Designer Critique – Piet Hein Eek

Piet Hein Eek is a Dutch furniture, product and accessory designer that has also turned his hand to architecture and elements of building design. Hein Eeks work is said to be influenced by the work of Pouvre, Oud, Rietveld and Judd. Hein Eek graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 1990 and since then has made a name for himself through his unique approach to design which unlike many of his peers is dictated by materials, techniques and amount of organisation rather than current fashion trends or new innovations in production procedures.

By using scrap  materials from industry and nature, working by hand and by tailoring the techniques he uses to each specific material and then following and trusting in the logical result of combining all of these things he has to put together an ongoing collection. A collection that consists of numerous unique products all of which have a rich character and rugged texture whilst still maintaining a personal and modern form.

I think their is a lot of reasoning behind why Hein Eek uses scrap materials but on a basic level i feel he does it to help keep his ideas fresh and original, “If I go for a walk in the woods I always come back with plastic bags full of pieces of the forest. It’s about seeing materials and techniques that are available for design, but not being used for that purpose. Scrap wood could be gold. It could be everything.” This is something i really like about his work. The way in which it all seems to be luck that spawns half of his creations and then the care and through processes he puts into channelling that luck.

Due to the look of his products being dictated by what they are made of and how  best to work that material his work does not have one specific visual style but instead similarities can be sooner be seen in his methods of construction rather than the final appearance of each piece. It can be said that his work has far more of a feel than a look with this idea being reflected in his philosophical design views.

In an interview in a few years ago Hein Eek said “Recycling is good but if you calculate everything its not actually much better because of how much energy it takes to move the material to be recycled. If you account for everything  often the balance isn’t as clear as you thought it could be. For me, it’s about quality and creating a look that is timeless rather than a design that is fashionable.” He then goes on to say ” its about seeing materials and techniques that are available for design but are not being used for that purpose”, “It has far more to do with and awareness of the value of products materials and energy”.

Through acting upon what he has said Hein Eek has managed to carve out his own niche as a designer. By creating products in the way he does Hein Eek has managed to successfully go against today’s throw away culture by helping to define what is relevant in today’s society by turning our attention towards what constitutes as beauty and what constitutes as waste. Each piece he has produced has been so lovingly cared about and considered during its production that i feel there is no way this love cannot be transferred to whoever buys it aslong as they appreciate for its simplicity and honesty to it simply being what it is and where it originally came from.

Because his products have this timeless beauty about them and because of the care that has been put into their creation, staying true to the material and rejuvenating it back into a state of value i feel he is a true example of what a modern day sustainable designer should be. In each of his pieces elements of re-use in design, recycling, design for longevity and influencing the behaviour of other to be more sustainable can be seen, meaning he has truly incorporated his design philosophy into everyone of his actions and decisions.

A final thought about Hein Eeks work comes form a quote by him that i think sort of defines his plight within the design industry, “I am not thinking about what the market wants, but what the market should want. I try to change people’s taste. I try to change their values or feeling of quality or beauty. I want to persuade people to see what I see.” This is something i feel more designers should be doing nowadays. They shouldn’t just be in it for the money but if they truly cared they would be designing to make a change that is both beneficial for people but also the environment we all live in.


D1.4 Personal Project – Furthering My Concept

After presenting my concept to the class and receiving feedback from both my peers and tutors i was made aware that i should flesh out certain areas of it to make it stand out from the others i had seen. To do this i decided to focus in on the viral scheme element of the concept that was to be used to gather interest in the “Green Scene” project as without people being aware of it’s existence there would be no point in it at all as there would be very little chance it would work.

One of the more interesting ways i see this scheme being advertised is through a viral advertisement program. “The definition of viral marketing or viral advertising is promoting information or products that other customers are compelled to give to other friends, colleagues and family. By definition viral marketing is a way to promote a service or product exponentially. When effectively done one person will give it to several people who in turn will promote it to several other people. This is what makes viral marketing so effective. For instance, if I wrote and e book, and then I forwarded that e-book to 10 people, who in turn forwarded that e-book to 10 people. One hundred people have read that e-book. Now if it is forwarded that same way just four more times ONE MILLION PEOPLE have now read that same e-book. By definition viral marketing gives the consumer something that they can use for free with the intent of gaining that customer to market other products and to create a brand name awareness.”

The way my advertising scheme would work for the concept is that the government would help to fund the short term covering of some of the countries favourite landmarks of iconic buildings with the sustainable processes the concept promotes. Along with the short term covering of buildings some local amenities would also be permanently converted suing the schemes teachings. Examples of what is being suggested can be seen below…

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The aim behind all of these suggestions is to take the public by surprise, make them stop and think about what they’re seeing, maybe take a photo, show their friends, talk about it with their colleagues and to go out and do a bit of research as to why these things have been done. In turn they may think “oh thats a good idea, it would look good in my area, or something similar to it may work in my house or garden”. Once an interest has been taken by the public and a fuss has been made about it the whole concept could be publicly explained so that people can then go out and start implementing what they’ve seen or found out.

