April 30, 2020

Kiki & Joost say Hello Cindy! from the Netherlands

From her home office, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen (@thecindygram) had a chat with Kiki & Joost on her Instagram Live program, Hello Cindy!  Viewers may have recognized the pair from their DesignTV by SANDOW appearance, but this time they logged on inside, with better WiFi, rather than in the pastoral Dutch countryside. 

Last year, after an eight year search, Kiki & Joost found and created their main office and studio. Overlooking the water in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, it’s a sustainable build tailored just for them. “We have a lunch table that fits 12,” Joost said, alluding to an informal policy that encourages taking desk breaks and collaborating with colleagues. It’s also a great spot for fostering creativity. As of now, their team is still working, most from home and a few in the workshop. One project Kiki can’t reveal too much about concerns sculptures she’s doing for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, hopefully happening in October. 

“We want to be known for our bespoke and personal items,” Joost said about the origins of Kiki & Joost. Kiki explained how they gradually built the company up, doing the majority of work by hand. “We didn’t wait until a gallery or commissioner called us, we just got started,” Kiki said, commenting on how the current pandemic has shifted the pair’s mindset and drive, as if reverting back to the company’s earliest days. 

Then Allen showed off some of their design highlights: Joost made a “no screw, no glue” bespoke gas fireplace that’s held together by gravity and made from a shiny, reflective material that makes the piece look lighter than its 1500kgs; a red clock for an exhibition that was made from laser-cut metal, a project that fit wells in this time because all the clocks in the collection were made from recycled materials; an outdoor kitchen commissioned for a fine dining restaurant that’s stationed in an old-firehouse—what makes it stand out is the hand-painted black finish with white trim that calls attention to the many different pieces making up the whole; and lastly, viewers caught a glimpse of a table and lamp built by Kiki. These were inspired by branches she found foraging around in the forest, the story she wanted to tell with the piece being that of primitive people in civilized situations.

“I would consider him a mix between a mad professor and a sculptor,” Kiki says of Joost, who designs from a more emotional standpoint. One special project that has combined both of their strengths is the aesthetically-minded solar panel collection they created with MyEnergySkin for facades and roofs. “It doesn’t feel like a solar panel, but a beautiful textile,” Kiki said. Joost then chimed in: “We can cover buildings in this!” 

To cap off the episode, Kiki & Joost shared their current quarantine project—finding materials and objects around the house to transform into candle holders. So far, they’ve made 30.  Refreshing the mind, staying positive, and standing strong with your ideas, no matter what trends may be, are the duo’s advice to everyone out there in isolation: “Stay vigilant!” 

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