Piet Hein Eek on scrap wood

15.09.21. internet

Piet Hein Eek is a world renowned Dutch designer, who made his name when he graduated from the Academy for Industrial Design Eindhoven, in 1990, with a cupboard made from scraps of wood he found in a lumber yard.

He set up his own practice three years later creating furniture that, in his words, was designed from ‘available possibilities’, with pieces using waste from other processes and, sometimes, waste from that waste. Products are created around the materials the practice has in stock – whether that be a vast number of huge wooden beams or metal pipes – and the machines it possesses.

Craft is vitally important to everything he’s produced. And production is at the heart of his enormous studio in Eindhoven that also includes a shop, restaurant, an art gallery, and, in the very near future, a hotel.

During his career, the designer has also branched out into architecture, starting by creating extraordinary garden outhouses and expanding into pieces of urban planning, as well as collaborating with brands such as LEFF amsterdam and IKEA.

In this episode we talk about: being a bit of a rebel; the studio’s new boutique hotel; his fascination with ruins and how that feeds into his practice; the story behind his iconic Scrap Wood series; his love of Eindhoven; why making is vital to his studio; splitting up with his long term business partner, Nob Ruijrok; embracing failure; and collaborating with the behemoth that is IKEA.

My thanks go to the American Hardwood Export Council (or AHEC) for sponsoring this episode. You can find out more about its new project at London’s Design Museum, Discovered, here.

Pictured above is Waste Table.

Find out more about Piet Hein Eek 

This is a detail of Waste Table, meticulously assembled from pieces of scrapwood. Its high gloss finish is achieved by applying over ten coats of a water-based lacquer. (Image courtesy of PIet Hein Eek)

The Classic cupboard is part of the Scrapwood Collection. Its aesthetic and colour palette is dependant on the materials available at the time.(Image courtesy of PIet Hein Eek)

The designer spent 10 years renovating an old mill in France's Dordogne region into a pair of holiday homes that visitors can rent. (Image: Thomas Mayer)

This is the Tube clock and speaker created by PIet Hein Eek for LEFF. This version is made in brass. (Image courtesy of LEFF Amsterdam)