Category: Design

Design is shaping, inventing, creating. Concocting something that didn’t exist before. Make something come alive. A piece of furniture, a building, a city, a landscape, a world.

Troughout my career I have visualized  many designs by others. Or given a boost to the design process through a glimpse in a 3D model. With equal pleasure I produce own designs. At every imaginable scale: a cassette tape box lamp, a street planetarium, and a modern turf hut or a calendar for Mars.

The Barge at Night, artist impression of the new Feyenoord stadium on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam

The Barge: a New Stadium for Feyenoord

For a few years now, there have been discussions about a new stadium for Feyenoord, replacing the legendary football temple and municipal monument, De Kuip. Allthough I am not as frequent a visitor of the stadium as some of my fellow townspeople, I also have my memories of De Kuip. For example, of a competition match of Feyenoord against Vitesse: 2-1. Pierre van Hooijdonk was still playing then, so it must have been a while ago. Much longer ago I was at the best concert of the  (twentieth) century by Eric Clapton. With Elton John as a disastrous support act and the then virtually unknown Bonnie Raytt doing...

Interior picture of the basement of the Orange Bridge after adaptation to a hotel suite, with double bed and ship stairs.

Sleeping in a Bridge Keeper’s Cabin in Schiedam

In Schiedam, at a stone’s throw from my place of birth, is the Orange Bridge, a structure from the thirties which spans the New Harbour. Since early this year, the bridge keeper’s cabin is managed by fellow photographer, local resident, architecture lover and Schiedam promoter Jan Sluijter, who uses it to organize exhibitions and other events. Here’s a pre-announcement: on 2 and 3 June there’s an exhibition about the architecture of Dudok, including my Bijenkorf triptych. A suite in the basement Under the bridge keeper’s room is a basement, which is accessible via a ladder in one of the towers...

Een virtueel relief waarin de vlaggen van de 28 EU-lidstaten zijn verwerkt

The Colors of the Union: 304888344611713860501504000000 Ways to Make a Flag

In 2002, my former employer Rem Koolhaas designed a flag for the European Union. His idea: a kind of bar code with the colors of the flags of the various member states arranged from east to west. One of the places where the design was used is the Museumpark in Rotterdam. A brilliant idea, in my opinion: it symbolizes variety and unity and it is immediately recognizable. The flag may only be a bit hard to draw without errors, but that’s true for many flags. (How are the American stars arranged? And did we start with a red or a...

Artist impression of St.Mary's church in Watford, looking from the west entrance towards the main church hall and the chancel area

Return to Watford – more impressions of St.Mary’s

In February I was Watford, England for a week to visualize the planned renovation of St. Mary’s church. I wrote this blog article about it. Convinced Those images, of the chancel area of the church, were primarily intended to convince the monument committee, which has now reacted positively to the plans. The church council was pleased with my pictures and they asked me to come back to also to visualize the plans for the main body of the church. And so I got back on the train to the UK. Meeting place The main change in the nave of the...

Interieur image St.Mary's church in Watford, showing the alternative with a stone floor, looking towards the chancel

Working in Watford

The past one and a half week I’ve been in Watford, England, to provide my services to the design for the re-order of St. Mary’s Church. I previously wrote about this beautiful eight hundred year old church building, built with the typical flintstone that can be seen often in this region: The church’s interior is beautiful too, but also a bit impractical and not very flexible to use. For some time, there have been plans to make the church more accessible and welcoming. Now it looks like that is finally going to happen. Re-ordering the chancel My work was mostly...

Kerstkaart met schilderachtig beeld van een kerkje in het winterlandschap in nationaal park Thingvellir in IJsland

Merry Christmars

For decades, I’ ve been putting a great deal of work into my Christmas cards. And sometimes into those of others. This year I made one by commission of Explore Mars, a (mostly) American non-profit organization that promotes Manned Mars exploration: The design and the text “Two Down, Mars and the Universe to go” is a reference to Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” and the recent landing of the European spacecraft Philae on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Mars comes into view as the next big step. And after that there are a few hundred billion stars and their planets to...

Front facade of the Green Pyramid, a radically sustainable house in Borne, The Netherlands: a modest entry to a surprisingly generous space

The Green Pyramid: Radically Sustainable

The Bornsche Maten is a new neighborhood in the municipality of Borne, the Netherlands. In the southern part there’s room for the so-called “Living Wild”-concept: building without restrictive rules, giving the buyer the right to determine the size of the lot and the freedom to choose which style of living suits him or her. There is still room for ten to twenty houses. In a design competition builders and architects were challenged to share their creative approach to living in the 21st century. A jury has reviewed the 39 submissions on originality, comfort, sustainability and innovation; ultimately they selected 18...

Graphical representation of the colorful skyline of Rotterdam, extended with sky, river Nieuwe Maas and port

A New Skyline for Rotterdam

Rotterdam Festivals uses a graphical representation of the famous skyline of the city as their logo. But such a logo is aging rapidly, especially in 2014, the year that three new landmarks were added: the Central Station, the Market Hall and De Rotterdam. So they organized a design competition for a new skyline logo with at least those three buildings in it. The prize was … nothing. Nothing? Indeed, it was only for the honor. Maybe, as a designer, you shouldn’t even want to participate, but hey, it’s for a good cause. And since I had a good idea…. Colors...

Image of an aluminium Greek temple, iluminated with lights in many colors, mounted on panels on the facade of the Euramax factory in Roermond, The Netherlands

The Aluminum Temple That Would Never Be

“Unlimited freedom of design!”, that’s what Euramax offered in the competition for an image on the main facade of their factory in Roermond, the Netherlands. The competition was organized to promote their Aludesign panels on which every conceivable image can be printed. Unlimited freedom, that’s rather difficult for a designer. Luckily, the shape of the facade provided some clues: The Parthenon That sloping roof, the windows, the brick plinth … You only see it when you get it, Johan Cruyff would say. And when I got it I could only see a Greek temple. An aluminum temple, with a prominent...

The fortifications and city of of Venlo in the 17th century, based on the map in the atlas by Joan Blaeu

Return to Venlo: the fortifications reconstructed

This image is in fact a spin-off of the Koninginneplein project in Venlo. The glass panels of the railing show the fortifications that were once on that location. To make the design for the panels I created a 3D model of the medieval city with its impressive system of walls, canals, towers and gates. Later I realized that I also could edit that model in 3ds max, with this aerial view as a result. The colors of Blaeu The 3D model is based on the map by Joan Blaeu in 1649. Also the colors were inspired by that historical picture....