Piet Hein Eek | In Conversation
On the eve of the Milan Salone del Mobile, where SCP are presenting the new Home sofa and daybed by Piet Hein Eek, our edtior talked to the designer about his working days, his views on design and life, and asked him what one piece of advice he would give the world. See the Home sofa and Daybed at Rossana Orlandi on Via Matteo Bandello for the whole week.
What does your normal working day look like? Are you a pencil, pen or computer person?
Well, I have a computer for the communication, not for drawing, not for creative processes, and I sit at my desk to make drawings, and draw solutions for all kinds of problems around me, because there are a lot of employees who have questions all the time. I have an old fashioned design board with an arm, where I make the drawings for the furniture and small architectural projects and so on. That is it, more or less.
Do you split your day into different kinds of activity? Is there a normal shape to a day, or is every day different?
Because the company grew over the years, my role has become more specialised, in the sense that I do all of the problems in the company. It doesn’t matter in which aspect, it is either the shop, or the restaurant, or the gallery, or the production, or the logistics – if there is a problem, most of the time I get it. So, that is a daily business, solving problems. Then of course I have the design commissions that are always going on, which I have to make drawings and designs, which are both conceptual and drawings to prepare for production, the technical drawings in the computer I am not doing much of. So, the work in the office is a lot of communicating, writing also, which is quite different from most designers, I also write all of the text we communicate with, and the books and so on. So that is an additional thing that people might not expect. So, it’s communication on a computer like everybody else, but then in my profession it is making drawing and sketches, and solving every kind of problem occurring in a company like I have, with very different professions. It is not only carpentry, we have ceramics, metal, wood, upholstery, spraying cabin, printing, so technically we have a variety of processes in-house, but we also have the gallery, the shop and restaurants, and we will open up a hotel soon. It is on top of our building. We just got it financed, so we can start making it. That should be around October, when the Dutch design week starts, we use that to empty everything, and then after that we start actually building it.