Joost van Bleiswijk

Joost van Bleiswijk was born in Delft, 1976. He graduated in 2001 and got lots of reviews with his ‘outlines’ series. He’s mainly working on his own collections in which the ‘no glue no screw’ collections have become a major part since 6 years. Every year ‘no glue no screw’ becomes more complicated, interesting and architectural. Next to his own collections he works for companies such as Ahrend, Bruut furniture, city of Eindhoven, design connection, Lebesque, Secondome, etc. His work is sold and exhibited through (inter)national galleries as for example Moss gallery in New York and Vivid gallery in Rotterdam and (inter)national museums, as for example the Holon Design Museum in Israel and the Zuiderzeemuseum in the Netherlands and can be found in worldwide publications such as New York Times, Wallpaper, Vogue, ELLE deco, Financial Times, etc.

About the objects:
‘I find it interesting to work with construction methods to create techniques that work as a dogma for my designs. Form follows construction!’
The objects all have a classic and iconic feel. This is because I draw inspiration from the past and look over hundreds of years of product design. A lot of archetypes and conclusions of shapes lie in those years. After collecting hundreds of images, I create contemporary versions of forgotten objects such as a writing desk, standing clock, hourglass and a chessboard. I choose the items with great care. It’s not only the style of design and the archetypical feel I find very important, but also the object itself.’

About the way of working:
Joost van Bleiswijk attaches great value to his freedom as designer: the freedom to be as personal as he likes without being distracted by a customer’s wishes. Or the freedom to spend an extensive amount of time on a series of products: ‘You have to learn to excel at something’, says Joost. And it is only during those long-term projects that it is possible for him to truly specialise in design, technique and construction. Only then will material become like putty in his hands.
According to Joost, the greatest trend should be the absence of a trend; that people don’t buy something just because it happens to be in fashion, or because they believe they may need it - but because they have simply fallen in love with a design. And if this is so, it should last them a lifetime. Joost wants to make only products that are timeless: ‘But that’s not something you can strive for, it just happens.’

Joost looks for things that were made with great care, that are of a high standard of quality and that can, at the same time, be contemporary: Joost’s designs hark back to a long tradition of grandfather clocks, high-backed chairs, goblets, chess sets, and cupboards: ‘Even if they exist in countless different shapes, you will recognise the object’s contours immediately, so they are very strong.’ Joost is especially interested in archetypes, in traditional items that have been around for centuries: ‘An hourglass or a pendulum clock has a more narrative quality than an electric device.
‘You mustn’t take usefulness as your point of departure', says Joost. ‘You should start from a fascination for shape. Explore how the object has looked throughout history. From this research, a new design is created; a new interpretation of the object.’
His designs can indeed be traced back to the essence of a particular shape. And even the essence is analysed until only the most basic elements remains.

Joost finds it exciting to see what happens to an hourglass when you place it in a contemporary setting; in a time when everything has become fast and digital. An hourglass really lets you see how long time takes to pass; it makes your perception of time visual. His Roberval Balance works in the same way: You can literally see how weighing something works instead of merely knowing how.

Craftsmanship and traditional techniques are important to Joost. He chooses to work not only with sustainable materials, but also with products that have an everlasting and timeless image. He would rather design wine decanters or chess sets than mobile phones.


by Joost van Bleiswijk