Arjan and Anieke are ontwerplabel Vij5 and live together with their 2 black cats named Joey and Stein. The type of house they live in is a corner unit from the nineteen fifties in the Netherlands.
When you look out your window you see
Our 15 metre deep backyard, with lots of edible stuff. We don’t really have green fingers but we do our best. We like everything that is edible in our yard. We already grow a lot: grapes, tomatoes, raspberries, herbs, etc. We enjoy sitting on the bench in front of our fire basket in the back of the yard.
What do you like to do most when you are at home?
Not a lot. We like to read a bit or watch a movie. Arjan: I prefer watching shows such as ‘Game of Thrones’ in which I can completely lose myself. It’s a very nice way to ‘switch off’. Anieke likes to cook a lot, which varies from baking cookies to preparing complete meals. She can easily spend 45 minutes in the kitchen after a day of work. We don’t eat anything involving packaged or ready-made meals. We find it important to eat healthy, which also makes it easier to sustain long working hours. Anieke takes a PowerYoga class once a week and also does some exercises at home.
Do you take your work home with you?
No. Work is often on the mind still, but we try to avoid crawling behind the computer at home. We do work late sometimes, but then we do this at our studio, and not at home. We also talk a lot in the car about our work because we are on the road often.
We mainly have products and prototypes of other designers in our own collection, such as the Lloop lamp by Ontwerpduo, the Sample series jewelry by rENs, Le Belge System by Reinhard Dienes, the glass carafe ‘Schenk’ (Dutch for ‘to pour’) by Bas van Raay and the stool ‘Wrapped’ by Floris Hovers. We only add designs to our own collection that we enjoy ourselves. The consequence is of course that we then also put these in our own home. We also own a prototype of the Tabloid Table, which we have designed in cooperation with Floris. We also exchange designs with other designers sometimes.
What would you take with from your house if you were only allowed to take one thing?
Our two cats ;-) Everything else is material.
What did you study?
Anieke studied at the Design Academy (Identity, followed by Communication) and I (Arjan) studied Architecture. We’ve known each other since our student days. Arjan got a bit of the taste for design from me (Anieke). The Flex Vase was our first joint product. Arjan: I enjoy product design, the small scale of it is manageable. Architecture is more abstract. Arjan: We both look at things differently but at the moment that we agree we know it is right. Arjan: I look at things more strategically whereas Anieke looks at the finished product and how to perfect it. We do the design work together, which is somewhere in the middle.
What would you like to change in your home?
Anieke: I think I would change the environment before the house itself. I would rather look out over a field then at the other side of a street. Arjan: I would like to have our studio nearby and I would like to own a showroom.
Where do you want to live 10 years from now? What does your dream house look like?
We don’t have a real dream house in mind, but a place (not new) where we could combine living and working in a creative way would be nice. I doesn’t matter so much where it is located. The Netherlands is so small. We are used to driving. You shouldn’t live somewhere to find peace and quiet. Not WHERE you live but HOW you live is important. You need to find peace within. Arjan: that one can go on a bumper sticker ;-) A large garden with a green house would also be nice. But then we also should have a gardener (laughs).
Who is your example/hero/favourite designer?
Arjan: We are not so focused on specific names. Scholten & Baijings creates nice work (very nice shapes) and we like Floris Hovers very much, but they are not examples for us. We don’t place anyone on a pedestal. You need to work together and that is the most fun part. Then you get to create the most beautiful things.
Name a negative trait of yours that is causing you the most problems
Arjan: I am too direct and can do 16 things at a time but that is also efficient. Anieke: you cannot do 16 things at the same time! But you do accomplish a lot in one day. Anieke can really take her time for things and that makes me jealous but then I also sometimes think: get on with it already!
Arjan: your biggest quality is also your biggest pitfall. It’s possible to lose sight of things: we take too many decisions based on emotions. Which on one hand is good, but sometimes you need to be rational as well. You cannot run a business based on emotions alone.
What inspires you? Do you perhaps have a favourite blog or website that you like to visit?
We read blogs and magazines to stay in tune with what is going on, but not really for inspiration. We also use Internet sometimes to check if a design doesn’t already exist. We often get magazines as proof when we publish in it. The mix of magazines is very nice. Our design process largely consists of us talking. Most designs we thought of during a drive somewhere. Luckily we understand each other very well. We need very little words. And then it is only a matter of working out the details once we are back in the studio ..!
And a little extra today ... this short video made for us by Jonna van Hesteren