The Balancing Act

February 10, 2017

Studio Piet Boon creates bespoke contemporary architecture, interiors and product designs. Renowned worldwide for its exceptional craftsmanship, quality and vision, darc takes a closer look at the man behind the practice and discovers a philosophy based on the delicate balance between functionality, aesthetics and individuality.

Is a beautiful region very close to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. I was born and raised here and feel the rich cultural heritage and typical mentality of the region has influenced me greatly in life. Zaanstreek is known for its typical innovative spirit and ‘getting the job done’ mentality; it was here where painters, woodworkers, carpenter, masons and other master craftsmen turned smart entrepreneurs and tastemakers as early as the 15th Century.

I have always been fascinated and interested in the world around me, different cultures, food, people, various materials, building techniques, crafts, architecture, you name it. I also really enjoyed working with my hands growing up and so I pursued my studies at the technical school. After I graduated I began my career as a carpenter and shortly after that I started my own building contracting company.

In people, cultures, architecture, fashion, nature, cinema, art… Everything actually. I find people such as Rick Owens, Frank Lloyd Wright and Wes Anderson, amongst others, very inspiring as well.

Of balancing functionality, aesthetics and individuality grew out of a frustration at designs by others. They were either ill-thought-out or aesthetically not in tune. I started designing myself, taking full ownership of the design concept and together with my business partner, Creative Director Interior & Styling Karin Meyn, I was able to develop the building contracting company into our multidisciplinary design firm; Studio Piet Boon.

The studio has grown into a global design company, delivering exterior, interior and product design solutions for both private and corporate clients. True to our roots, our headquarters are located in the Zaanstreek and our international versatile design team consists of interior and spatial designers, architects and stylists. We are recognised for our multi-disciplinary design services and our talent of balancing functionality, aesthetics and individuality into one of a kind design experiences. We put focus on the interior-exterior connection and make optimal use of space and natural light.

Is recognisable for how we line spaces as well as our use and view on dimension and shapes. Initially we started out with designing private homes but over the course of 30 years we have broadened our scope of work from private homes to include corporate spaces, hospitality venues, residential developments, products and kitchens. One of my most memorable projects is the first penthouse we did in New York city – a 700sqm home. This was a long time ago and since then we’ve done many projects in New York, but you just never forget the ‘first’.

That define the Studio Piet Boon experience are based on a thorough analysis of how we create balance between functionality, aesthetics and individuality, making it suitable for every discipline and applicable to any industry. As I mentioned, our work is known and recognisable for how we line spaces, our use and view on dimension and shapes. Every element is very important to create the balance and harmony we aim to achieve in our work. One of the hallmarks of our style is that you, down to the minute detailing, experience the same atmosphere and signature throughout the entire design.

Makes or breaks a space. Decorative lighting and lighting in general have a huge influence on how people experience an interior design, perceive a space and are directed within a design, not to mention the functional importance of light. By adding or subtracting lighting you can, amongst endless possibilities, create all kinds of moods, put focus on elements and play with colour, something we feel is very exciting. We always advise to invest in a good lighting scheme – it will be one of the best decisions you can make, along with comfortable furniture.

Saw us work closely with Beirut-based .PSLAB – a site-specific design house and manufactory that is invested in the production of sensory experiences. Our intent for the interior design at the Michelin-star restaurant was to invest in the artisanal feel of the existing historic chapel and propel it forward with a contemporary underground atmosphere.

We incorporate lighting and decorative lighting in all of our projects. The lighting elements designed by .PSLAB play a crucial role in how guests experience The Jane. We were given carte blanche by the client, Michelin-star chef Sergio Herman. The ‘piece de résistance’ in the centre of the restaurant is a gigantic chandelier of 12 by 9-metres radius with over 150 lights. Weighing 800Kg and suspended from one point in the ceiling, the chandelier dips to 2.75m above the ground and then disperses back up to fill the space above the dining area with tubular tentacles each ending with a glass bulb. The chandelier was created in such a way that it contributes to the intimate and ambient divinity of the chapel interior.

Is another project where we worked with a lighting design studio, this time Studio Molen. The light object that hangs in our entrance is a true piece of art that fortifies our design. We always try to orchestrate elements in a way that allows them to complement each other and eventually enhance a design. Another example is the ‘Ginger blimp’, again by Studio Molen, that hangs in the entrance of our project Huys in New York.

Is something we do constantly – drawing inspiration from everywhere, progressively applying new contexts and insights to our design values. We’re working on all kinds of exciting projects and while I can’t disclose too much, one in particular relates to a high-end hotel design in Amsterdam.

Pic: Richard Powers