Interview with Sjoerd Vroonland
What makes Vroonland & Vaandrager unique?
What makes us unique as a label, is that we are a self-producing chairs label. All the products we design for our own label, we make ourselves. When producing the ‘0-serie’ we change and develop things on the spot. This is how we create our signature. What makes our furniture unique, is that we focus on connecting elements. We always try to link elements in a different way. Most of the time connecting elements, such as pins, are covered. We try to expose them and it often becomes a starting point of our designs.
What was the first design of Vroonland & Vaandrager?
Our first design was the Extension Chair that we developed when we were still at the ArtEZ Art Academy. Moooi discovered the chair and took it in production.
What inspires you?
Crafts. It inspires me to rediscover traditional crafts and put them in a new context. Doing so allows me to be innovative with traditional designs.
Where do you get the materials from and where do you look at during the purchasing process?
What are the most important things for me when acquiring materials, is that you apply materials that make sense to the whole. Secondly, that the materials gain value as time passes. Leather, for example, becomes more personal and gets more character over time. The wear traces on leather aren’t ugly. If you use materials that won’t become ugly due to wastage, you’ve successfully chosen your materials.
Do you have an idol or role model?
Stephan Diez (German), who designs thonet chairs and Dick van Hoff (Dutch), who makes designs based on the industrial revolution. Also, the way Piet Hein Eek is doing business is very clever. Van Eek has his own shop and factory, while he still has his own signature. That’s a dream.
What does your interior look like?
First my home looked like my workplace. I used to work from home for four years. I invested most of my money in my own company, instead of in my interior. Now, I am living together with my girlfriend and we are expanding our interior. We have some items of our own collection. If I buy mainstream brands? No, I avoid it! Now and then I exchange items of our collection with furniture of other designers.
What are the future plans for V&V?
There are a few collaboration with other brands coming up. We will design some items for Dutch Originals, for example. Some time ago, I spoke to the Art Director Richard Hutten of Dutch Originals and I proposed to send him some of my designs. Six months I sketched designs and created prototypes and luckily they were sold!
For our own label, we have created a ‘family tree’, consisting of classis designs and our own innovative perspective of these traditional designs. See the picture below. We will further develop this family tree in the future. On the long run, we would like to outsource the production.
If your design had never reached the public, what would you have done?
If your work is not recognized, that’s it. You only get energy from being a fulltime designer if people appreciate it.
If I hadn’t reached the public with my designs and I had to choose another profession, I would have been a Cliniclown or teacher. I would appreciate teaching children.
What tip can you give Young Dutch designers?
Don’t start to early with the Art Academy. If you don’t know what you want exactly, do something different between High School and the Academy. If you start the Academy without a goal, you can lose yourself in it. If you have a goal however, you can make choices more easily.
Finally, what do you like about the concept of GetBisy?
GetBisy is very visual and created from perception, which I really like. I prefer image over words.