Dwell Editor-in-Chief Sam Grawe leads a discussion with designers Jan Habraken, Alissia Melka-Teichroew of New York-based byAMT Studio, and Maaike Evers of San Francisco-based Mike & Maaike as they discuss what it means to be a Dutch designer working in the United States. With a population smaller than many American cities, Holland is a nation where design has become a huge part of the national discourse -- from the economy to the education system -- and impacts many aspects of daily life.
What lessons can be learned from the Dutch, and how could we stand to benefit from a more Dutch approach to the design issues that face our nation? Do these designers consider their approach to be at all Dutch? How do American impressions of Holland affect their businesses? How might they differ from designers working in Holland?
Maaike Evers is the co-founder of the progressive industrial design studio Mike and Maaike. Formed as a design laboratory, the San Francisco studio focuses on experimentation, authenticity, substance and good. In the past five years, Mike and Maaike have amassed a diverse roster of clients/collaborators including Google, Belkin, Xbox, Steelcase, Council, and the City of San Francisco.
Sam Grawe has served as the Editor-in-Chief of Dwell since November 2006, and is responsible for the editorial and creative direction of all the media brand's extension -- including print, online, and live events. He joined Dwell in October 2000 as the Editorial Assistant, and served as an Editor on the team which garnered a General Excellence Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors in 2005. Under his leadership Dwell magazine completed a successful redesign in 2008 and website redesign in 2009, and became a finalist in the 2009 National Design Award for Corporate Excellence. In addition to his duties for the media brand, Grawe regularly speaks about design issues, has served as a juror for the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon, the American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Awards, and the American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards, and co-taught a design workshop at University of Art and Design Helsinki with Erwan Bouroullec.
Born in Eindhoven, the Netherlands in 1975, Habraken studied architectural engineering before attending the world-renowned Design Academy Eindhoven. Immediately following graduation he co-founded WATdesign. After five years of making and exhibiting products and furniture internationally, the designer moved to New York City, where he established Studio Jan Habraken in 2008. Habraken's wide-ranging experience in architecture, interior, furniture, retail and product design makes him a generalist in the best sense of the word. Using creativity instead of category as his starting point, he generates fresh ideas precisely by crossing disciplines, applying knowledge gained in each field to the others.
Alissia Melka-Teichroew, founder and creative director of byAMT Inc is a New World-Old World mash-up. The daughter of a French mother and American father, she was born and raised in The Netherlands. A Design Academy Eindhoven graduate, she also holds a Masters of Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), USA. After stints in Paris, San Francisco, and Boston, she now lives and works in New York. As well as running her studio Alissia currently is a visiting professor at Pratt Institute in the Industrial Design Department.
Dutch designer Jan Habraken explains his angle on embedding narrative into a product's design by discussing a birdhouse he created that was mounted on top of a shovel, a design inspired by childhood fishing trips.