Richard Hutten




Born in The Netherlands in 1967, Richard Hutten is one of the pioneering names of Dutch design. Working on diverse projects like furniture, objects, interiors and exhibition spaces, Hutten has established a respected name for himself in the international design arena.

 

Starting his own design studio in 1991, the designer has gained an impressive list of clients over the years. These include Moooi, Muij, Offecct, Christofle, Artifort, Kvadrat, Moroso, and many others.


FAE: Congrats on a successful completion of silver jubilee for your own studio. How has been the journey so far?

Richard Hutten : Thank you! It has been a wonderful journey with ups and downs. Luckily more up than down. And we are still going up. The goal is to make as many people happy as possible with my designs. With several designs being sold over a million units, that has been very successful. Personally I’m very proud that almost 50 museums worldwide and still counting have my designs. This shows the cultural relevance of my work.

FAE: Who were your inspirations or what motivated you to take up designing as a profession?

Richard Hutten : Already as a child, I was making things. When I was 16 years old, I found out that could be my profession. So actually I’m born as a designer. Creating things is my second nature.

FAE: Most of your designs are known to have a playful approach. Why is playfulness an important aspect of your work?

Richard Hutten : Play brings joy, happiness and fun. Play brings people together and inspires them. These aspects I find the utmost important in my work. And play is culture as explained in the book ‘Homo Ludens’ – The playing man, by Johan Huizinga.

FAE: You have developed two design concepts of yourself: “No Sign of Design” and “Table on Table”. Can you explain each, and if possible, name a product where it has been used?

Richard Hutten : Both concepts are part of the same family. It started as my graduation work at the Design Academy Eindhoven. For this I use archetypes to create products with new meaning. The form of the product is secondary to its purpose. It is not about how it looks, but what you can do with it. It’s like a play.

FAE: What was your idea behind designing the Dombo Mug?

Richard Hutten : The idea for this mug, which sold over a million units worldwide, not including the copies, was to exaggerate the movement of drinking. Originally I designed it for children. The mug is as wide as a 3 year old, making the act of drinking as a play and fun. The mug is an ergonomic wonder, so later I found out that it also was very useful for disabled and elderly people. But the must important aspect of the mug is that it is fun and makes people smile.

FAE: Tell us in brief about the Offecct Satellite Chair.

Richard Hutten : The satellite chair is designed for the secondary spaces in offices. It’s based on drawings architects make when they design a space. They quickly draw some circles on the floor plan to indicate where the chairs have to stand. As a special feature, the chair has a table which spins around the chair, so you can put your laptop or mobile phone on it, and of course your coffee. Since its spins it’s useful for both right and left hand people.

FAE: How did the Moroso X Chair come into being?

Richard Hutten : When you enter a space you mostly see the back of a chair first, but most chairs are designed from the front. I decided to take the back of the chair as a starting point, and used an iconic X to connect the seat to the back.

FAE: Your recent work includes the Clover stool for Taiyou&C. Share some details of it.

Richard Hutten : The starting point was to make a light weight stackable wooden stool. By combining the seat and the frame into one, instead of putting the seat on top of the frame, I managed a safe weight and still get a lot of strength. The stool weights only about 1.5 kilograms but is extremely strong. Its weight makes it easy to stack, and also saves wood. For the production, less trees have to be cut, and the transportation is cheaper, which makes it also a very environmentally friendly design.

FAE: Being one of the pioneering names of Dutch design, what is your take on the Dutch design scene currently?

Richard Hutten : The Dutch design scene is one of big diversity, with a lot of experimentation, innovation and freedom. It combines pragmatism with poetry just like the Dutch are.

FAE: Can we expect some new products from you this year?

Richard Hutten : Currently we are working on about 50 projects from clients around the world. Many of them are furniture, but we also do all kinds of other industrial products and interiors. At this moment, the first phase of the interior of the Dutch Opera and Ballet in Amsterdam, for which we designed the interior is under construction.

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