Last week we introduced you to the new Node table from Loof. We have teamed up with Loof and Miscellaneous Store in Amsterdam and have created a corner in the Miscellaneous Store with the new Node table and a curated selection of items from the store.
Below you find an interview by Aidan Connolly from Miscellaneous about this collaboration and our work in the store.
I meet Jantine Vaartjes of April and May, a creative studio that she runs with with co-owner Vivian Hoebe. Jantine’s just finishing up on Working In Harmony, a three-way collaboration between Miscellaneous, Loof Furniture and April And May. Using Loof’s elegant Node 900 table, Jantine has transformed a nook of the Miscellaneous store, giving it a softness with rich fawn and brass tones that’ll be sure to keep us feeling warm all through winter.
On first impressions, Jantine seems very focussed and totally absorbed in the task at hand. When I ask her what objects she likes best from our store, though, she breaks into a charming smile and says that everything’s so beautiful and that she couldn’t possibly choose — although she does single out an unglazed Hasami mug as being particularly eye-catching. We make our way across the street to have lunch with the effervescent Nina Klijs, head of communications at Loof.
Nina, could you tell us something about the Node table that April and May styled?
Nina Two years ago, we began a home collection. We already had a collection focusing on the bedroom, and now we’re complementing this with a working collection. Before this, Loof had a living room table, but now we’ve expanded it to make a work desk. Now it’s bigger, and it has a space for cables, so it’s more useful in the office. It’s otherwise exactly the same table, apart from the size and so on.
Then we got in touch with April And May and Miscellaneous because we wanted to give the working collection this homey touch. Inspired by the slow living movement, we came to the idea of working in harmony. We wanted to develop an office which brings peace and makes it easier to focus during your working hours.
Do you often find yourselves working with variations on a product?
Nina That’s what Piled is, those stackable tables in the Miscellaneous store window. You can choose if they’re going to be like a side table or more like a bookcase, so that you can really make them your own.
Jantine The Piled series is so beautiful. You can style it in so many ways. With some easy things, you transform it into something different.
Nina I think for us, as a brand, it’s interesting to offer furniture that the consumer can play with. In the end, though, you decide what you want and how you’re going to use it.
What ideas did you have in mind for styling Working in Harmony?
Jantine We are all so busy with work and kids and life, so for me it’s very important that you can have a space where you can slow down. We [April and May] are well known for our use of ‘non-colours’, and muted colours, which gives our work a soft feeling. It doesn’t mean that we don’t like colour, but it has to be in harmony together. So for this showroom, we really wanted to focus on that ‘Working In Harmony’ feeling. Miscellaneous is a store where you can buy products for working at home, or your home office, and for me immediately a colour popped into my head. That was this brownish — I had a leaflet at home, and it was that… that beautiful paper-brown colour. For me, that was the starting point of the showroom. I started to collect images that had that kind of feeling, which resulted in the papery tones we used in this setting
I think that it works well because we have also used closer tone colours. Something a little bit darker, a little bit lighter, and then you really get the feeling that it’s ‘in harmony’. Combined with the wooden tones, and a little bit of dark red, that burgundy colour, to give it a bit more contrast. In our own projects, and in my own home as well, we always like that kind of, how do you call it? A soft, minimalist, kind of feeling… without getting boring.
Nina It’s not too minimalist, though —it’s warm and balanced, and you get a nice feeling. When we style for Loof, we want to speak for ourselves, but I think in a shop like Miscellaneous we can be more specific in our style.
Jantine When you do it for Loof, you really start from a piece of furniture, and create a kind of feeling, or atmosphere, but it’s really the product that’s important. But when you’re in the store, it’s everything together. It’s not just the table, but also the accessories, and the colour and the whole theme of the store.
Nina It’s more like a temporary exhibition or presentation, so you can be more specific with the atmosphere that you want to create. You can be really particular to your collaborators and the environment surrounding the installation.
Jantine Miscellaneous really does have a certain kind of feeling when you enter the store. There are a lot of Japanese designs, and a lot of Scandinavian designs. A simple, but attractive, sort of style. We also tried to communicate this feeling with the corner that we styled: this kind of minimalist attitude, without being boring.
Nina And there’s something very authentic and crafty.
Jantine Both [Japanese and Scandinavian design labels] are really into their craftsmanship. It’s so interesting to hear the stories behind some Scandinavian brands, which really go back a long time. The craftsmanship is so important there. It’s all about how this chair or this table is made. I think that for the Japanese designers, they also have these traditional techniques, and these very interesting ways of creating the product. The Japanese [style] is a little bit warmer, with darker tones. You can mix these two together really well.
I’m always struck when I’m looking through the photos of [Danish design label] Frama, for example, because they’ve always got this amazing use of textures and really fantastic settings. And then this really simple, modern Scandinavian furniture almost floating on top.
Jantine I think layering is a good word for it. Layering, I think, is very important. For me, it is like working with different colour tones, that are a colour family — or not. How do I explain it…? Soft colour layers, but also the texture and the materials…
Nina It’s a very natural mix, the materials and colours. That’s also how you developed your work today, starting with an idea of the colour, and then adding the first few things and growing this feeling by adding and arranging the products from the store.
Jantine, you’re also renovating your own house at the moment. Have you used a similar process there?
Jantine We’ve been living there for like, a year, so it’s sort of finished now — well, it’s finished, but we’re still working on the outside. But that’s also a long process. I’ve started with a few things, and it’s still very basic. But in the time that comes, I’ll add furniture, or colour, or not-colour, or… it has to grow.
I am not the kind of person that says, oh, here is my home and it’s finished. No. No. I have my basic things that I want, and then it grows from there. There are people who style it all in one week, and then every corner, every wall and every piece of the house is ready. Amazing, but that doesn’t work for me. Really.
Keep your eyes on the blog tomorrow for a great pinterest campaign together with Loof and Miscellaneous.
All images © April and May