Made in The Workshop_ stackable chair

Piet Hein Eek x Lensvelt: Past, Present and Future 

Lensvelt and Piet Hein Eek pay tribute to their many years of collaboration giving it a fresh new twist. Done through the extension of the Made in The Workshop Collection – A Past Present Future Installation and the relaunch of the aluminum series. Hans Lensvelt mentions that Piet’s manner of thinking and doing has always been way ahead of his time. This with regards to creativity and being an adamant sustainability activist - “Avant la letter."

The Collaboration: The Beginning

As one of the co-founders of Moooi, Hans Lensvelt was introduced to Piet Hein Eek by Marcel Wanders, back in 2002. Immediately there is a fond click and mutual appreciation. 

Hans Lensvelt comments: "I have always been impressed by his work. If I were a designer myself, I would design exactly like Piet, however, far less brilliant."

Piet Hein Eek and Hans Lensvelt

Original MITW chair, Design Open

The extension of the MITW collection as shown at Design Open

The presentation of the MITW chair and office chair in 2011

Hans Lensvelt and PHE during the launch of the MITW chair in 2011

A dining table set up at Park Pavilion with MITW chairs with armrests

The MITW at the recently opened Park Pavilion De Hoge Veluwe

Lensvelt continuously praises Eek's innovative use of residual and waste materials, as a form of optimal sense of usage and as base materials. It is the ideal blend of perfect proportions and sophisticated shades. "It is fascinating to see how Piet radically chooses to take a hands-on approach to his works and to utilize what is depicted as secondarily-valuable raw materials, ultimately producing new works of art. Unfortunately, Piet's work is often copied (as any real art is), nonetheless those copies can be recognized from a meter’s distance.”

These copies lack eye for detail, taste and sophistication which makes Eeks’ designs so exceptional. Lensvelt mentions that "The mastery definitely lies within the proportions, the effortlessness in low tech solutions, the refined details and the boundless discipline."

Piet Hein Eek lives by the motto that a collaboration should always be "fun". 

"Inevitably this isn’t always the case, but with Hans, there has always been a presence of a certain magic and chemistry.

Anyone who knows anything about us knows that there is never a dull moment, a lack of energy or a negative atmosphere for that matter. Additionally, on a friendship level, Hans helped when we had just purchased the new factory and it was all very exciting and chaotic. With our relationship business mixes superbly well with the pleasures of friendship enhancing collaborations, making the final results that much more impactful.”

But there is more…

Both families of Piet Hein Eek and Hans Lensvelt also have a strong bond. As Lensvelt still reminisces about the precious memories of the abseil cable car that Piet Hein Eek built in the garden of his Geldrop house and backyard BBQ’s with Hans’ signature roast beef with rocket and parmesan, a true Lensvelt classic.

The new home office desk is part of the new Aluminum Collection

Creative, Professional and far Beyond its Time.

Piet Hein Eek is a true team player. As Lensvelt claims that he is one of the most social people that he has ever met. Hans’ tends to be critical, yet he also has the ability to admire and recognizes talent like no other. When discovering talent, he loves to open up doors for people and give them a platform to explore their creativity, always lending a helping hand and posing an opportunity.

Piet Hein Eek is not deterred by setbacks. As he lives with the motto to "Never waste a good crisis", as he believes the optimist always sees innumerable opportunities and possibilities in problematic situations.

For example, the collaboration between Lensvelt and Piet Hein Eek: Past Present Future, that was meant for the Dutch Design Week 2020 in Eindhoven. Or rather: during what should have been the Dutch Design week, that was unfortunately altered due to the measures of the global pandemic. Turning it into a virtual experience.

Lensvelt: "Piet offers the availability of his space available without any further costs. A hugely generous gesture, which is very much appreciated." In addition to being a creative talent, Eek is also an entrepreneur with a strong instinct for business practices. 

As Piet Hein Eek has always been far ahead of his time and as mentioned previously that he places the philosophy of sustainability very high, making him a pioneer. When hardly anyone knew or was busy with the concept of upcycling, recycling or the notion of what a circular economy actually entailed, it was already prevalent in Piet’s work and most essential themes. 

The Relaunch of the Aluminum Series

Past: The First Collaboration, Made in the Workshop

For the cultural center of Den Bosch at the Verkade Factory back in 2004 Piet Hein Eek designed a functional and very industrial looking chair.

Eek: "A chair that gave the impression that it was left behind after the dismantling of the factory. As if the factory maintenance department had curated and made it themselves purely out of ease. That is how the name Made in The Workshop Chair (MITW) originated. 

When Hans Lensvelt approached Piet Hein Eek to develop a product for the Lensvelt Collection, the MITW drawings formed an initial plan. The first seat was then altered and adjusted. From that moment on, the simple tubular steel frame with wooden seat and backrest needed to be stackable. Subsequently, drawings and designs for an office chair surely followed.

With a background in business and economics, Hans Lensvelt is comfortably familiar with informational and technical aspects of production processes. In 1985 he worked in his father's company and translated all sketches and models into detailed technical drawings. Additionally, he noticed that Piet’s way of working was vastly different: simple drawings that were far more sketch-like.

Present: The Blue Installation 

The DDW 2020 is an exceptional edition. 

However, according to Eek, the unique character - born through creativity yet, not seen as a commercial fair – it also offers new opportunities. "The DDW's DNA is the most creative hub located in the city of Eindhoven. The schools, the students, the workshops and studios, this has not suddenly disappeared merely because of the current social situation of Covid19. The philosophy being that Dutch design is omnipresent, and not just a one-week fair, but that its creativity is boundless and can be found anywhere. A multitude of possibilities is available, we will create a fantastic presentation with the workshops, studios and designers. We will be present!" 

In one of the presentations at Eek’s hub, the collaboration with Lensvelt always stands central. Past Present Future is a surprising installation. Emerged from a discussion point, as democratic design and executed in monochromatic turquoise blue. The focus is placed on the relaunch of the Piet Hein Eek aluminum collection in combination with the "classic" stackable chair and the office chair from the MITW series. Moreover, high and low stools were present alongside a chair with armrests. 

Future: The Relaunch of the Aluminum Series

In the early nineties Eek’s aluminum chair and step stool were created after experiments with computer-controlled machines for punching and folding sheet metal. When the New York Museum of Modern Art in New York was looking for a new design for the museum’s café, Piet Hein Eek was selected back in 1995. "They were looking for someone to produce their own style of work. I happened to be the only one to meet that requirement. "The chairs have now been in MoMA for more than ten years. They gave Eek's career an international exposure. This was the start of an extensive aluminum collection.

The aluminum collection was produced by Lensvelt for a significant period of time and still to this day, he is impressed by the collection. With the relaunch of the Made in The Workshop series, Piet Hein Eek proposes the idea to refresh the aluminum series and put it back into production, version 3.0.

One of Eek’s daughters decided to make the move to Amsterdam, where rooms and hallways are notoriously small. This inspired Eek to create an aluminum desk that is both lightweight and demountable and that can be easily implemented in small spaces. 

The desk, which is supplied with electricity sockets in an elegant manner and must be able to be multifunctional in character: a home office desk and a table in one. Piet Hein Eek thus presents a new extension of the aluminum collection, The Aluminum Desk. According to Hans Lensvelt, the idea fits in seamlessly with the current desires for a flexible home office space. Something that can be produced in any desired size, variable in width, depth and height and with optional functioning storage units. Very applicable with the current growing at home working trend. So, as to be continued… in aluminum. 

Past, present, future _ an installation by Lensvelt x Piet Hein Eek during Design Open 2020

The new Aluminum Collection consists of a table, chair, stool and desk