What I would also like is a cement floor with in the middle a wooden floor. I’ve seen that somewhere once and I think that would look nice. For now, I’m perfectly happy though and I already find it a challenge to maintain it. I don’t strive for richness or poorness. I don’t miss anything. I work nearby and that is already such luxury. I can take my kids to school, which I find a very nice time of the day. We also have lunch at home.
Where do you want to live 10 years from now? What does your dream house look like?
In a little house with a big garden. An old farm or mansion with high ceilings and a nice orchard. Alternatively, an old school from the fifties or sixties in the style of the ‘Bossche school’ with large windows. It does have to be in this area though. I am a bit of a homebody. I like this place so much that I could live here the rest of my life.
I always mention the same names but there are so many. Outside of my own profession, I admire the person Anton Pieck. Because of his vision and his eye for detail. And the composer Yann Tiersen (he wrote the music for the movie 'Amelie'). That is my kind of music. I would love to be able to do that as well. If I were able to do that I would give up my work as a designer. I would love to perform with him. That would really be a dream come true. I am now a director of a children’s choir. Music is very important to me.
Name a negative trait of yours that is causing you the most problems
I am not an easy person to live with I think. Ask Eva;-) I really married the right woman. I am insecure and that causes me problems sometimes. I can envy other designers (I don’t mean jealous) because of their way of presenting. My reservedness is also ok I guess. It’s just the way I am. I do things my own way.
What inspires you? Do you perhaps have a favourite blog or website that you like to visit?
I am an analogue person. That is conscious decision. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter. I phone and I email but that’s about it. I can’t make time for something else. Inspiration has to come my way. The inspiration is in the world around you. We were on holiday in France recently. We were driving over an old toll highway. I can get completely lyrical over a construction like that. I memorize it and then later on I make a sketch of it, which sometimes pops up in my designs later on.