Obviously this is all very hopeful and it would take a lot more thinking and money to implement but i feel that something along the lines of a viral advertisement campaign would work to capture the imaginations of all areas of the public and would set the concept up for its highest possibility of success…

D1.4 Personal Project – Concept Presentation

This is my 8th blog entry.

After yesterdays realisation that i was getting too far ahead of myself and that i needed to take a step back in my project to be able to realise the concept that was in my work i have gathered up what i know and have come up with this…

The idea behind my concept is to provide the general public with the means and information by which they can use to benefit their own home and local environment. The reason behind this scheme is that i am pretty confident that there are a lot of people out there at the moment that want to help the environment and would welcome any improvements to their local area but simply don’t know how they can go about helping or are scared that what they do will either not help or in the worst case will make things worse.

By introducing council run classes on how to implement environmentally friendly techniques/projects, building processes, plant cultivation and the skills for how to pass this new information onto the next generation people will be given the chance to benefit their own lives.

If these lessons where then to be accompanied by an information point  system that could be found in garden centres, builders merchants and DIY stores (basically anywhere where people mite go to set get the necessary items for their planned project) that informed people of the correct products for their project or provided them with “greener” alternatives ten it would again inform the user and re assure them that what they were doing was the right thing to do and the right way to go about it.

Beyond the obvious environmental, health and social benefits that increasing the amount of greenery and plant life would provide as incentive for people to take notice and take part in the project  a council run initiative in which examples of what people could do with their time should they devote it to this scheme could be placed around the local area as inspiration. Examples of this being replacing park benches that would otherwise of been bought with grow park benches made from packed earth and grass seed, re-building old walls with bricks that are made from soil and grass seed held in shape with a biodegradable mesh so that a the wall sprouts in life and covering bus shelters and ugly buildings with climbing plants and wall gardens. All things that would help to increase the amount of visible life in an area and reduce the amount of drab concrete and tarmac.

All in all the aim of this concept is to inspire people into making small changes for themselves (which they are more likely to do if they get direct personal benefit from it) which in turn will go towards helping a world we all live in. Less materials will be wasted as they will be being grown or re-used, the air will be healthier to breath, people will be less stressed the list goes on…

D1.4 Personal Project – Idea/Concept Development

This is my 7th entry into this blog for this project.

Yesterday i commented on how i had been finding it hard to upload into my blog and today i realised why. I had been getting caught up over the difference between an idea that could be developed into a product and an idea that could be developed into a concept. Although i did research yesterday that helped my project to some extent it was mainly done to fill space whilst i worked out what it was i was actually doing in relation to my ideas and how i was to develop them and the research i had done into a concept.

After drawing out a few ideas today that would work well as products i noticed that what i was doing didnt actually need to be done as far as coming up with a concept was concerned and that i needed to take a step back and not worry quite so much about the details of it all. The picture below shows these product ideas and i have decided to post them because they helped me to move back a step and realise where i was going wrong. I also think they work well in showing where my planned concept could lead onto.


I have gone back to the research and link collection ive been doing over the last few days and have picked out the ones that are most relevant to the concept i will be posting up on the blog tommorow.

The slideshow below is a kinda mood board for my concept and the imagery that i would like to see conjured up if it where to be put into practice:

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D1.4 Personal Project – Idea Development

This is my 6th blog entry.

Ive been finding it quite hard to get to grips with this blog today and have found myself putting it off. As of yet im not sure why ive been like this but ive finally got round to it.

Started today by having a look at all the different types of sustainable design i could think of and then find. I thought this would be a good way to focus in on and clarify the research i had done into my ideas so far. So in the project i have gathered up a lot of information but up until doing this research was unaware of just how viable or possible some of them were in terms of sustainability.

This is that research:

From this research and the work i had done from the previous few days i will go on to start drawing out the initial stages of some ideas i could see developing into descent concepts. They will be posted up here tomorow once iv had some time to produce a good number of them…


D1.4 Personal Project – Ideas Research – Sustainable Building Blocks

This is the 5th entry into my blog.

Today i am going to carry on my my ideas research and the gathering of useful or inspirational images and articles on the internet. The topic i will will be researching in this section is “Grown building materials/Grown building block”. i will be having a look at the technology and processes behind creating them and their applications in the real world.

Natural building materials:

Man made sustainable building materials:

Something extra:


D1.4 Personal Project – Ideas Research – Grown Furniture

This is the 4th entry into my blog.

Today i have decided to take a look at ways of growing furniture and the different ways of implementing the idea of doing so. This is possibly one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly ideas i can think of to with this project so it will be interesting to see the different ways in which people have sculpted furniture out of their environment instead of building them with the materials they have gathered and crafter together.

Here are some links to the information ive gathered on the topic:

Grown From Scratch:

Supporting Structures/Adorned Plant matter:


Inspired by Plant Growth/Nature: