Category Archives: The Netherlands

Lighting Up with Dutch Design – Sander Mulder

Being somewhat focused when I’m working at my desk (and perhaps a smidgen lazy), as the day approaches dusk, I find it annoying to have to get up, walk across the room, and turn on the overhead light. If I had one of Sander Mulder’s Cyclops pendant lamps in my office, then I could simply reach up, give the “eye” a little upwards flick, and light up the room.

Cyclops Light Sander MulderThe Cyclops Pendant Lamp is another light fixture design that caught my attention at the Woonbeurs 2013 show in Amsterdam (in an earlier post, I showed some of Stef van der Bujl’s unique creations). The lamp is an environmentally friendly 39 watt LED.  While minimalistic, the fixture is available in several standard anodized finishes as well as custom RAL colours. It’s also possible to order custom cable colours.

My “annoyance” at having to get up to turn on an overhead lamp is not the problem Sander Mulder set out to address with his Cyclops lamp. He conceived the innovative design as a solution for impractically placed light switches. Through the form of the lamp, aided by technology, a light switch becomes unnecessary. Push the “eye” upwards and the lamp turns on, pull it downwards and it switches off. For me, the beauty of the design is the surprise of realizing what’s not there.

Lighting Up with Dutch Design – Stef van der Bijl

With the dark days of winter creeping up on us, it’s a good time to show you some of the creative Dutch light fixture designs as seen at the Woonbeurs 2013 show in Amsterdam. Today’s post, the first of three, introduces you to the work of Stef van der Bijl.Stef van der Bilj Chickmaster Flashdrill LampFormerly a discarded vintage drill, the desk lamp shown above is from Stef van der Bijl’s “Chickmaster Flashdrill” series. The drill’s original on/off switch is still functional. It controls the light bulb. I think that the lamp’s unexpected context, sleek shape and polished surface would add industrial chic to both contemporary and traditional interiors. Stef van der Bilj Squirtmaster LampCan you guess what the light featured above used to be? The name of the design series provides a clue. It’s from the “The Squirtmaster” series. The designer created it using refurbished antique fire engine parts. A copper fire-hose nozzle holds the tube lamp and the fire-hose wheel acts a dimmer switch. The lamp is both functional and a conversation piece.

Stef van der Bijl’s inventiveness includes more than lights. For his “The Time Traveller’s Watch” collection, he creates watches from old camera parts, Steampunk style. He once turned a rusty Art Deco stove into a smart storage cabinet and even converted a 1967 Volkswagen T1 van into a travelling beverage bar and DJ booth. He also designs entire living and work spaces. You can see more of Stef van der Bijl’s work, including his own studio/home loft, on his website.

What I like most about Stef van der Bijl’s creations is that they are unique, handmade and support sustainable product design. As such, they are excellent examples of the new definition of “luxury” that is prevalent in Dutch Design today.

Amsterdam in Red, White, Blue and Fuchsia

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” -Pablo Picasso

I’ve been an avid blog reader for years and a novice blogger for two months. The event that prompted me to leap into the world of blogging took place in Amsterdam two weeks ago.Amsterdam Boat named Amsterdam Back in July, I read a post by Victoria Smith, the editor of sfgirlbybay, about an interiors and lifestyle blogger event she would be speaking at in Amsterdam. Wow, I said to myself, I should sign-up. Amsterdam is relatively close by. It would be a great opportunity to hear Victoria Smith in person and visit a cool city. After all, I had been thinking about starting a blog. The event would be a chance to meet and learn firsthand about blogging from talented bloggers. Plus, Tricia Guild, the founder of Designers Guild would be presenting her soon-to-be-released book “Colour Deconstructed” (I’m a colour junkie, the least evil of my addictions). Within minutes of reading the post, I purchased my ticket to Meet the Blogger Amsterdam.

A few days later, I learned that I actually needed to have an active blog to attend. After experiencing a deer-in-the-headlights moment (okay, week), I got to work creating this blog. It’s been (and still is) a steep, but rewarding, learning curve. Having worked in a very left-brained career for years, this blog is definitely exercising my right-side. In my quest to learn, I’m now reading many more blogs and am “meeting” many talented people from around the world. My appreciation of blogs and the bloggers who write them has increased tremendously. I’m shifting from being a passive reader to an active one. The 2.5 month countdown to the conference passed in a flash.

I arrived in Amsterdam a day ahead of the conference to do some sightseeing and gather content to share with you on the blog. Thankfully, at the last-minute, my husband’s schedule allowed him to join me. His photos are far superior to mine and often capture the quirky-side-of-life. We spent a beautiful autumn Sunday walking, walking, and walking about the city. My advice to you if you visit Amsterdam: rent a bike, your legs will appreciate it the next day.

Below are some red, white, blue and fuchsia themed photos that we took. One charming custom that we noticed – as the sun starts to set, people (and their pets) get together and cruise around the canals while nibbling on appetizers and enjoying a glass of wijn. It reminded me of the after-work sailing I did when living in Toronto. The workday stress quickly vanished once we were out on the lake. Proost!Amsterdam Canal Boat Wine Dog Golden HourAmsterdam Canal Boat Golden Hour Amsterdam Selwyn SenatoriAmsterdam Berries and Red DoorsAmsterdam Red ShuttersAmsterdam Locks on Bridge Amsterdam 1904 BuildingAmsterdam Fuchsia BikesAmsterdam Brains Travel on Bikes Amsterdam is a great city to visit and per the people whom I met, a great one to live in too (not packing just yet, however, I did mention my nomad reputation earlier). It’s beautiful, creative and lively. Everyone was easy-going, warm and welcoming.

p.s. When reading up on Amsterdam, I came across a humorous blog about Dutch culture and an interesting fact about The Netherlands’ national flag. The flag colours were once orange, white and blue. Check out the blog post noted below for the story.